Know What is in Your Food: a Q&A with Cookbook Author Tracey Medeiros

compiled by Marichel Vaught

Tracey Medeiros. Photo by Debra Somerville

Tracey Medeiros knows local food and, more importantly, local food that is good for you and good for the environment. Aside from being a food stylist, recipe developer and tester, she is the author of three cookbooks — “The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook,” “The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook” and “Dishing Up Vermont.” She also writes a column for Edible Green Mountains Magazine called “The Farmhouse Kitchen: A Guide to Eating Local.” Medeiros adds to her repertoire a new book titled “The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook to be released October 3.”

Medeiros who recently embarked on a tour promoting her latest cookbook answered a few questions from The Bridge about the non-GMO movement in Vermont and how “The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook” supports that.

The Bridge: How does your new book, “The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook” differ from your previous books such as “The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook?”

Medeiros: What sets my latest book, “The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook,” apart from my others is its theme, which focuses on the non-GMO and organic elements of the food system. The emphasis in this book is on “Know What is in Your Food.” All of the farm contributors featured are certified organic and its food producers are either certified organic, non-GMO or both. All of the chefs and restaurants in the cookbook feature organic and non-GMO on their menus.

The Bridge: What are the benefits of eating non-GMO foods?

Medieiros: Some of the benefits of eating non-GMO foods are that using non-GMO and organic methods to grow foods is healthier for the environment because organic farming reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion and increases soil fertility. Eating non-GMO foods that are locally grown and produced helps the local economy. This methodology supports sustainability.

The Bridge: Are non-GMO foods more expensive?

Medieiros: They can be more expensive, but if you shop at farmers’ markets and buy what is in season, a surplus of available produce may be less expensive. As always, be a smart shopper!

The Bridge: Where is Vermont relative to the country when it comes to the non-GMO movement?

Medieros: It is truly astonishing to see what a big impact this small state has had on both the local and national organic and non-GMO scene. Vermont, the first state to pass the historic “GMO Food Labeling Law,” forever changed the way Americans eat. Even though the law was nullified, Vermont still plows ahead continuing to use best agricultural practices with a strong emphasis on non-GMO. Our food communities are true role models for eating healthy, which is supported by local eateries that feature local, organic and non-GMO on their menus.

The Bridge: Does your book include information on where to purchase non-GMO products, meat and produce?

Medeiros: In the back of my cookbook is a directory that includes information on each of its contributors, along with their websites and telephone numbers.

The Bridge: Can you talk about a poignant time during your process of putting together your new book? Whether it was something a farmer you met said or shared, or something you discovered.

Medeiros: In spite of the fact that the GMO labeling law did not pass, I find it very encouraging that Vermont’s food community continues to forge ahead with an unwavering commitment to the non-GMO movement. It is truly heartwarming to see Vermonters continue to do their best to create a healthier planet for its inhabitants. Because of this, many farmers and food producers continue to use non-GMO and organic practices, wanting to leave a healthy legacy for future generations.

A book signing will be held with Medeiros at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier on Dec. 1 from  5 to 7 p.m. To learn more about Medeiros, her upcoming events and book tour dates, go to either www.traceymedeiros.com or Twitter: @tmedeirosvt.

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