23 April, 2014 - by Vermont Fresh Network
18 April, 2014 - by Jackie Cooper, Healthy Living Market
This entry was originally posted on Healthy Living's Blog. Vermont has no shortage of local ingredients, restaurants focused on local foods, and cooking classes and workshops ready to inspire. Check out this great description of a cooking class at Healthy Living's Learning Center.
16 April, 2014 - by Sophi Veltrop, The Golden Stage Inn
Category: Explore a Region
11 April, 2014 - by Vermont Fresh Network
9 April, 2014 - by Kira Schmiedl, Shelburne Farms
I’ve always had a sweet tooth. As a kid growing up in suburban Boston, drowning my pancakes in maple syrup, I had only a vague understanding that this gold, liquid sugar came from trees. As I became more interested in the origins of food and moved to Vermont, I discovered the taste of pure maple syrup and all it takes to produce it.
The sunny days, cold nights, and delicate, earthy scent from the sugarbush mark my favorite time of year at Shelburne Farms: sugaring season. Usually lasting 4-6 weeks from late February through early April, it’s a sweet sign that the long winter is fading (really!) and spring is finally on its way.
Sugaring is an important part of our working landscape and education programs here at the Farm. It helps us maintain a sustainable and healthy forest, provides food for our farm to table endeavors, and engages people of every age – especially teachers and their students – in a process of learning where food comes from. Sugaring connects all of us to the land, our community, and the local economy.
While steeped in tradition, the maple sugaring world is not lacking in innovation. If you visit our sugarbush this year, you may notice some of these exciting changes. As part of our ongoing effort to reduce energy consumption across the Farm, we’re experimenting with reverse osmosis as a way to boost production and lower energy consumption in sugaring.
The reverse osmosis machine cuts down on boiling time by removing excess water and concentrating the sugar in the sap, generally bringing sap from 2% to 8% sugar content. (The higher the sugar content, the less sap you need to boil to make syrup!) Last year we used 8.3 cords of wood to produce 100 gallons of maple syrup; this year we expect to use just 2-5 cords to produce 100 gallons. This is exciting news, especially for Marshall Webb and Dana Bishop, who steward our green certified woodlands, harvest sustainably produced lumber for craftspeople like our on-site partner Beeken Parsons, and supply firewood for the Farm.
Reverse osmosis machines, along with the vacuum and line collection system we have used since 2011, are now commonplace to many Vermont sugarbushes and sugar houses. I have read estimates that up to 90% of maple syrup on the market has undergone reverse osmosis.
This new technology allows us to represent Vermont industries in our educational programs, including school field trips. But it poses challenges, too. Educator Christie Nold explains, “Often, as technology increases, the distance between people and food products increases as well. We want to celebrate these technological advances while still exposing students to a more ‘traditional’ sugaring method. This shows them not just how product is made, but also where it comes from.”
Our educators believe that the most impactful activity to learn about sugaring is for students to see firsthand the sap running from a maple tree and collecting in a bucket. So along with the 2.5 miles of tubing that connect 650+ taps throughout our sugarbush, we use about 50 traditional metal buckets to collect sap.
4 April, 2014 - by Erica Houskeeper, Happy Vermont Blog
This post was originally posted on Happy Vermont, a blog dedicated to exploring and enjoying the dynamic Green Mountain State. As we get ready for Vermont's 5th Annual Restaurant Week, look for more of these restaurant profiles that celebrate the wonderful farmer and chef partnerships we have in Vermont.
2 April, 2014 - by Caitlin Jenness, NOFA Vermont Beginning Farmer Programs Coordinator and Revolving Loan Fund Administrator
28 March, 2014 - by DigInVT Staff
Category: Explore a Region
The official Maple Open House Weekend is over, but there's no reason not to create your own maple weekend in Vermont.
26 March, 2014 - by Helen Labun Jordan
The classic backyard food party is the summer BBQ. Folks have their grills, some have campfires, some have barbecue pits, one friend of mine added a backyard smoker for making smoked onion rings (really, what’s a summer party without smoked onion rings?). And I enjoy those events. In fact, I support eating every meal of summer outside. But the essential cooking equipment that I want in my backyard isn’t a grill for BBQs - it’s a table for hosting sugar on snow parties in the spring.
Sugar on snow involves heating maple syrup until it just reaches the softball stage (about 234 degrees Fahrenheit), taking it off the heat for a few moments, then drizzling it over snow so that it turns into a sort of maple taffy you can eat with a fork. It’s usually served with a pickle and plain doughnut. In my memory there is a glass of milk, however I don’t think that’s traditional - it ought to be.
21 March, 2014 - by Helen Labun Jordan
Several years ago I was traveling to a certain European country where maple syrup was not part of the national menu (Macedonia, to be precise, where the honey is pretty awesome). Our hosts admitted that, while they appreciated visits from Vermonters, they'd also filled a kitchen cabinet with bottles of unused maple syrup. They couldn't believe how many pancakes Vermonters must eat to go through as much maple syrup as we apparently consumed.