Op - Ed, Opinion

Eat, play, tour, explore

Find new ways to make your summer count

By Secretary Anson Tebbetts

As the weather gets warmer, Vermonters are comforted by the simple pleasures of summer, among them, fun with friends at Vermont country fairs and festivals. My own family has enjoyed fairs all over the state year after year. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has caused this summer’s fairs and festivals to be cancelled. I am certain that many who have treasured the tradition over the years will miss Vermont’s fairs and festivals.

Our fairs offer us the opportunity to meet with friends and neighbors, admire blue ribbons proudly on display, enjoy fried dough and maple cotton candy, and gather as a community. While these meals, contests, shows, and special events will be greatly missed in 2020, agriculture and food businesses are working hard to create exciting and new ways to experience all Vermont agriculture has to offer.

Some resources are at our fingertips right now. At DigInVT.com you can design your own local adventure or check out one of their curated trails. Stay up to date on virtual events and online tourism opportunities like exploring a farm from home, or supporting local food businesses and farms by shopping online. You can also find listings of restaurants, food trucks, and other eateries where you can call ahead and book your table or order food to go.

Look to VermontVacation.com for recommendations on road trips and scenic back road adventures and discover more of our open farmland, villages, and forests and valleys. There are also detailed planning tools for outdoor recreation, seasonal activities, or turning your trip into a staycation by booking a night at one of the many Vermont inns, B&Bs, or farm stays.

This may not be the summer we expected or hoped for, but it can still be a great summer. We will miss the chance for agricultural exhibitors, commercial vendors, and non-profit organizations to show us their products, practices, and livelihood. They are an essential part of maintaining Vermont’s working landscape and contribute valuable economic resources to our communities. We can still support them.

Let’s take a moment to discover more of what is out there —either just down the road or across the state. We certainly have lots of wonderful food and drink options, beautiful places to visit, and so much to appreciate. While we will miss our fairs and field days and many other activities over the coming months, the Vermont’s incredible food and beverage businesses are endless. Eat, play, tour, explore — and make your summer count!

Anson Tebbetts is the secretary of the Vermont Dept. of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

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