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Organic, Local, and Thriving: Root 5 Farm Feeds The Community

“There’s a point in late July and August that we call rainbow time, when we have the full spectrum of color—purple eggplants and beets to orange carrots, red radishes, and orange and red tomatoes. I love rainbow time,” says Danielle Allen, standing amid rows of flourishing vegetable plants yielding that colorful bounty. Altogether, she notes, she and her husband Benner Dana and the crew at Root 5 Farm in Fairlee raise more than 100 varieties of organic vegetables, herbs and flowers.

At Root 5 Farm, Danielle and Ben are dedicated to producing good food by following healthy, sustainable organic practices. The 38-acre farm, certified by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF), stretches over four naturally formed terraces along the Connecticut River. Their diligence and commitment produce a fabulous variety of fresh, locally grown food for the Upper Valley.

Growing & Improving

When vegetables ripen, the Root 5 crew harvests by hand—in summer, almost daily. Vegetables are immediately taken to the farm’s cool and spiffy barn. Among Danielle and Ben’s changes at the farm are their upgrades to the barn including expanding it and replacing its old stone floor with smooth concrete.

“We put a lot of effort into this space. A concrete floor doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s a game changer for us,” Danielle explains. “It means everything can be on wheels. Veggies land in this space, and we can move them on wheels. We move a lot of produce.” They also upgraded the barn to be a certified processing kitchen. Besides all the washing, sorting, bunching, storing, refrigerating, and packing of vegetables in the barn, this is where they make their signature Powerkraut sauerkraut—about 8,000 pounds a year! Be sure to try it!


4 Ways to Eat Powerkraut

from Danielle Allen of Root 5 Farm

There are many ways to eat sauerkraut; for starters, you can eat it hot or cold. Many recipes suggest heating it, cooking it slowly for a long time, or rinsing and draining the juices. Just be aware that cooking sauerkraut kills all the good bacteria. In order to get the full health benefits of this live, fermented food, we recommend eating sauerkraut raw. Here are a few surprising ways you can incorporate sauerkraut into your meals.

In Salads

Use that tangy, salty, crunchy goodness of sauerkraut to add depth and flavor to salads. Add as much or as little as you’d like for a different way to get probiotics into the body. Simply toss sauerkraut into a salad and use the juice as a base for a salad dressing. It’s delicious. Or toss sauerkraut with apples and beets for a sweet, crunchy, and colorful quick meal.

Part of Breakfast

If you like a savory breakfast, try sauerkraut with your eggs and toast and a splash of hot sauce in the morning. Put sauerkraut inside your breakfast sandwiches or burritos. Or try avocado and sauerkraut on toast—so delicious!

As a Condiment

Serve sauerkraut alongside any meat dish. Try it on a hamburger or next to steak or sausage. Use kraut to garnish soup or as a sandwich topping. Try it in your grilled cheese sandwich!

Right Out of the Jar!

Need a boost of energy or a boost to your immune system? Eat sauerkraut right from the jar. Serve out a helping in a bowl or on a plate, grab a fork, and enjoy!


by Mary Gow

Photos by C Perry Photography

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