MAD RIVER VALLEY

Localvore Project

Celebrating and supporting local food in the Mad River Valley - those who eat it and those who grow it - through education, community connections, and collective wisdom.

Don't eat food that won't rot.

 

Michael Pollan

On NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me

April 4, 2009

 

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The Mad River Food Hub

An exciting project is taking root in the Mad River Valley that will make local food more accessible and available - the Mad River Food Hub.

What's a Food Hub?

According to the USDA:  A centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.

There are several "food hubs" in Vermont including:  the Intervale in Burlington, Food Works in Montpelier, RAFFL in Rutland and the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick.  Despite our enthusiastic support for local food in the Mad River Valley, we haven't had an entity that would be considered a "food hub" until now - but that is all about to change!

Why Do We Need a Food Hub in the Valley?

The growth of agricultural enterprises in the Valley is impressive!  Each year several new farms are started in the Valley and food grown locally is available at the Farmers' Market, in restaurants and at local stores.  Clearly we have farmers who can produce and eaters who love what they are growing and raising for us.  The bottleneck in the system is that step in between the farmers and the eaters - processing and distribution. 

Mad River Food Hub

The Food Hub, which will be located at Irasville Business Park - the former Mad River Canoe building in Waitsfield, will offer a state inspected facility for vegetable, fruit and meat processing and storage. Refrigerator and freezer space as well as a kitchen and butchering area will be rented out on a daily basis.

Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Mad River Valley farmers will now have a place to process their fruits and vegetables to freeze them for resale at a later date or turn them into prepared/canned foods.

Winter Vegetable Storage

Potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, winter squash, beets, turnips, cabbage and leeks can last for many months if properly stored.  Chances are if you buy any of these items in the grocery store in the late winter, the vegetables were actually harvested in the fall and stored for distribution throughout the winter.  Now our valley farmers will have access to a secure vegetable storage facility that will protect their vegetables throughout the winter and enable us to have fresh local produce in the winter and early spring.

Meat Cutting and Processing

Meat processing is one of the biggest challenges in the Vermont food system.  There simply are not enough slaughterhouses in the state to meet the increasing demand for local meat.  The Mad River Food hub will have two state licensed meat processing rooms.  One will be for butchering meat (after it has been slaughtered at a slaughterhouse) and the other for fabricating meat into sausages and cured meats.

Dried Medicinal Herbs

To satisfy the needs of a new start-up farm in the Valley, the Food Hub will also have a drying room when medicinal herbs can be dehydrated and packaged for resale.

Who Will Use the New Facility?

Local businesses including the Mad Taco, Gaylord Farm and the Kingsbury Market Garden have already made a commitment to use the facility; the Mad River Food Hub plans to be up and running by late summer 2011. 

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Tuesday, May 10 in Waitsfield, VT

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund has been developed a road map for agricultural development in Vermont and Ellen Kahler, Executive Director Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, will lead this presentation to discuss the initiative’s 18-month research project and present their strategies. Current Mad River Valley initiatives including the exciting Mad River Food Hub will also be discussed.  >> LEARN MORE

7:00pm to 9:00pm • Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield

 

 

 


 

 

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