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Farms on Film

Side Dishes: Web video series connects restaurant and producers

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As owner of Bluebird Tavern, Sue Bette has long been fascinated with the farms that supply her restaurant. On July 4, those farms’ stories will find a place on the web at TendVT.com. Bette and her friend, marketing consultant Edward Shepard, started filming a video series called “Tend: Exploring the Vermont Foodscape” in April. Since then, they’ve visited food producers across the state, talking to the people behind Bluebird’s fresh fare.

“We thought it would be a great way to tell a story about local food in Vermont,” says Bette of the video series. “It’s really been fun to get to the farms and see what’s happening.”

“What’s a cool story is how many farmers and producers have mixed their passion with entrepreneurship,” says Shepard, who shoots the footage and edits it into three- to five-minute “video postcards.”

The website will debut with four videos, including clips spotlighting Rockville Market Farm and Jasper Hill Farm. More than 16 spots are finished, and the friends say they’ll continue to shoot episodes at least until winter, returning to some farms that were still barren when they visited earlier in the season.

The series can be viewed in several formats on the Tend website, or via links on Bluebird’s Facebook page. Each farm, bakery or brewer has its own page, which also features written information. A Google map will allow for a virtual Vermont farm tour.

Shepard says the high-tech venture is a natural extension of Bette’s farm-first ethos. “We wanted to take some of the spotlight away from the restaurant,” he explains. “Bluebird is such an innovative restaurant, working with such innovative farms … It’s great to meet the people at the heart of it.”

Sounds like local food, version 2.0.

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