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It’s been a long, juniper- and honey-laden road, but Barr Hill Vodka and Barr Hill Gin are on their way to Vermont state liquor stores.

The spirits are the newest project of Caledonia Spirits Winery, the Hardwick makers of Caledonia Honey Mead and Elderberry Cordial, among other elixirs. The 90-proof gin is infused with juniper berry and honey, and the 80-proof vodka is distilled from raw local honey. Twenty-five cases of each should be on shelves within a week.


The Positive Pie empire seems to grow and grow. The family-owned chain has just purchased the space adjacent to its Plainfield branch that used to house River Run Restaurant. Co-owner Carlo Rovetto says the new space will most likely expand on the Positive Pie concept. The family now owns seven locations in Vermont and upstate New York, the most recent being Pizza Works in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.


Fans of Himitsu Secret Sushi, the pop-up sushi nights at Montpelier’s Kismet, now have more places to find the fare. Creators Nate Kulchak (also the chef) and Megan Dolan now bring their traveling sushi kitchen to Morrisville’s Bee’s Knees on Mondays and Warren’s Hostel Tevere on Tuesdays, in addition to their ongoing Wednesday-night residence at Kismet.

While the Kismet events have a tasting menu, the other two nights are à la carte, with an assortment of rolls, nigiri sushi and cooked items. “As our original plan was to open a restaurant in one location, this is our way of really getting to know the community and understanding where our restaurant/food will be most appreciated,” writes Kulchak in an email.


Winter is nearly upon us, but farmers recovering from Tropical Storm Irene may be busier than usual during the frigid months now that they have means to repair the damage. In its second round of grants, the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund awarded $237,500 to 49 farms damaged by flooding, bringing the total grants so far to $540,000. One hundred and one farmers have received aid.



Hospitals don’t generally get kudos for feeding the public, but Fletcher Allen Health Care is an exception. Last week, Health Care Without Harm, an international sustainable health care coalition, bestowed two first-place awards on the hospital: the Sustainable Food Procurement Award and the Sustainable Food Public Policy and Advocacy Award. Burlington’s hospital beat out more than 430 others for the honors by spending more than a third of its annual $3.5 million budget on Vermont-made products, and even more on regional ones. FAHC also educated the community through its Center for Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems. Those good-citizen awards should make the chicken-sausage cassoulet at Café Express taste even better.


Those looking forward to this Saturday’s planned dinner at Rustico’s paired with the Vermont International Film Festival’s screening of Dish: Women, Waitressing, and the Art of Service had better make separate reservations. Dinner will be served as usual at Club Take 2, the Essex Cinemas’ restaurant, during and after the 21+ screening at 5:30 p.m. But the tasting dinner at Rustico’s has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts. Club Take 2 will also host a showing of Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey at 4 p.m. on Sunday. And, no, minors won’t be allowed in for the behind-the-scenes look at the furry monster.