Lara Atkins -- Richmond, VT
The Kitchen Table Bistro
Lara Atkins feels lucky about her location near Burlington’s Intervale, a fertile region of Vermont that’s home to several strong community-based farm-preservation projects. “We love winter, don’t get me wrong, but when it’s time, we’re happy to let it go,” she says. “As a chef in Vermont, well, heck, when fresh produce is available, I can’t help but celebrate that we’ve made it through another long winter. Strawberries are the first real fruit here, and we’re so far north that it’s June when they arrive, but as soon as I can get them, I can’t get enough.”
Lara, like most people, has trouble expressing the exact difference between local berries in season and those from away, but when she says, “The local ones are more ‘true’–they’re fruit-sweet, not sugar-sweet–they taste juicier,” we know exactly what she means.