One of the goals of The Messenger is to help promote the regional food movement and to draw attention to the growers, farm stands, stores, chefs and restaurants that are spearheading the use of locally grown and raised foods and meats.
That's an easy task to do when it comes to Dutton Farm Stands. With stands on Route 9 in West Brattleboro, on Route 30 in Newfane and on Route 11/30 in Manchester, the Duttons are one of the mainstays of Southern Vermont and New Hampshire's regional food scene.
"I would say that 80 percent of what we sell we produce ourselves," said Wendy Dutton, who owns the stands along with her husband Paul.
Their four children, ages 6 to 19, are also involved in the business. In fact, one of their sons gave me an excellent tour of the Dutton's pick-your-own strawberry fields when I was doing a story on them a few years ago, and he was barely a teenager.
Though the pick-your-own season is past, the Dutton's have added apples this year to their normal berry picking. They do still have plenty of fresh produce, in particular squash, carrots, pumpkins, a wide selection of apples and beets, at all their stands, which will all be open year round as of this winter, seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The stands offer a lot more than just produce. They have two bakeries which produce baked products made from scratch using their own fresh ingredients. In Manchester they also make fudge that is available at all their stands.
"We're providing local produce," said Wendy, "and people know where their produce is coming from when they buy from us. They're buying direct from the farmer."