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To The Editor:
Cheers to fellow localvores and a big thanks to all the gardeners and farmers who have worked the good earth to produce such an abundance of local foods. Even with our relatively short growing season, an astonishing array of food matures in just a few months.
As the movement for local food production gains momentum, it is important to look to other regions with similar climates to enhance and diversify our local diet. It is exciting that the cuisine we are enjoying this week is just the beginning of the foods that will grow in the Mad River Valley.
The list below includes foods that have been grown in Vermont in the past and others that are cultivated in similar short-season climates around the world. All of these foods can be grown in our Valley. Many will fruit heavily in the first handful of growing seasons. Just imagine the culinary options.
American persimmon, plum, cornelian cherry, peach, kiwi, paw paw, pear, currant, quince, mulberry, seaberry, jostaberry, juneberry, honeyberry, serviceberry, elderberry, bilberry, buffalo berry, bush cherry, apricot, grape.
Chestnut, hazelnut, walnut, pecans, hicans (cross of hickory and pecan), sweet acorns, butternuts, pine nuts (three to five varieties), heartnut.
Pumpkin seed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, pine nut oil.
Morel, boleta, shitake, oyster and many more.
We are diversifying our home foodscape with many of these crops to provide sustenance that nourishes and brings a beautiful complexity to our little Vermont hillside. But beyond home hillsides and hobby gardens, these foods could again, and some for the first time, be at the core of a stable regional food autonomy that lacks not in production, nutrition, or suitability to the land. Plant diversity and harvest abundance.
Happy Localvore Week to everyone in The Valley. We look forward to a full and flavorful plate during Localvore Week 2012. Keep on planting!
Ben Falk and Kristen Getler