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Side Dishes: Leftover Food News

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It’s always exciting to scoop bigger publications, and on August 12, Seven Days staff writer Lauren Ober did just that. Her cover story “Buying the Farm” told the story of Ken and Carol Borland, dairy farmers who were forced to sell their cows and equipment when low milk prices kept them from making ends meet.

The next day, Barry Estabrook of Vergennes, a Gourmet contributing editor, posted a story about the Borlands to the food mag’s website. In “Politics of the Plate: Selling the Farm,” Estabrook — who, like Ober, attended the farm auction — briefly touches on the relationship between big ag and poor pricing. But he primarily focuses on portraying the hardworking Vermonters who lost their livelihood. “Before the auction,” Estabrook writes, “Borland had told his son that he planned to sleep until noon the day afterwards. Fat chance. He was up at 3:30 in the morning, as always.”

Katherine Hayward and Shawna Lidsky, cofounders of the Vermont Brownie Company, may not get to hang with Emeril when he comes to Vermont in September, but the ladies have their very own TV gig on the way. A few weeks ago, the duo got a call from a Food Network talent scout requesting a demo tape. “She asked us to really showcase how we bake our brownies and show ‘a lot of personality,’” Lidsky recalls.

The former WCAX sportscaster says her 12 years of work in broadcasting helped her whip up a demo in short order. “We hear that babies and animals sell, so we went for that,” Lidsky half-jests. The official response? As she recalls, her Food Network contact said: “We’ve never seen anything quite like it.” The video is available on YouTube.

And, she reports, network staffers claimed they could “taste the quality ingredients” in the brownies. The upshot: The Food Network plans to feature the VBC on a not-yet-disclosed show, with a likely air date in February.

They’ll film the segment around Halloween. “They asked if we have anything going on in October, and I said, ‘Nah, only my wedding and my honeymoon,’” says Lidsky.

It’s a thrill to hear that the Huffington Post included Burlington in its August 17 roundup of “Top Ten Undiscovered Cities for Local Food.” But whoever did the research could have been a bit more detail oriented. Although HuffPo’s staff is correct in crediting the Vermont Fresh Network with furthering the localvore cause, it didn’t make the smartest selection of banner restaurant. The copy reads: “Smokejacks serves fourteen types of local cheeses and humanely raised beef, chicken and pork.” Next time, maybe they could showcase an eatery that’s still open?

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