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Step Aside, Slim Jim 

Side Dishes: Vermont biz makes its own "snack sticks"

Snap into a Smoke and Cure? Two weeks ago, South Barre-based Vermont Smoke and Cure began shipping its new 1-ounce snack sticks — in cracked pepper and barbecue flavors — to area stores.

Unlike mass-market meat snacks, these slender sticks are uncured — meaning they’re preserved with dried celery juice instead of sodium nitrite — and come from animals raised on an antibiotic-free, vegetarian diet. “We get them to the right pH and the right level of dryness so that they can be natural and shelf stable,” explains CEO Chris Bailey. “Of course there’s no MSG, artificial flavors or artificial smoke.”

The finger food retails for about $1.49 per stick, but Bailey hopes it’ll lend itself to culinary applications besides snacking. At a recent trade show, the pizza vendor in the next booth chopped up a couple of the all-beef barbecue sticks and stuck them on a pie. “It was amazing,” Bailey claims.

In other VS&C news, Bailey notes that the company’s line of locally raised products — uncured bacon and ham, and hot, sweet and breakfast-style sausages — will be on shelves again this April after sourcing issues occasioned a yearlong hiatus. He explains: “We found a great farmer, so we’re back.”

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Bio:
Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more

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