POULTNEY — The days are numbered for two oxen that have worked the fields at Vermont’s Green Mountain College farm for more than a decade.
The Poultney college says the oxen, Bill and Lou, are being retired because of injury and will be processed into beef products to be served in the college dining hall.
College officials tell the Burlington Free Press that the animals are regarded with affection, but that it’s a traditional understanding that cattle working at the farm are turned into beef when their working careers end. The college farm produces vegetables and animal products for the dining hall and a community-supported agriculture program.
More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition started by an animal sanctuary in Springfield asking that oxen be spared.
BURLINGTON — Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says there’s been a sharp decrease in food donations through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and program supporters say it comes at a time of heightened need.
The independent senator and representatives from the Vermont Foodbank and Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf are addressing the issue Tuesday.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides food at no cost to low-income Americans in need of short-term hunger relief, through organizations like the Vermont Foodbank.
During fiscal 2012, the Foodbank saw a 50 percent reduction in its allotment of food from that program, amounting to a drop of more than 1 million pounds of food.
MONTPELIER — Hunger Mountain Coop announced that one of the ice creams it sells could be contaminated with salmonella.
Oregon Ice Cream Co. initiated a voluntary recall of Alden’s Peanut Butter ’n Chip 48-ounce product as the peanut butter may be contaminated.
Customers should look for a UPC code of 0 72609 74191 2 and a product code between 12195 and 12261, which will be printed or stamped on the bottom of the package.
Anyone who has purchased this product is asked to return it to the Hunger Mountain Coop’s customer service desk for a full refund.
State agriculture officials and maple professionals will hold three public meetings to take comment on the proposed changes (for an article on the confusion around the grading system itself, here’s a pretty good wrap of the whole situation at Farming Magazine) to the maple grading system.
The changes have been proposed to align the Vermont grading system with the standard recommended by the International Maple Syrup Institute. Members of the public will be given the opportunity to provide comment
The meetings are being held by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in partnership with the Vermont Sugarmakers Association and UVM Extension.
Meetings will be held in October at the following locations:
Oct. 16: American Legion Post 27 at 49 Wilson Road in Middlebury.
Oct. 17: South Woodstock Fire Station on Route 106 in Woodstock.
Oct. 18: Lamoille Union Tech Center on Route 15 in Hyde Park.
All meetings start at 7 p.m.
After a brief presentation outlining the proposed changes, discussion will be moderated by Lynn Coale, director of the Hannaford Career Center and a member of the Agriculture and Forest Products Development Board.
Input from these meetings will be considered for future maple grading standards.
For more information, call Henry Marckres at the state Agency of Agriculture, 828-3458.
The future of Sabby’s Pasta House is apparently up in the air.
The restaurant and bar at 31-33 Center St. closed this week with no word on if, or when, it might reopen.
A message left for owner John French was not returned Wednesday.
Michael Coppinger, executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership, said he was trying to get in touch with French to determine Sabby’s status.
French purchased the business from Tracy Taylor in March of last year.
WEST RUTLAND — The second annual town-wide food drive to benefit the West Rutland Food Shelf is set for Saturday.
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with food drive volunteers accepting donations at the food shelf next to the Town Hall. They will also arrange to pick up donations at homes throughout the day.
Tony Morgan, coordinator, said supplies were very low. Currently, the food shelf has a good supply of rice and beans.
Needed non-perishable food items include tuna, pasta, pasta sauce, canned fruit, jelly, peanut butter, soups and cereals.
Cash donations are encouraged as they help fill the gaps and buy perishable items like bread and eggs.
For more information or to schedule a pick-up, call Morgan at 282-5374.
WALPOLE, N.H. — A U.S. Department of Agriculture official is visiting farms in Vermont and New Hampshire to discuss how the growing agricultural economy is helping to create jobs and expand local and regional food systems.
Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan starts in Vermont on Tuesday, where she’ll tour the Brattleboro Food Co-op, which has grown from a tiny warehouse storefront in 1979 into a $17 million operation.
In New Hampshire, Merrigan will visit the Stonewall Farm in Walpole, a nonprofit working farm and educational center. She also will tour the site of the new Monadnock Community Market Co-op, which is scheduled to open in early 2013 and will provide farmers the opportunity to sell their food locally.
Merrigan also is expected to meet with students and faculty at Keene State College.
Galen Kuehnl, age 7 of Plainfield, samples the fruits of his labor with a little help form mom Anna Barasch. Never missing a beat, Kuehnl continues to pedal while quickly devouring a piece of bread laden with the pesto being blended in the blender attached to the stationary bike being ridden by Kuehnl. Kuehnl and his mom were among a small crowd that turned out for the fourth annual Growing Local festival held by Food Works at Two Rivers Center.
SPRINGFIELD — Another brewery is opening in Vermont.
The Vermont Brewers Association says Grateful Hands Brewing is opening this weekend in Cabot and will specialize in dark beers.
Owner Ricky McLain will pour samples of his beers and sell containers called growlers on Saturday. His initial four offerings include an American brown ale called Time and an American stout called Courage.
Grateful Hands is considered a nano-brewery because of the size of each batch of beer, 20 gallons. The Brewers Association says McLain expects to start off selling growlers from the brewery and at farmer’s markets and eventually start bottling.
The Springfield-based Vermont Brewers Association says it was established in 1995 to promote professional craft brewing in the state. Executive Director Kurt Staudter calls Vermont “the Disneyland of beer” and says the new brewery gives the state 26.