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Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Web Extras: Tips for Growing Beets

Written by Vermont Life on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape, Web Exclusives

bag of beets

See the Spring 2013 issue of Vermont Life for recipes featuring beets. Photo by Andrew Wellman.

Beets were the featured ingredient in the Spring 2013 Out to Eat Cooking in Season department. Beets are fairly easy to grow in Vermont, and if you’re ready to try, Paul Betz of High Mowing Seeds has shared the following tips for growing these earthy vegetables.

  • One thing to keep in mind is that a beet seed is actually a fruit, and there are multiple seeds present.
  • Thinning your beets might be really helpful for getting big beets. Try for an inch or two between them for beets big enough to store. You can eat the thinnings.
  • Beets that are grown for their tops can be sown more thickly.
  • Certain varieties of beets are better for early spring and for greens, while others are better for large roots for storing. Read the descriptions in the High Mowing Seeds catalog and think about the time of year you will be planting your beets. Early Wonder Tall Top is a great beet for spring and greens, Red Ace F1 is a great all-around beet, Boro F1 will get really big for storage and still have nice, quality roots.
  • Beets don’t really like a weedy bed; keep the garden clean for best results.

Home Grown

Written by Sky Barsch on . Posted in Slideshows

Vermonters have found a niche selling Christmas trees in the New York City metro area. At home, growers work all year to meet the demand. Here’s a look at two Vermont Christmas tree farms.

Share the Harvest

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

Caption: The von Krusenstiern family has helped harvest produce at the Harlow Farm in Westminster to be distributed to those in need through the Vermont Foodbank's gleaning program. Courtesy photo.

A few years ago I spent a couple hours standing in the corner of the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf food pantry room while on a Vermont Life assignment. Trying my best to be unobtrusive, I observed dozens of diverse people coming through to select food for themselves and their families from among the boxes of cereal, cans of soup, bags of rice and other offerings.

I will never forget the excitement of one little boy whose mother let him select a few pieces of fresh fruit as part of their allotment, or an elderly man who stood there for almost as long as I did, patiently waiting for each replenishment of the fresh vegetable bins to get what he had his heart set on.

It is easy to forget ― especially at times of bountiful harvest ― that not everyone has enough to eat, and that fresh fruits and vegetables are particularly in demand.

Anti-hunger organizations in Vermont are working hard to provide more locally grown produce to those in need and although they always welcome donations of both food and funds to support their programs, there’s another way to help at this time of year that will cost you only time.

The Vermont Foodbank, which works with food shelves and other direct-service organizations like senior centers and after-school programs statewide, coordinates a gleaning program that depends on volunteers to help harvest excess produce from Vermont farms. Those farms, about 75 across the state, generously donate crops, but don’t have the time or staff to harvest them.

Michelle Wallace, the Foodbank’s gleaning program coordinator, says that now through the end of October is their busiest time of year. Because the Foodbank often does not have much advance warning of crops in need of gleaning, the most efficient way to find out about opportunities in your region is to join their weekly gleaning e-mail alert list. (See details below.)

What could be better than helping harvest chard, carrots or squash for a few hours on a beautiful fall day and knowing that you are helping neighbors in need?

~~~

To find out more about the Vermont Foodbank’s gleaning program, go to www.vtfoodbank.org. To be added to the gleaning weekly e-mail alert, email Michelle at mwallace@vtfoodbank.org or call (802) 477-4125.

During apple season, the Foodbank’s Pick for Your Neighbor program also offers a slightly different way to help. When you head to a Vermont apple orchard to pick a bushel or two of fragrant, rosy-cheeked apples, consider picking and purchasing an extra bag for your neighbors in need. The Foodbank will pick up apples from the orchards. Check the website for a list of participating orchards.

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