Tracey Medeiros, 42, is a native of East Freetown, but when her husband’s airline job transported the family to Vermont nine years ago, she fell in love with the local food culture. Finding herself writing a column for two area newspapers, she began collecting recipes and interviews for her first book, “Dishing Up Vermont.” This week, she released the follow-up, “The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook: 150 Home-Grown Recipes From the Green Mountain State,” which highlights new farms and food producers, while giving more attention to seafood and distilleries. “My hope and goal through this book is to get the word out there on a local and national level,” Medeiros says. “I want to keep these farmers employed and help them succeed. I also want to excite the younger generations, to plant that seed in our youth that says, ‘Maybe I will try to be a farmer one day.’ ” After allowing her subjects to nominate worthy local charities, the author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Vermont Food Bank.
Q. What separates Vermont cooking from other areas?
A. I think they’re really passionate about using local ingredients, and they are really supportive of the local farmers, and they’re very mindful of how these ingredients are grown. I think that is a huge thing. It’s a way of life. It’s just the philosophy here in Vermont. And also they are really aware and really care about feeding the community in a healthy way, which I think is huge.
Q. Coming from Massachusetts, how did you begin working with Vermont food producers?
A. I’ve been very fortunate that these hardworking folks have supported my projects. I’ve always wanted to write a cookbook and when I moved to Vermont, I was just so impressed with the food community. I did some research and wanted to incorporate these wonderful products that I would find and I looked for a cookbook that used these ingredients or supported these farmers and I saw that it was a rare commodity. So because I’ve always wanted to write a cookbook, I decided to contact some local farmers, chefs, and food producers and introduce myself and tell them about the project I was thinking about doing. And immediately the recipes started to come in.
Q. In the introduction, you write, “Every recipe in this book is an edible story.” Which of these food producers’ stories stood out to you?
A. There’s a pesto in there that’s really great from Rachel [Schattman of Bella Farm in Monkton, Vt.]. Her love started out when she went to boarding school and part of her curriculum was to work on the farm at the school. Her love just grew from there and she makes pesto on the side to bring in an additional income to her farm. She picks the basil fresh that day and makes the pesto. Again, it’s just another example of really being mindful and using fresh ingredients and also using ingredients from her farm.
Q. How about any particular recipes?
A. One that I think is really unusual is a blueberry goat cheese pizza that Knoll Farm was kind enough to contribute. Another one is Rachel’s Caprese Sandwich [from Rachel Nevitt of Full Moon Farm in Hinesburg, Vt.]. I like that one because it’s just really simple and it’s her version of caprese. When you think of caprese, it’s Italian and you think of mozzarella, but she puts her own spin on it where she uses cheddar because Vermont is known for cheddar cheese. And what’s great about that particular recipe is it highlights heirloom tomatoes and it’s just really simple and great for a snack, lunch, brunch — even if you wanted to serve it for dinner you could just add a salad on the side.Interview was condensed and edited. Glenn Yoder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.