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Gardening… Zen… and Simple Pleasures

October 2, 2013 in Art, Farm & Agriculture by Jen

Sometimes we stumble across things that give us pause in our daily rush to “do”. These moments are treasures- a chance to take a deep breath, reflect, and embrace whatever is laying there, ready to be found. I always feel so fortunate when I stumble on simple, unintentional moments, like this one, found in a few simple lines shared by a friend reflecting on her own found moments in the garden.

Gardening has become my Kung fu…
Sometimes I go out there and just sit,

bees thrumming around my head,

toes in the dirt,

tasting the last wisps of summer

in a cherry tomato that I discover hiding behind over-grown mustard leaves.

I could spend all day in that beautiful organized chaos.

The kids roam in and out,

finding bugs to ogle and

tidbits to munch,

dried bean pods

to exhume like mummies,

and every discovery

leads to more questions –

what’s this plant?

What made this hole?

Can I eat this?

It’s just soul-satisfying, a connection to all things green and growing,

to a cycle of time that runs deeper and slower and far more intricately than anything else.

And yeah, it’s yummy.

– by Kelly Stettner

Raised bed beginning. Kelly S

Humble beginnings

Garden after 1 month- Kelly S.

And one month later, this has become a LUSH jungle! The broccoli is four feet high, the gourds have thoroughly taken over the cucumber patch, and I never did find the zucchini under all those cherry tomatoes.

Garden photo by Kelly S.Gourds on Trellis - K. Stettner Garden photo by K.S.








Armando helps harvest sunflowers. K. Stettner

Bird Prints on tarp in the Garden. - K. StettnerSpider and web in the garden by Kelly S.

American Toad in the Garden - K. Stettner

Fall Harvest- Kelly S.

~The best harvest is the smile~

 All photos courtesy of Kelly Stettner.

Do you have a gardening, simple pleasure or reflective moment you’d like to share? Please email us at or post on our Facebook page:


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Monarchs and other Winged Creatures in Vermont

September 10, 2013 in Farm & Agriculture, Youth & Education by Jen

With reports of the monarch population being down as much as 90% this year, what is going on?

This report from WCAX gives a brief overview of what is being seen in the state. For more detailed information about butterflies and other winged creatures in Vermont come to the “Wings of Wonder“, presented at the Springfield Town Library, Thursday 9/12.

Monarch tagging and report WCAX

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McDonald’s is Closed. Long Live the Locals!

July 29, 2013 in Community Development, Farm & Agriculture by Jen

McDonald’s is officially closed. Although they will rebuild, the next three months provide perfect opportunities to explore other options in and around Springfield. In fact, it’s a great time to think about our choices and how they impact our local economy. To be clear:  I am an advocate for small, independent and local businesses.  I believe they are the backbone of a strong economy and essential for a healthy community, nation, and 12 Reasons Buy Localworld.

Studies from across the nation have demonstrated that spending at a locally owned establishment can generate 3-4 times as much value as dollars spent at a chain. This 2003 study showed how in one community, of $100 spent at a big box retailer only $14 stayed local, including all charitable contributions. Comparatively, of $100 spent at a local retailer,  $45 stayed local.

The 2000 Vermont Job Gap Study revealed the extent of Vermont’s “leaky bucket”- the amount of goods and services provided outside Vermont that could potentially be provided by in-state services.  The study found that the average person in Vermont spent $3,064 for food grown and/or processed elsewhere. While some of that food cannot be produced in this region, there are significant opportunities to capture more of those dollars in-state. They concluded that if Vermont could substitute local production for  just 10% of the food imported, it would result in $376 million in new economic outpout, including $69 million in personal earnings from the creation of 3,616 new jobs.

Those are big numbers, but what does that mean for Springfield? The 2010 Retail Market Study commissioned by Springfield on the Move indicates that Springfield residents are spending $4.8 million on food service & drinking places outside of Springfield, and an additional $8 million at food and beverage stores. (This does not include the losses from chains vs local establishments, just money spent outside of Springfield).  If we could capture just 20% of those sales, it would create nearly $2.5 million in revenue. How many jobs could that create? How much tax revenue? The numbers aren’t huge, but they are significant (approximately 25 jobs created). Add in the benefits of shifting additional revenues from national chains to local businesses and the potential impact begins to spread quickly.

And, it’s not just the economic benefits of buying local that matter. According to a 2012 national study by sociologists at LSU and Baylor University, “Counties and parishes with a greater concentration of small, locally-owned businesses have healthier populations — with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes — than do those that rely on large companies with ‘absentee’ owners”. The fact that local establishments tend to use more local, fresher ingredients, is likely one contributing factor.

They say it can take 30 – 90 days to form a new habit. Imagine the possibilities if even half the people who used to go to McDonald’s tried out some new, local establishments and found one or two that they then used on a regular basis! I think it’s kind of exciting!

While there is room for growth, Springfield offers a solid variety of local food establishments- from restaurants and delis, to a farmers market, farm stands and a local food co-op. With the Springfield farmers market now accepting food stamps/ EBT cards, even more people can enjoy access to the fresh  food available there while helping support local producers.

Below is a list of a few of the local/ independent places around Springfield (this is a partial list, in no particular order). We hope to provide more in-depth profiles of some of these soon. Many of these restaurants and delis offer take-out and call-ahead service, so your meal is ready when you are. Check them out and support your local neighbors, farmers, and friends!

Perkins Country Deli – (click here for an article on the Perkins’ and their one year anniversary)- 20 Valley Street, Springfield, VT; 885-6325

Jenny Wren Cafe: (formerly Apron Strings Cafe): 41 Main Street, Springfield, VT; 885-1766

The Hole in the Hill: 30 Main Street, Springfield, VT; 885-4240

56 Main: 56 Main Street, Springfield, VT; 885-6987

The Sub-Way (Pizza and Subs): 85 Clinton Street, Springfield, VT;  885-1144

Springfield Community Market (aka Farmers Market): 6 Main Street, Springfield, VT- Saturdays 10 -2 June – Sept

Shanghai Garden:  129 Clinton Street, Springfield, VT; 885-5555

Springfield Food Co-op: 335 River Street, Springfield, VT

Riverside Restaurant: 244 River Street, Springfield, VT; 885-2161

Black Rock Steakhouse: 284 River Street, Springfield, VT; 885-2200

371 Restaurant: 371 River Street, Springfield, VT; 886-8300

Springfield Royal Diner: 363 River Street, Springfield, VT; 886-1400

Oriental Palace: 10 Clinton Street, Springfield, VT; 885-1144

Jasinski’s Park Street Market: 114 Park Street, Springfield, VT; 885- 9177

Jake’s South Street Market: 181 South Street, Springfield, VT;  885-5488

Jake’s Market & Deli: 197 Clinton Street, Springfield, VT; 885-3344

KJ’s Place Tavern: 3 Main Street, North Springfield, VT

Simply Baked in Vermont: Springfield, VT; 802-591-4190

Sonas Gluten Free Bakery Goods: 131 Clinton Street, Springfield, VT; 802-738-4076

The Summer Place: Springfield Plaza, Springfield, VT;

Black Watch Farm: 1233 Weathersfield Center Road, Springfield, VT; 263-5488

Wellwood Orchards: 529 Wellwood Orchard Road, Springfield, VT; 263-5200

Coger Farms & Greenhouses: 15 Baltimore Road, Springfield, VT; North Springfield, VT

Cherry Hill Farm: 409 Highland Road, Springfield, VT; 885-5088

Cavendish Game Birds: 190 Paddock Road, Springfield, VT

Blais Farm: Intersection of Rte 106 & Rte 5, Springfield, VT

Black River Produce: (distributor for local foods to restaurants and food service industry)