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Techniques of the Working Landscape

This half of the Vermont Foodways database will share information on how Vermonters use the land for nourishment and livelihood.  The first section of this section will cover acquisition and cultivation of raw food ingredients include hunting, fishing and foraging practices to represent the original ways humans fed themselves from the land and also agrarian traditions and farming practices that came with the first homesteaders, followed by commercial-scale farming. These materials will deal mostly with the actual procurement or growing/raising of the food.

The second area within Techniques of the Working Landscape will deal with processing of raw ingredients for consumption including cooking, cheese-making, canning and other methods of preservation. The bulk of these materials will be cookbooks representing a variety of stages/styles/regions.

Agrarian Practices

This section, while by no means comprehensive, touches on some of the key aspects of food acquisition and cultivation in Vermont. Below is some brief background on some of the major food sources and farming emphases in Vermont over the last 200-plus years.

Sources: various from my own writing for Burlington Free Press and Cooking with Shelburne Farms.

Processing and Preparation

This section includes about 20 cookbooks selected from the Wilbur Special Collections extensive Vermont cookbook collection for their representation of different points along the home-cooking chronology, from fully scratch cooking with a Yankee emphasis to the introduction of packaged products and the expansion of global flavors and recipes seen in cookbooks.

In addition this section includes interviews, excerpted recordings and articles on aspects of food production from butter-making, to cheese production, to cellaring and canning vegetables and fruits. These mostly refer to historical processes, although there are a few items that talk about the renewed interest in some of these types of processing, showing that older foodways have become new again.