We're a small local frozen food company working to make the connection between local farms and your dinner plate. VT Dinners are for those nights when your day was long enough without an extra trip to the store. When cooking from scratch sounds like a daunting task. When you just need an easy, nourishing meal you can feel good about.
Our meals are made with real ingredients from local farms. You won’t find any of the artificial coloring, preservatives, sweeteners or high sodium found in conventional processed foods. Best of all, because they're frozen, you can enjoy delicious local ingredients year-round. Our vision is a world in which great local food brings people together, even on the busiest days. Read more about the benefits of freezing.
Where it all began...
As busy working parents Nathaniel and his wife Ariel struggled to find the time to cook healthy meals from scratch every night… especially during winter months when local produce was scarce. Prepared meals were easy, but the quality and flavor of highly processed “TV dinners” simply wasn't good enough. Nathaniel and Ariel wanted food that was local, food that tasted, well...real. Not to mention that buying frozen meals from who knows how far away wasn't in line with their desire to support local businesses. Eventually Nathaniel realized that they weren't alone in wanting easy local options and decided to do something about it.Drawing on the support and advice of long-time local food advocates Hans Estrin and Jamie Baribeau, VT Dinners launched in the late summer of 2015, with the mission of making healthy local food accessible, affordable, and easy year-round. Read more about our vision, mission, and values.
Early in 2016 Natalie Pelham joined the VT Dinners team to help strengthen the brand, expand our meal offering, and scale up the business from its CSA-style roots to a presence in local markets and food co-ops. Natalie is deeply committed to filling the need for more convenient, thoughtful and creative food options in our lives (and in your freezer). In fact, she's so committed that this spring she decided to invest in the company, buying in to become a co-owner! Natalie stepped in at a critical time; when Nathaniel's family needed to move to Boston, she was ready to take over the day-to-day operations of the business. Since June, she has been both a co-owner and the managing partner of VT Dinners.
Nathaniel Brooks, Founder
Natalie Pelham, Owner
Hans Estrin, UVM Extension Specialist
A former science teacher at the Putney School, Hans founded Windham Farm and Food, a local produce aggregation and wholesale delivery service, when he couldn't get apples from the farms down the road in his school cafeteria. The idea of making frozen meals from local farm produce was originally Hans' and he worked tirelessly to help develop the initial business plan, find kitchen space, and raise awareness. Currently working to help local farmers upgrade their food safety processes, Hans is always on the go, improving our food system one local farm at a time.
Jamie Baribeau, Director of Food and Nutrition for Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
A culinary impresario with serious production chops, Jamie has more than twenty years of experience in the food industry and a flair for improvising with local and seasonal ingredients. In addition to his full time job overseeing food at BMH, Jamie also runs Vermont Seasons Fine Catering with his wife Barbara. Jamie created the inaugural VT Dinners menu, and helped shepherd the business through the inspection and permitting process. When he isn't helping bring better food to the Brattleboro public, you'll likely find Jamie cooking up new creations in his newly built wood-fired pizza oven.
Richard Berkfield, Executive Director of Food Connects
The co-founder and Executive Director of Food Connects, Richard has been leading food system development work in the Windham County area for the past eight years. He is a member of the Vermont Farm to Plate Steering Committee as well as the Vermont Farm to School Steering Committee. Windham Farm and Food, now a program of Food Connects, supplies much of the ingredients used in VT Dinners. The Food Connects School Harvest Farm is currently custom-growing the summer squash for two new VT Dinners.
Deb Bailey, Regulatory Department Project Manager at New Chapter. Deb moved to Vermont in 1997 to run a B&B in the Mount Snow area, where she began her love of food, cooking, and coming up with creative meals. A tireless local food advocate, Deb started and runs the local food buying club at New Chapter. She is also a member of the Board of Trustee for the Greenwood School in Putney, VT. Deb puts a customers perspective and the hard-earned knowledge of a former small-business owner to work in advising VT Dinners.