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Side Dishes: Slow Food Vermont recruits for the big event

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Slow Food Vermont wants you. The Green Mountain chapter of the international foodie organization is planning its biggest event, Terra Madre. The biennial gastronomic blowout is scheduled for October 25 to 29 this year in Turin, Italy, and Slow Food Vermont president Mara Welton hopes to have a large Vermont contingent.

Welton is looking for Vermont purveyors interested in representing the state’s food landscape at the largest market in the world. An old hand at the event, she says, “In the past, I’ve always felt like, ‘Oh, my God, we can totally hang with the rest of the products here.’ My goal is to get as many Vermonters as we can.”

According to the application, Terra Madre vendors can offer “[a]ny food or beverage that has been produced in a good, clean, and fair way.” That could include Vermont specialties such as cheese, beer, pickles and cured meat — anything transportable across the Atlantic. Welton says she hopes big brands such as Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery will have their own booths, but she’s helping to assemble smaller producers in a single booth that will showcase a wide variety of food products.

Welton is also recruiting Vermonters to serve as U.S. Slow Food delegates. Those lucky few won’t need to pay for housing, meals or transportation when they attend Terra Madre and share the word with other delegates from around the world. But everyone is welcome to attend and taste. “It’s really a humbling and inspiring experience,” says Welton of Terra Madre, whose theme this year is Feeding the Planet. And the world will certainly be fed.

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