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Hoist Sail and Batten Down the Flours!

Jacqueline Sainsbury - October 14th, 2013

The inaugural voyage of the Vermont Sail Freight Project's Ceres has cast off, bringing 15 tons of foodstuffs down Lake Champlain to the Hudson River and into New York Harbor, in attempt to "reconnect waterborne agricultural commerce to New York City." The project was conceived of by Vermont rice farmer Erik Andrus to support local farm economy using a carbon-neutral distribution system. Farmers are able to own a share of the vessel while customers—home cooks and chefs alike—buy goods directly at "the price-point needed to support good land stewardship and diversified farming."

Stored below deck are a variety of non-perishable and preserved agricultural products, the majority of which are USDA certified Organic or Certified Naturally Grown. The haul includes maple, birch, and apple cider syrups; several varieties of potatoes and onions; Red Russian, Chesnok Red, German Hardy White garlic; squash; apples from Champlain Orchards; Vermont Bean Crafters and Green Thumb Farms heirloom beans; freekeh, flaxseed, groats, corn berries, and wheat berries; organic flours from New England and the Adirondacks—white, whole wheat, pastry, bread, spelt, dark and medium rye, cornmeals, and pumpernickel; Vermont honey; seas salts from Maine—in different grinds, smoked, flavored; Atlantic Holdfast seaweed; raw apple cider vinegar; maple cream, Vadeboncoeur Nougat, and Big Picture Farm goat's milk caramels; and more.

The team behind the project emphasizes that, while it may harken back to another era, this is not a reenactment. The Ceres will be making several trips in 2014, and there are hopes to expand into a fleet in the future. Goods for wholesale can be pre-ordered and picked up at the New Amsterdam Market on October 27. Contact Patrick Kiley for wholesale information at, and visit the website for the expected itinerary and general information.