The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is the most rural and remote corner of the state.
Yankee resilience, spectacular natural scenery, richness of character, harsh winters, homesteading traditions and stony soils come together to make a place that is unforgettable once you have visited or lived here.
Northeast Kingdom generally refers to Vermont’s three northeasternmost counties: Orleans, Caledonia and Essex. It’s here where novelist Howard Mosher created his stories about rum running, logging, farming and village life—all drawn from his experience in the Kingdom. In 2009 Ben Hewitt wrote The Town that Food Saved about Hardwick and the surrounding area, the heart of the local food movement.
The movement has grown rapidly here in the past ten years and with it, an interest in the places and people producing real food. Agritourism has become part of the puzzle for many farms seeking new ways to connect directly with customers.
Ongoing challenges for the conventional dairy market and the growth of organics opened a window for many of the kingdom’s traditional farms. Others have found ways to add value by turning a raw product like milk or berries into something that can be sold directly, like cheese or jam.
Farmers markets, community-supported agriculture shares, restaurants and general stores are reliable places to buy local food. Small breweries and distilleries have joined the local food market with exciting results as well.