International Trade Relationship: Vermont & Japan

Experience Vermont – in Japan!

The Vermont brand is synonymous with quality, sustainability, and authenticity.  In late October, 2016 VAAFM Deputy Secretary Jolinda LaClair led a group of some of Vermont’s most innovative businesses on a Vermont Food and Beverage Trade Mission to Tokyo, Japan. With the help of partners at Food Export USA, the Vermont businesses leaders able to meet with buyers and food service professionals to learn about market opportunities for their products in Japan.

The 2016 Japan Trade Mission trip include representatives from:



Vermont Homemade Memories, LLC dba Vermont Harvest







Shacksbury, Inc Far from ordinary, apples are the most diverse food plant on earth. At Shacksbury, we believe cider can, and should be daring, rooted in history and complex. Based out of Shoreham, Vermont we produce traditional style dry, food-friendly ciders that protect the flavors of the orchard and celebrate cider fruit varieties. 






Spring Brook Farm dba Farms for City Kids Foundation



Smith & Salmon, Inc 







Caledonia Spirits, IncCaledonia Spirits was founded in 2011 in the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. We partner with farmers and beekeepers to source grains and raw honey for the production of our award winning spirits. Raw honey distinguishes our vodka and gin by imparting a pure and soft botanical essence into every bottle.  



Runamok MapleRunamok Maple is changing how people cook with and think about Maple Syrup. We have created a line of syrups that allow maple to be used in delicious new ways. No longer is maple syrup just for pancakes and waffles. 


Sugar BobHere at Sugar Bob’s, we only make Smoked Maple Syrup. Smoked Maple syrup is for cooking with, used in savory dishes, sauces, marinades, dressings, and glazes, and in cocktails. It is made from real maple syrup, and maple wood smoke. Nothing else has been added.



Trade Mission Leaders

Jolinda LaClair, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

Jolinda serves as Deputy Secretary for Administration for the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Previously, she was State Director of USDA Rural Development (RD) for Vermont and New Hampshire. She directed over 40 community and economic development programs aimed at rural development including agriculture.

Jolinda currently serves on the boards of Vermont Works for Women, and the VT Agriculture Innovation Center.  She is past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and served as a board member for the Vermont Community Foundation, Housing Vermont, as well as a member of a regional initiative to create a four-state economic development strategy for the Northern Forest region. She is a former State Advisor for the University of Vermont Extension.

Jolinda has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Vermont. She resides in Middlesex.


Chelsea Bardot Lewis, Agricultural Policy Administrator

Chelsea Bardot Lewis is an Agricultural Policy Administrator with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. She is the Agency representative to the Vermont Agriculture and Culinary Tourism Council, the coordinator of the Vermont Meat Processing Task Force, and the Federal Policy Advisor to the Secretary. She has an M.S. in Agriculture Food and Environment from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, where she conducted the research for “A capacity assessment of New England’s large animal slaughter facilities as relative to meat production for the regional food system,” published in 2011. She and her husband Nate own Moonlight Farm in Waterbury, Vermont, an organic fruit and garlic operation.


Susan Murray, Director, United States Commercial Service Vermont Office

Susan Murray is Director of the US Commercial Service Vermont Office for the US Department of Commerce.   U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets.

Murray has been Director for the past 16 years.   As a Certified Global Business Professional, she provides direct assistance to the Vermont business community.  Murray has organized trade missions and programs to Europe, South America and Asia.   She has served on temporary assignments as Acting Principal Commercial Officer for the US Consulate in Montreal, Canada in 2004 and 2011, and as the Acting Senior Commercial Officer for the US Embassy in Dublin, Ireland.   Additionally, in 2014 she worked in the US Consulate in Toronto in support of a Secretarial trade mission as part of the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference.  
Before working for the US Commercial Service, Susan spent almost 15 years as an aide to US Senator Jim Jeffords, working in Vermont as his Economic Development Coordinator and Business Liaison.  She currently lives in Montpelier with her husband and two grown children. 
For more information, please contact Chelsea Lewis​​ by calling 802.522.5573 or by email,