Sterling College is a small liberal arts college in northern Vermont, in the tiny village of Craftsbury Common, where it really feels like time stopped about fifty years ago.
The college is very small (a little over 100 students), and focuses on issues that relate to the environment and sustainability. Students can choose from courses in Sustainable Agriculture, Natural History, Outdoor Education, Environmental Humanities and Conservation Ecology.
Sterling is one of only seven Work-Learning-Service colleges in the nation. All students work on campus, earning a portion of their tuition fees while serving the community. The college offers three semesters – fall, spring, and summer. Sterling students can begin in any semester, take any semester off, and still maintain full-time status.
The school is also known for its food (yes!) – its dining hall serves the most delicious meals you will ever find on a college campus.
That dining hall is run by Food Service Director Anne Obelnicki, who is a member of the faculty and also the school’s Director of Sustainable Food Studies.
Anne invited me to give a pork butchering seminar to kick off day one of a course called “Farm Scale Production of Value-Added Products”, which is part of a larger program called “Vermont’s Table” – a five week course that includes practical culinary experience, field trips, and seminars in food entrepreneurism. “Farm-Scale Production of Value-Added Products” is a practical stills course divided into two sessions, with Session One focusing on animal products (butchering, sausage-making, meat curing, etc.)
So I spent a wonderful day at the college with my son Todd (also a butcher), working with the students. First I cut up half a pig, then they did the other half.
The pig, by the way, was raised on Sterling’s working farm (here’s her sister).
And in the afternoon we created sausages.
WE HAD FUN!