The Freshest Produce in Town

Posted May 30, 2007

In June we launch a new series, Food & Wine Across America, in which we celebrate the amazing food to be found in every corner of America. (To nominate your favorite food town, check out our new site.) I had the good luck to go to Burlington, Vermont. With all the new restaurants to write up, there wasn’t room to mention Burlington’s fantastic farms. But The Intervale is worth knowing. How many other cities can claim more than 350 acres of small farms right on the north side of town? Founded in 1986 when Will Rapp, owner of the neighboring gardening-supply center, decided to clean up the trash dumping ground the area had become, the Intervale has evolved into a sophisticated farm-incubation project, providing new farmers with equipment, mentoring and even financial-planning tips to run a successful growing operation. Farmers like Spencer and Mara Welton, only in their thirties, are turning a profit on just one acre—in their case, selling baby veggies from their Half Pint Farm to Burlington chefs. There’s even talk of harnessing the steam from the next-door wood-fired power plant, to run greenhouses during Burlington’s frigid winters. When you are next in town, rent a bicycle and explore the back trails between the farmettes; if it’s still summer, many of the farms offer U-pick produce for sale.

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