I love food. I know that won’t come as a surprise, seeing as I am an organic farmer. But I didn’t intend to be one.
Nope, my food journey began at 15 as a girl who’d learned the horrors of feedlots and CAFOs and declared to my bewildered parents that I was swearing off meat for vegetarianism.
That one decision led me to want to know more about my food, which eventually led me to wanting to eat meat again, which led me to taking a summer job on a diversified farm. Needless to say, the people, food, and fields I found in the organic farming community became my home.
Along the way, my path to good food was paved with cookbooks and food writing, which fed my story-loving soul as deeply as the actual food I was learning to grow fed my body.
Now, I’m so excited to introduce you to the Vermont NON-GMO Cookbook, a new cookbook by Tracey Medeiros that celebrates Vermont Organic Farmers, many of whom I’m privileged to call my friends.
Packed with delicious recipes that can be made with ingredients found at local farmers markets, food coops, or your own garden, this cookbook digs deeper than recipes to include profiles of the people working to grow organic food and make positive change in the food system.
In short, it’s a book you’ll want in your kitchen and on the bedside table for reading.
Tracey is generously giving away a copy of The Vermont NON-GMO Cookbook to one Good Heart Life reader!
? Enjoy my interview with her, and find out how to enter the giveaway below.?
Interview with Tracey Medeiros, author of The Vermont NON-GMO Cookbook:
Kate: I love how many farms you highlight, and have so enjoyed reading profiles of so many of our farming friends. This book feels to me like as much a celebration of the people as it is of the food. Why was it important to you to make farmers such a centerpiece of the cookbook?
Tracey: It was important for me to make the farmers the focal point of The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook, because what we eat affects our health and the world around us. The legacy that we leave our children will be determined by how we care for our agricultural system.
K: Going beyond the farms, you also include the coops, general stores, restaurants and bakeries, really giving a full view of the connections and networks that makes Vermont’s non-GMO and local food movement possible. Did you intend to do this from the outset, or did it evolve as you worked on the cookbook?
T: Yes, I intended to reach beyond the farms when writing The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook. I wanted to celebrate all the folks who are dedicated to connecting their communities to heathy food…coops, general stores, restaurants, food producers and bakeries. All these folks support organic and non-GMO products. It was important to me to showcase their dedication and commitment.
K: You write in the introduction that you’ve made “the pursuit of healthy eating, through sustainable food systems, your life’s passion.” What was your own journey to cultivating this passion? Did you grow up caring about healthy local food, or was it something that entered your life later?
T: I have always loved everything that is food related, even as a child I liked to cook. My dream was to one day study the art of food and its preparation. To this end, I enrolled at Johnson and Wales University where, after graduation, I quickly became interested in the sustainability movement.
My love of farmers’ markets and roadside food stands led to the birth of my first cookbook, Dishing Up Vermont. I am also the author of The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook and co-author of The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook.
The fall of 2017 saw the release of my fourth book, The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook which is a 2018 Readable Feast Cookbook Awards Finalist. Each of my books see to pave the way for my next literary adventure.
K: You mentioned the other cookbooks you’ve written. Three of your now four cookbooks focus specifically on Vermont. What keeps you coming back to this subject and place to write more?
A. It is truly astonishing to see what a big impact this small state has had on both the local and national food scene. Vermont, the first state to pass the historic “GMO Food Labeling Law,” forever changed the way Americans eat.
I am drawn to the folks in Vermont because of their universal devotion to their communities. They are concerned about the health of our planet and its inhabitants and are doing all that they can to connect consumers to healthy food by caring for the soil in which it is grown.
Being a food writer offers me an opportunity to spread the word about the amazing work that folks are doing to help promote community wellness through food. Having the ability to showcase all the great things that are happening in the agricultural and food communities gives me a great sense of satisfaction and is the driving force behind my writing.
K: What do you most hope readers and eaters will take from these pages?
T: The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook simplifies the complexity of the non-GMO movement by offering recipes that include ingredients which do not contain genetically modified organisms.
Folks will find ideas for serving healthy, delicious meals using recipes that offer alternatives to the foods that we usually eat. Along with these recipes, the reader will be introduced to each of the book’s contributors through the use of a profile format.
My goal was to put a face on the hardworking folks who took time out of their busy lives to share their stories with me. It was important to me that readers not only savor the book’s delicious recipes, but walk in these folks’ shoes for a bit and share their thoughts, dreams and undying passion for what they do.
Meeting so many of the wonderful folks in our food community is always such a joy. Going behind the scenes to see how everything works, so to speak, is truly an eye opener. I wanted the reader to learn about how the book’s contributors work long and hard to effect positive change, not only for today, but for generations to come.
K: A portion of the proceeds are being donated to Rural Vermont. Have you always blended food, writing, and activism, or is this a new step? With so many organizations in Vermont who are involved in agriculture, what makes Rural Vermont stand out to you?
T: I not only wanted to offer a cookbook which showcases the wonderful things that are happening in our food community, but also wanted all of the book’s contributors to nominate a worthy local organization that they felt deserved a portion of the cookbook’s proceeds.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook will be donated to Rural Vermont to help sustain the amazing work that they do.
In 2012, Rural Vermont was a founding member of the Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition, which included the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), and Cedar Circle Farm.
These folks led a huge, statewide grassroots effort that resulted in the passage of Vermont’s historic GMO Food Labeling law, in 2014.
K: Now a hard question – Do you have a favorite recipe in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook?
T: There are so many wonderful recipes in The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook that it is very hard to choose – here are three:
Brussels Sprouts with a Creamy Sriracha Dipping Sauce, found on page 127 in the book. This easy recipe is a great way to get your day’s allotment of veggies. The dipping sauce is creamy, spicy and versatile. It perfectly complements any burger, golden fries, or fried calamari!
Northern Lake Fish Chowder, found on page 65 in the cookbook. The sweet, crisp flavors of the hard apple cider provide the perfect counterpoint to the smoky flavor of the lake fish and the smooth, velvety texture from the cream and fish stock.
Apple-Raspberry pie is a beautiful rustic dessert, found on page 307 in the book.
To learn more about Tracey Medeiros, go to her website at: www.traceymedeiros.com