Calling All Locavores: Trek to Taste Celebrates Local Food

By Elle O’Casey

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle and eat locally-sourced, farm-fresh fare, there is no better place to be than Vermont. USA Today recently rated Vermont as the second healthiest state in the nation. Vermont is also the national leader for local food systems, receiving first place on the 2016 Locavore Index. To compile this index and determine the strength of local food systems in every state, a local food advocacy group, The Strolling of the Heifers, looked at US Census data as well as US Department of Agriculture data, quantity and quality of food hubs, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and per capita comparison of farmer’ markets.

Here’s a snapshot of the top five states in the nation:

2016 Locavore Index

The Strolling of the Heifers

State Rank Population Farmers Markets CSAs Farm to School Participation %
Vermont 1 625,741 97 148 83
Maine 2 1,328,361 98 146 79
Oregon 3 3,831,074 170 261 55
Montana 4 989,415 67 39 40
New Hampshire 5 1,316,470 97 104 77

State Farm to School Budget % Food Hubs Direct sales/
capita
KYF Funding/
Capita
 
Vermont 17 5 $43.84 $21.43  
Maine 16 2 $18.66 $8.85  
Oregon 27 5 $11.53 $9.14  
Montana 23 2 $9.52 $6.17  
New Hampshire 7 1 $15.44 $4.12  

Recognizing Vermont as the national leader, Sustainable Woodstock is committed to supporting food security and regional food systems in several ways. A few examples include local food initiatives like the Woodstock Winter Farmers’ Market, our community gardens sites, the Naked Table event, and the creation of the Woodstock Area Farm and Field Guide.

One of Sustainable Woodstock’s most exciting events is Trek to Taste, an annual collaboration with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and 30 other organizations celebrating our local trails, local food, and the local schools and leaders who help our community build strong, sustainable local food systems. This year Trek to Taste will be June 4 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Admission for all activities is free and everyone is invited to take park in this great community event.

The “trek” in Trek to Taste is the opportunity to walk on the park’s beautiful trails, taking in the scenery and views while finding culinary treats along the way. There will be four hubs of activities spread around the National Park and Billings Farm’s extensive trail system.
Guided hikes will begin at the Forest Center at 10:30 a.m. Walkers of all ages are invited to join knowledgeable area guides for treks to ArtisTree at the Horse Shed (<1 mile round trip), and the Mount Tom Farmers Market (1 mile), the Nordic Hut (2 miles) and Mount Tom’s South Peak Summit (4.5 miles). Other hiking activities include the Centennial Visions Scuplture Walk and a yoga session. The Woodstock High School and Middle School Farm to School program is preparing wood fired pizza at the Nordic Hut, using many locally sourced ingredients. Sustainable Woodstock is gathering gourmet food from area farms and distributors, providing well deserved treats for hikers who make it to the summit of Mount Tom. We will be serving delicious items from area farms, producers and shops, including chorizo from Cloudland Farm, King Arthur bread, jelly and fiddleheads from Potlicker, fresh salsa from the Woodstock Farmer’s Market, egg salad from Thymless Herbs, maple cream from Top Acres Farm, Vermont Farmstead Cheese and much more. The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra will perform starting at 10:30 a.m. followed by Jack Snyder at 1:00 p.m. and homemade ice cream from the Woodstock Creamery will be served, sponsored by the Billings Park Commission. The event will be capped with two special award presentations: the Annette C. Compton Fiertz Trail Stewardship Award and the Centennial Visions Artists Recognition. For more information on the event, partner organizations, schedule for the day and trail map, go to trektotaste.info or call (802) 457-3368 ext. 22.

Meanwhile, another way to enjoy locally produced food is at our area’s farmers’ markets. The Mount Tom Farmers’ Market on Route 12 will be open from 9:30 to 12:30 every Saturday into October. (For Trek to Taste the market will stay open until 1:00.) See mttomfarmersmarket.com for more details.

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