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