= The 6000 block of Shelburne's Route 7 is on its way to becoming an epicenter of food culture.
On the west side side of the road is Shelburne Vineyard; across the street is the brand-new Fiddlehead Brewing Company, as well as Folino's, a flatbread eatery due to open this spring. On the hill behind the brewery, a group of visionary architects and builders have been renovating the 73,000-square-foot former home of Shelburne Industries, with the eventual intention of turning it into a food hub under the loose name of the Vermont Food Project. Eventual tenants will include a bakery and café, and possibly a miller, distiller, creamery and chocolate maker.
There's also tons of office space inside, too. And after more than a year of construction, the complex is about to take its first significant step forward. The ever-growing EatingWell Media Group will relocate its offices here by the end of the month, along with its 30 or so employees.
Over the last decade, EatingWell has grown from an adless quarterly to a thriving media giant, all from its offices in rural Charlotte. It lures four million unique visitors to its website each month, racks up James Beard awards for its cookbooks and articles, and recently increased print circulation from 350,000 last year to 500,000.
Some of that growth has been buoyed by Meredith Corporation, who snapped up EatingWell last summer. At the time, some speculated (and worried) that the very local EatingWell would be moved out of state. Their worries were for naught.
"Our new owners really decided they wanted to invest in keeping us in Vermont" says Lisa Gosselin, EatingWell's editorial director. "This was also a terrific opportunity to be in a brand-new LEED-certified building." The new locale offers more space, two photo studios, a video kitchen studio, "brand-new" test kitchens and better connectivity (cell reception was poor in Charlotte).
Gosselin notes that Meredith has been "pushing to own the food space." Last year, the company also launched recipe.com and purchased allrecipes.com as well as Every Day with Rachael Ray, with an impressive 1.7 million monthly circulation. EatingWell represents the "healthy food brand" in that trifecta, says Gosselin.
The complex where they'll reside is being called Shelburne Green. Its former flagship company, Shelburne Industries, was owned and operated by the late governor Richard A. Snelling. Those who run the Vermont Food Project chose to remain anonymous, but are close to tapping a constellation of agricultural producers for the space. Burlington's J. Graham Goldsmith Architects, which owns the site and building, has led the renovation.
"We're hoping it's going to be a food hub," says Gosselin of EatingWell's new home.