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Backstory: Most Personal Project 

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About The Author

Paula Routly

Paula Routly

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Paula Routly is the cofounder, publisher and coeditor of Seven Days. In 2015, she was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.

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James Buck

James Buck

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James Buck is a multimedia journalist for Seven Days.

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  • Backstory: Stinkiest Assignment
  • Backstory: Stinkiest Assignment

    In February, I was reporting on the innards of Vermont's dairy industry — the bewildering matrix of humans, cows and economics from which those eight-ounce bars of Cabot cheddar mysteriously emerge. In an attempt to understand it all, I decided to spend a week at Vorsteveld Farm in Panton, a 1,300-cow operation that seemed to represent the inexorable scaling up of production that has changed the face of Vermont agriculture. To ensure the most immersive experience, my original plan had been to sleep in the workers' trailer, but the lack of spare furniture made that inadvisable. So I ended up commuting home to Burlington every night, a mindless 45-minute drive by day made incalculably dicier after a 12- or 13-hour stint in the milking parlor, by which point every imaginable farm odor — the rich smell of raw milk, hot from the udder; the nose-stinging iodine solution used to protect the teats, which was disconcertingly cold to the touch and looked like orange Kool-Aid; mind-boggling quantities of steaming manure — had penetrated my five layers of clothing.
    • Dec 25, 2019
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