I can’t stop thinking about a trip I took last Saturday morning with some friends. We went to the Middlebury Farmer’s Market, just five minutes away at a local elementary school. It was one of the last weeks the market will be held in its winter location, as it will soon switch to its outdoor setting at MarbleWorks, with a beautiful view of Otter Creek falls in the center of town. A friend of mine has an internship this semester with a local baker, who each Friday teaches her the secret to making the perfect soups, breads and baked goods (which is lucky for me and my roommates, as we get to sample her latest creations each week). Her “baker friend,” as we have come to call her, was selling her goods at the market and hands down had the best table around. Her gorgeous apple crisps, granola bars and cupcakes were piled high. The soups that my friend had helped her make the day before were neatly arranged in mason jars in a metal bucket with ice. It was quite the sight!
Looking around at other tables, I was surrounded by fresh carrots, beets, and more types of lettuce than I knew what to do with. We sampled the veggies and chatted with the vendors, who had come from local farms and were selling their own produce proudly. It’s safe to say it was the most beautiful I had ever seen an elementary school gym!
Walking around the market that day, it hit me (not for the first time since coming here) how lucky Middlebury students are to be in Vermont. Getting to explore the Green Mountains and summit some pretty unbelievable peaks, we also benefit from the flatter portions of the state — the farms themselves. About 25 percent of the food served in our dining halls is from local farms, including the College’s own Organic Farm, which was started by students a few years ago and is located a quarter mile off campus. Taking a walk out to the garden at sunset is one of the absolute best ways to spend an evening, and something I recommend you start doing your first year here.
Students have continued to promote local foods here on campus in exciting ways this semester as well. A few days ago, a new group called “Eat Real” kicked off their efforts with “Real Food Week,” a week full of panels, lectures, barbeques and other types of programming aimed to encourage students to learn about local foods and push for even more of them in the dining halls. I attended to a dinner made with entirely local ingredients that was one of the best meals I’ve ever had on campus. I was one of the lucky students to get let in (word of advice: get to local food dinners early!). Also in attendance were two farmers who sell some of their produce to Middlebury, and who spoke to us about the importance of local foods and what we can do to incorporate them into our lives.
As a senior moving to a city in just a few months, I am definitely enjoying easy access to fresh, local foods as much as possible and can say with confidence that Middlebury is a delicious place to spend four years.