Nothing in Vermont is more traditional than the family farm. And no local enterprise has suffered more than these small farmers. As the direction of modern “progress” moved away from a self-sufficient lifestyle toward increasing reliance on corporate goods and services, these land-based entrepreneurs found it harder and harder to make ends meet.
But, things have changed. A population once content to eat their food from cans and boxes has discovered the joy and satisfaction of acquiring, preparing and eating local fresh food. This “slow food” revolution has its roots in Vermont, and other rural areas of the country. Legions of small farmers are experimenting.
They are finding new ways to add value to traditional farm products. Former dairy farmers now produce world-class cheese. Single crop farmers have diversified into smaller plots of organic table vegetables sold fresh directly to consumers at local Farmer’s Markets. Maple syrup producers are making vodka. Seemingly all of a sudden, Vermont has become a hot bed for small batch distilleries. And local Quechee distiller Duncan Holaday started the ball rolling.
Duncan Holaday opened the first official Vermont distillery, Dunc’s Mill Distillery, the original home of Vermont Spirits Distillery and began distilling maple sap into vodka. His Vermont Spirits Gold and Vermont Spirits White, distilled from milk sugars, gained national recognition and inspired him to expand his company. His use of elder flowers and maple sap to distill rum captures what many distillers work hard to achieve–using only Vermont-grown agricultural ingredients.