13 November, 2014 - by Healthy Living Market

Healthy Living Wants to Bring a Local Turkey to Every Table

 

Today Healthy Living Market and Café in South Burlington will be kicking off their annual Thanksgiving turkey pre-order program where customers will be able to order local, free-range and antibiotic/hormone-free turkeys over the phone, in-store or online at www.healthyliving.com/vermont. As in past years, they will be offering fresh and fair priced turkeys from a handful of local farms around Vermont as part of their “A Local Turkey for Every Table” campaign. Healthy Living has been a driving force behind the “Buy Local, Eat Local” revolution in Vermont and has made it a priority to support local growers by selling turkeys at fair market price to customers in Chittenden Country for over twenty five years.
 
To get things started, last week Healthy Living’s Co-founder Katy Lesser and team headed out to Adam's Turkey Farm for their annual visit. Adam’s Turkey Farm has been a local Vermont poultry grower for over 30 years and is one of the three local farms that include Misty Knoll Farm and Stonewood Farm providing turkeys to Healthy Living for the pre-order season. Lesser has known Dave and Judy Adams since the late 80’s when she first started offering turkeys in her store during the holidays.
 
“I started thinking about Thanksgiving at the store and wondered if customers might like local turkeys. During my research, I came across Adams Turkey Farm and went to visit Dave and Judy Adams at their farm in Westford. That’s where I actually got my first lesson in local agriculture and met dedicated farmers who raise poultry of astounding quality,” said Lesser. “The rest is happy history; we worked together to make a plan. I learned about turkeys and the Adams learned about wholesale. That first year I sold about 25 turkeys....since then we’ve sold more every year!”
 
This year’s farm visit marked the 25th anniversary of the grocer and vendor working together to provide the highest quality turkeys during Thanksgiving. Knowing who grows the food they sell is a high priority for Healthy Living. Seasonal staff visits to the farms have become part of their mission. For this trip, new members of the Healthy Living staff were able to see the farm while learning more about raising local turkeys.
 
For more information and to pre-order your turkey today, check out www.healthylivingmarket.com/saratoga. Click here for more information and assets.

It's almost turkey time.  Do you have your turkey yet?  Maybe you want to get out on the farm and see where the turkeys live; maybe you're having a turkey-free holiday and need to get to the farmers market or food market for your supplies; maybe you head to a restaurant to have your holiday meal.  Whatever Thanksgiving looks like for you, Vermont is full of local foods to guarantee a delicious holiday!

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1 November, 2014 - by Vermont Artisan Village

You’re in Good Company: Shelburne’s Food Artisans

 

Not only is Shelburne home to iconic Vermont brands (Vermont Teddy Bear and Shelburne Farms, to name two); our quiet town is home to a strong, and growing, community of hard-working, passionate artisans. They do things by hand, they follow their hearts and they produce incredible products. Here are some to check out.
Studio Cacao Chocolatier
Kevin and Laura Toohey, with their son Ronen, make each and every chocolate truffle by hand here in Shelburne. In fact, Studio Cacao was the first tenant to join Vermont Artisan Village back in 2012. Kevin, a trained chef, recently returned from a week at the L’Ecole du Grand Chocolat in New York City excited to tweak his silky-smooth truffle. “When a truffle is made properly,” he told us “it is super light and carries flavors well. I want you to bite into one of our truffles and get a real burst of flavor.” Sounds great to us! Toohey is currently at work perfecting a fleur de sel caramel and truffles infused with rose geranium. Check Studio Cacao out online and in the Burlington Town Center Mall on Church Street.
Folino’s Pizza
Folino’s Pizza, housed in a shared space with the award-winning craft brewer Fiddlehead Brewing Company, has a simple mission: To Make the Best Pizza. Fresh dough is made daily and shaped, by hand, into pizzas scattered with simple toppings. Every pie is baked in a 1000-degree brick oven to bubbly, charred-crust perfection. Wait! Before you take that first bite, don’t forget to grab a growler of Fiddlehead’s funky, citrusy IPA.
Chef Contos Kitchen & Store
Chef Courtney Contos is a Chicagoan by birth, a chef and a consultant who has worked with Charlie Trotter and Martha Stewart. She recently opened a kitchen store in town where she sells a curated selection of cool stuff for the kitchen and home and hosts cooking classes. We hear that she recently hosted an Apple Cake Cook-Off and Fall Party. She makes us excited about food and is a vibrant personality. Plus, she’s launching a culinary tours business and has one of the best foodie Instagram feeds around.
Shelburne Vineyard
Located across the street from Vermont Artisan Village is Shelburne Vineyard, a pioneer in the Vermont wine industry. Shelburne Vineyard harvests almost 20 acres of grapes every year to produce award-winning wines like their Marquette, made from a red grape cultivated to thrive in cold-climates like ours. The Vineyard practices sustainable agriculture. The Winery is open seven days a week for tastings and tours. We’ll often pick up a bottle of Marquette and a few pizzas from Folino’s to bring home for dinner.
Cricket Radio Linen
Elizabeth Archangeli and Angie Lizotte are the designers behind Cricket Radio Linen, which makes beautiful linens and other gorgeous goods like pillows, aprons and the most adorable baby onesies! We are thrilled to have Cricket Radio onsite at Vermont Artisan Village. Their products provide a beautiful backdrop for beautiful food. Cricket Radio’s designs are influenced by Indonesian batiks, vintage Americana and rural Vermont and have a decidedly Martha Stewart-meets-etsy flair (no surprise, they were finalists last year in Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards).
Shelburne Country Store
This country store, right off the Shelburne Green, dates back to 1859. Like any good country store, the Shelburne Country Store has anything and everything, including rubber duckie stickers, Bite Me boxer shorts, maple candy, handmade bracelets, scarves and authentic Vermont beef jerky. The collection, and store, is managed by Steve and Deb Mayfield.
What are some of your favorite Shelburne-and-area artisans? Please check out our Facebook page and share your ideas there.

There are great things going on in Shelburne.  Check them out!  

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21 October, 2014 - by Sheila McGrory-Klyza, The Vermont Epicure

The Vermont Hard Cider Tasting Project

Looking for something to do when the weekend rolls around?  There are many wonderful food and agriculture related activities and events. Why not try some hard cider tasting?  Read this great post from The Vermont Epicure.  Do your own tasting and see how your experience compares.  Cheers!

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1 October, 2014 - by Helen Labun Jordan

It's Apple Season!

Have you gone apple picking yet?  Enjoy the beautiful orchards and the beautiful fall foliage. Enjoy the orchards.  Happy Autumn!!

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24 September, 2014 - by DigInVT Staff

A Delicious Collection

 

Have you noticed how many wonderful places there are to visit to experience Vermont’s food, drink, and farms?  There are many exciting road trips you can plan around visiting these places.  (Check out the trails or make your own.)  Have you ever wished that you could find some of these places all under one roof?  The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport, VT is just such a place.  Check out the blog post from the Vermont Fresh Network’s Fresh Feed to get more information.  Another such place that is gathering the best Vermont food and drink together is the Vermont Artisan Village.  Slated to open in early 2015, the Village is currently looking for craftsmen, artisans and food producers to join the collaborative and creative community at the Vermont Artisan Village.  Read their post below to get more information and become part of the Village!
From the Vermont Fresh Network’s Fresh Feed:
On the Road - Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center
March 5, 2014
The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport, VT opened its doors in August of 2013 enticing both visitors and locals to come taste what the Kingdom has to offer. The Center is a local food emporium featuring a bakery, butcher counter, café, maple shop, and a top-shelf tasting bar with a tempting array of Kingdom spirits and cheeses from local farms. I was lucky to visit the center last week, and explore its culinary treasures with the Center co-founders and Eden Ice Cider owners, Eleanor and Albert Ledger.
Eleanor and Albert moved their cider making, aging, bottling and distribution operations from their farm in Orleans to the basement of the Tasting Center. Guests can see the process of making the ice cider which makes the experience especially unique. Eden Ice Cider manages to capture that off-the-branch taste of a ripe apple in golden liquid form. We settled in at the tasting bar, where Eleanor poured us samples of her Orleans Bitter and Herbal, Ice Cider, and other local spirits from Caledonia Spirits, Dunc's Mill and Artesano Mead. You can try a number of different wines and spirits, pair them with cheese, or have a Seasonal Tasting Plate featuring four “bites and sips” for just $9!
We headed for lunch across the room at the Brown Dog Bistro where local specials include items like a gorgeous beet salad, Vermont Bean Crafters Burgers, and Brisket sandwiches using Spring Hill Farm’s Beef that's processed in the onsite butcher shop. Owner Stephen Breault chatted nearby with farmer partner Ben Nottermann of Snug Valley Farm as we ate our tasty sandwiches. The beer list at Brown Dog is full of local brewers like Kingdom Brewing—who grow most all their own brewing ingredients on their Newport farm. We topped off lunch with salted caramel and mocha cupcakes from Jocelyn and Cinta’s Bakery, who have also found a happy home at the Tasting Center. 
Sitting on the border of Canada, the shores of Lake Memphremegog and just 20 minutes from the awesome slopes of Jay Peak, hungry visitors surround Newport--and there is no better food than that produced by the farmers and producers of the Northeast Kingdom. “Bringing these businesses together in an attractive downtown location will create a destination for residents and visitors to learn more about locally-produced foods and beverages,” Eleanor said. “They will buy and eat more healthy local food, and area farmers and producers will benefit from a larger local market for their products.” 
We urge you to go explore the Northeast Kingdom, and there's no better place to start than the Tasting Center! They can also now accommodate groups of 20-50 for tours of the center and cidery, followed by a tastings or meal in the barrel room of the Cidery. (Reservations required at least 2 weeks in advance, contact is Tracey@nektastingcenter.com)
From Vermont Artisan Village: 
vermont artisan village is a working community of artisans and food producers that promises to be one of the top food and tourist destinations in Vermont. Located on the busy Middlebury-to-Burlington Route 7 corridor in Shelburne near some of the most visited attractions in the state, Vermont Artisan Village brings together the best in sustainable local food production and artisan craftsmanship in a combined production and retail facility.
Calling all craftsmen, artisans and food producers to join the collaborative and creative community at the Vermont Artisan Village! Do you make artisanal hard cider? Or, maybe coffee roasting is your specialty? Maybe you are a traditional weaver? We're looking for any and all types of food and craft artisans to join us at the Vermont Artisan Village. We are scheduled to open in early 2015 and are currently accepting applications for tenants. 
Come join our unique and collaborative community of artisans and producers in this beautiful new production and retail facility. Our spaces are 100% customizable to your needs. Learn about the Vermont Artisan Village, view site plans, rates and more on our website: http://vermontartisanvillage.com/.

Have you noticed how many wonderful places there are to visit to experience Vermont’s food, drink, and farms?  There are many exciting road trips you can plan around visiting these places.  (Check out the trails or make your own!)  Have you ever wished that you could find some of these places all under one roof?  The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport, VT is just such a place.  Check out the blog post from the Vermont Fresh Network’s Fresh Feed to get more information.  Another such place that is gathering the best Vermont food and drink together is the Vermont Artisan Village.  Slated to open in early 2015, the Village is currently looking for craftsmen, artisans and food producers to join the collaborative and creative community at the Vermont Artisan Village.  Read their post below to get more information and become part of the Village!

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18 September, 2014 - by Nicole Roach, Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

A Summer Tasting of Vermont’s Outstanding Artisan Cheese

Category: Place Profiles

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A cow named Dizzy munches on buttercups, a goat named Isabelle ruminates under the shade of an old oak tree; in Vermont, the rolling green pastures are shadowed only by the cheeses that its distinct flora promotes.
With all the marvelous European cheeses we carry, tasting through terroirs of France, Italy, Switzerland or Portugal can sometimes make it hard to remember that, here in New England, a slice of the Old World exists right on our doorstep. While Europeans are upholding some of the most important cheese traditions, Vermont’s cheese makers and affineurs (cheese agers) are bursting with creativity, blending European and American traditions with some truly extraordinary results.
Earlier this summer I awoke in a strange bed; the rattling in my head reminding me that I might have had one too many pints of beer the night before. I was at Consider Bardwell Farm, the first of several stops on a trip visiting the people and animals behind some of our favorite Vermont cheeses. My coworkers and I had been welcomed at the farm the previous evening with a feast spread by our gracious hosts and farmer friends. Now I scrambled to get dressed and greet the sun, which was just breaking through the clouds over the pasture.
The dairy was already bustling with activity before I crossed the fields to the milking room. The goats nudged each other trying to be first in line. The heifers ran to the stalls where suction would relieve their mammaries. Everyone was awake and brimming with energy. The farmers washed the equipment and prepared the udders for milking. The goats smiled, and seemed to laugh as they noshed on coveted treats, and gave their milk.
The milk traveled through sterile tubing into large vats in the dairy. The rennet was added and the process began. Each cheese has its own recipe, its own distinct needs to present itself best to our palates. While in the dairy, time, pH, and tactile impression shape the cheese before its curds are cut. Although most of the flavor in our favorite cheeses materializes in the caves, the structure of the final product depends upon the precision of the cheese maker.
After a tour of Consider Bardwell’s controlled aging rooms, we drove to nearby Twig Farm to meet Michael Lee and his goats. The area was more wooded, and the land appeared to be mainly untouched. Michael greeted us at the end of the driveway and promptly gave a tour of the grounds. He introduced us to many of the 64 goats he cared for. Michael had names for each, distinguished by the goat’s markings and the color of its collar.
As we toured his land, and moved the fences to expand the pasturing area, Michael astounded us with his knowledge of the flora and the goats’ affinity for particular plants. He explained the nuances that particulars in diet bring to the flavor and structure of his famed tommes. In his cave he enjoyed watching the milk evolve. He embraced the micro cultures, molds, and yeasts that spawn delicious cheese. Twig Farm is small, Michael does the farming, cheese making and cave management himself with only an occasional helper. His devotion to the craft is recognized in each of his products.
From Twig Farm we traveled to Blue Ledge Farm, renowned for their Lake’s Edge and fresh chèvre. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived, and we had already missed the cheese maker. A young dog ran up to greet us near the barn. Hannah was right behind him. She took us down into their cave. There curds for chèvre drained in baskets along steel tables dripping with whey. In the next room, Lake’s edge rested covered in ash.
Next on my itinerary was Jasper Hill Farm, and the Cellars at Jasper Hill. In the pastures, on the way to the Cellars, we met Dizzy. She was munching on grass and wildflowers in a field just down the road from the barn. Jasper Hill’s cows spend much of the day ruminating in the gorgeous pastures on along the hills.
We passed the barn and dairy and continued up the road to the caves. This massive underground facility was unimposing, just a door into the hillside. Matteo opened the door and welcomed us into the cellars. Vince, our guide, and former Formaggio Kitchen monger, acquainted us with the many arms of the facility. One was devoted to raw milk bloomy rind cheeses, one to alpine style washed rinds, the largest arm was reserved for Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. The affineurs care for cheeses from a variety of neighboring dairies. Regular turning, washing, and tasting wheel after wheel is required by the cave managers to provide the best product possible.
After a fascinating visit at the Cellars at Jasper Hill we made our way to Cobb Hill. Cobb Hill is co-housing community who’s residents manage a vegetable farm and dairy, and create delightful cheese as well as frozen yogurt. We were given snacks of Ascutney Mountain, Cobb Hill’s signature alpine cheese and maple frozen yogurt; it was perfect on a hot summer afternoon.
I had one final stop. I was running out of time but needed still to visit Spring Brook Farm: Farms for City Kids. Here they are dedicated to educating children and impressing upon them the need for sustainability. With 100% Jersey cow’s milk the farmers create award winning cheeses like the Spring Brook Tarentaise. I was introduced to the copper kettle envied by many, and after visiting their cheese caves I took some time to wander the beautiful landscape, and pat a calf or two.
It was an incredible journey through the Vermont countryside; reflective of life ruled by the sun, the seasons, and a sincere commitment of neighbors to the highest standards of quality, community, and sustainability.
Nicole Roach is a keen kitchen experimenter and a member of the produce, register, and operations teams at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.

Summer may be ending but it's always the right season for a trip exploring Vermont's delicious cheese. Read this cheese adventure here and then make your own!

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4 September, 2014 - by DigInVT Staff

Exploring Burlington: Home of the Art Hop

 

Burlington is a strolling city. Visit it in early September, when the air is still warm and the sun has taken an autumnal slant, and you feel like you could walk around, casually exploring forever. The city is set up to invite you to do just that. There is the Waterfront Park along Lake Champlain, City Hall Park where the Burlington Farmers' Market convenes every Saturday (it goes indoors after October 25th), and the famous Church Street Marketplace pedestrian mall with plenty of shops and restaurants. 
A newly popular area for exploring is Pine Street, in Burlington's South End. 
Pine Street is home to well-established businesses, such as Conant Metal & Light and Dealer.com, many of which involve food, including Lake Champlain Chocolates, Speeder & Earl's Coffee, New World Tortilla, Great Harvest Bread Company, and Myers Bagels (Montreal style bagels sold from a shop that opens at 4:00 am. . . nothing tastes better than a bagel - or three - straight from the wood oven at 4:00 am). The kitchen collective at ArtsRiot provides a rotating menu with a different chef each night and organizes a food truck stop on Friday nights. New eateries on the street include So-Yo Frozen Yogurt, a tangy frozen yogurt using Vermont dairy, and the South End Kitchen at Lake Champlain Chocolates, which combines a cafe and cooking class space (check the DigInVT calendar of events for upcoming classes). 
Pine Street is perhaps best known as the home to many individual artists' studios from traditional painting to rust-belt inspired clay sculpture to Strange Dolls (a studio that makes. . . strange dolls). Near the end of Pine Street are the studios of the Emergent Media Center, run by Champlain College, which creates interactive, multimedia experiences. Earlier this year, the Burlington Writers' Workshop brought their headquarters and writing space to Pine Street's Studio 266. 
The South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA) refers to this neighborhood as the place where art meets commerce. 
If you're looking for a chance to explore the arts, commerce, and food of Pine Street, then the first week in September is the time to do it. The annual Art Hop, organized by SEABA, runs from September 5th - 7th. Studios and businesses all along the street open their doors with exhibits by local artists. There are kids' events, live music, a comedy show, an artists' market, juried shows, outdoor sculptures and the STRUT! Fashion Show. 
The Art Hop is a perfect introduction to this region of Burlington. This event will give any visitor a feel for the energy of this creative corridor, which carries over into the rest of the year. After you've seen the work on display, and the number of people who come out to view it and participate in their community's annual festivities, you'll always imagine the hum of activity going on behind the walls of the Pine Street buildings. 
To get information on ticket sales, a full list of venues, and schedule of events for the 2014 Art Hop, visit the SEABA website at: http://seaba.com/ 
Looking for a place for lunch or dinner during the Art Hop? Check out the food vendors at the Burlington Farmers' Market on Saturday, the eateries on Pine Street, and, of course, all the great downtown Burlington restaurants - including some delicious brunch venues like Mirabelle's Cafe, Penny Cluse Cafe, and Magnolia Bistro. You can find more information on the DigInVT.com Places page.

The South End Art Hop is coming this weekend Friday, September 5 - Sunday, September 7.  While you are taking in the art don't forget to take in some food too.  Check out this great article to get a taste for what Burlington and the Art Hop have in store for you!

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28 August, 2014 - by Sheila McGrory-Klyza, The Vermont Epicure

Island Time

 

When most people think of Vermont, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Green Mountains, thanks to their popular ski slopes and hiking trails. But an equally notable natural resource, and a highlight of the state for me, is Lake Champlain. Friends from out of state are often surprised to hear that it’s the sixth largest freshwater lake in the country, after the five Great Lakes. Spanning 120 miles along Vermont’s western side, it’s flanked by New York’s Adirondack Mountains and also offers spectacular views of the Greens.
We live about 20 minutes due east of Lake Champlain, so in the summer it’s a big draw for swimming, kayaking, and sunset viewing. Learning to sail on the lake is at the top of my bucket list. It’s home to 70 islands, the largest of which are ideal for biking, so last weekend Chris and I decided to explore the southern part of Grand Isle, an area known as South Hero. To get there, we biked across the Island Line Trail, a narrow causeway that crosses the lake, joining a suburb of Burlington with South Hero. The ride across is a spectacular four-mile trek over the water, with sweeping views in all directions.
The Island Line Trail used to be a railroad line with a swing bridge that allowed boats to pass through. Since the swing bridge is no longer there, a 20-passenger bike ferry now transports cyclists and pedestrians across the 200-foot gap. 
The ferry’s affable captain told me that he makes the crossing around 50 times on a typical day. Chris and I hopped aboard with a handful of other people--locals, Québécois, and out-of-staters--and were on the other side in less than 10 minutes.
Grand Isle County lays claim to the state’s longest growing season, which makes for a thriving agricultural region and good food and drink to be had. We pedaled along dirt and two-lane roads, past orchards, 
cows, 
and small-scale farms,
never far from a glimpse of the lake. For lunch, we stopped at the Accidental Farmer Cafe, a modest roadside stand tucked in between an orchard and a farm.
The Accidental Farmer himself, Mike, hand rolled some local, grass-fed burgers for us as he talked about life on the island.
Although he’s not an actual farmer, he says he “cultivates the farmers” by using as much of their produce, meat, cheese, and other products as he can in the tasty fare he serves up. We couldn’t resist ordering one of his juicy cheeseburgers, but his other more creative, global offerings—such as nachos served not on chips but on local fingerling potatoes—were very tempting.
After lunch, we walked next door to Allenholm Farm for a classic Vermont dessert—a maple creemee.
Back on our bikes, we looped around to the western side of the island to take West Shore Road hugging the coast. The wind picked up and it started to drizzle just as we were approaching Snow Farm Vineyard. Perfect timing!
The first commercial vineyard in the state, Snow Farm was established by its forward-thinking owners in an effort to retain agricultural land in the face of pressures to develop. The island’s more temperate climate allows Snow Farm to grow French hybrids, along with Pinot Noir and Riesling, under the direction of a winemaker who studied with the best at the University of Dijon in Bourgogne, France. (I also studied there while in college—not winemaking, although I did my share of extracurricular sampling.)
Chris and I shared a tasting, which they nicely let us split since we would be getting back on our bikes.  I was impressed by the smoky Baco Noir and also the Gewürztraminer, whose minerality is balanced by lush peach.
Back outside the drizzle had stopped, but we still had to ride against the wind back to the ferry. We pedaled hard up a couple hills, and then we rounded a bend and came upon a field edged by trees. On practically every tree, someone had placed a colorful birdhouse. Hundreds of them.
In this technological consumer age when we’re constantly bombarded by corporate efforts to “surprise and delight” us, this simple display made us literally stop in our tracks, genuinely surprised and delighted. And it was just one of several instances that afternoon, during the course of our twenty-mile bike ride, that had this effect on us.

Looking to explore a beautiful of region of Vermont?  Look no further than the Champlain Islands.  There are many things to do and many things to eat!!  Enjoy!

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19 August, 2014 - by Marino Pawlowsk, Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge

A Cheese Trip to Vermont: Consider Bardwell, Blue Ledge + Twig Farm

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Four years ago, when I first moved from New York to the Boston-area, I can only describe it as a collision of worlds. Although the change of pace is less noticeable for some, it took me extra time to adjust to the relatively gentle mobility of Beantown as compared to that of the Big Apple.
After finding work at Formaggio Kitchen, and as I established a comfort zone with my newly adopted environment, I was given the opportunity through the shop to visit a series of farms in western Vermont. I had never traveled that far north in the United States before, so I jumped at the opportunity.
The trip offered a wonderful introduction to a region extremely diverse in sights, flavors and experiences. Growing up, my grandparents would seek solace from the city life in the mountains of central New York but, as a child, I never appreciated the clarity that environment could impart.
My fellow staffers and I visited three farms on our trip: Consider Bardwell, Twig Farm, and Blue Ledge. During our visit, Twig Farm’s owner and veteran Formaggio Kitchen cheesemonger, Michael Lee, gave a simple, yet nuanced perception of his art. He posited that cheese bears a striking similarity to bones; dependent as they are upon the bonding of calcium and on moisture levels during cooking, curds can be molded into a soft and pliable cheese, or a firmer, more crumble-prone cheese. Michael’s analogy became a sort of leitmotif to reflect upon as we visited other farms in this unspoiled terrain. Each cheesemaker gives life to a different bone in their “body” of a repertoire, and each farm was its own sort of self-sustaining organism or ecosystem.
The final, striking aspect of our trip was the use of the honor system, and the collective bartering between farms that eliminates any sense of competition. Cheesemaker Hannah Sessions of Blue Ledge Farm explained that this is a byproduct of the comparative youth of artisan American cheese production, married with the fact that there is still plenty of business for everyone involved.
The sense of place and charge that each of the farms we visited has with their land and livestock is extraordinary. I believe that it is safe to say that this region will continue to serve as a large, untainted sandbox for artisan cheesemakers to create their own corpus and a place where natural city-dwellers like myself can learn to appreciate a different kind of order for many years to come!
Photos by: Kim Beaty
Marino Pawlowski is a romance linguist, enchanting dinner guest, and a cheesemonger and buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge .

With so much great cheese in Vermont, it's difficult to know where to start.  Here are three cheesemakers to start with.  You can visit other cheesemakers and make your own cheese trail!

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24 July, 2014 - by Corey Burdick

For the Love of Cheese! (and chocolate)

Category: Events

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For the Love of Cheese! (and chocolate)
Vermont summers are fleeting and as people who live here year round know, it's the perfect time to get out on the lake, marvel in sunsets, and savor as much warmth as possible. One of the tell tale signs that the season is in full swing, is the annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. This year, the festival marked its 6th year! If you've never attended the festival, as I hadn't until Sunday July 20th, then I highly recommend it! The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And you really do need all six hours to completely experience the myriad cheese and artisan food vendors that dot the gorgeous Shelburne Farms landscape. 
The sun was bright and hot as people lined up at 9:45 a.m. to grab a commemorative bag and wine glass which would be used throughout the event to sample nineteen Vermont beer, wine, cider and spirits producers! A program in each bag highlighted not only the forty-nine cheesemakers, forty-one artisan food producers, and fifteen artisan products and services, but also provided a handy guide to workshops (counter intelligence, vertical tasting, sweet and stinky, and European vs. Vermont), seminars, and cooking demos (cooking with cheese and ales and cheese and chocolate) being offered throughout the event. Cheesemaking demos by Shelburne Farms staff and a demo by Chef Courtney Contos were also featured. 
I won't lie, the shear breadth of vendors was a little overwhelming, but in the best way possible! It seemed, at first blush that it would be quite the feat to sample each product, but I made a go of it! I even managed to make it into one of the packed workshops which were complimentary with admission. Sweet and Stinky was my workshop of choice given my affinity for strong cheeses. A panel featuring Eleanor Leger of Eden Ice Cider, Colin Davis of Shacksbury Cider, and Gail Albert from Shelburne Vineyards graced the stage. They discussed their sweet beverages' compelling ability to pair well with cheeses from Vermont Farmstead, Jasper Hill and Twig Farm. The side by side tasting left my taste buds tingling and begging for more, which fortunately, meant stepping just outside the classroom where my cheese, chocolate, and caramel tasting continued. 
My strategy involved skipping some of the tables with my favorite, often purchased cheeses, like Vermont Creamery and Taylor Farm and hitting some I hadn't tried before. Standouts included Parish Hill Creamery blue which was simultaneously creamy, grainy, and pungent as well a Sage Farm goat cheese. Crowley Cheese Company has been around for a long time, but somehow this was my first taste and the extra sharp as well as the chive coated my palette and lingered for a considerable time. 
After tasting a number of cheeses, it was time to hit the sweets! Big Picture Farm caramels have been a long time favorite and once again, they did not disappoint. Several dishes dotted their table with a variety of caramels to sample alongside rounds of their goat cheese. I also found a couple of new chocolates to add to my roster, such as Burke Mountain truffles. This company takes the Vermont philosophy of collaboration and incorporates it beautifully into their truffles. A white chocolate truffle used Eden Ice Cider as a flavor component and another was oozing with Fat Toad Farm caramel. But, the real standout for me in the chocolate department ended up being Laughing Moon chocolates. Wow! From their peanut butter fudge to their salted caramels. Their truffles had unique flavor combinations including cardamom and blue cheese. Even their salt and pepper chocolate bar was out of this world delicious. These satiating confections topped off my sweets consumption for the day! 
It was suddenly 3 p,m. and time to visit some of the animals that make all of these delicious cheeses possible. I met baby goats, Cider and Streudel and bottle fed a month and a half old calf named Charlotte. This is one of the many reasons the cheesemakers festival is so wonderful. One has the opportunity to meet the animals that produce the milk, interact with the cheese makers, and determine ideal spirit pairings all on the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain. It truly doesn't get much better than that!
 

Vermont summers are fleeting and as people who live here year round know, it's the perfect time to get out on the lake, marvel in sunsets, and savor as much warmth as possible. One of the telltale signs that the season is in full swing, is the annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. This year, the festival marked its 6th year! If you've never attended the festival, as I hadn't until Sunday July 20th, then I highly recommend it! The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And you really do need all six hours to completely experience the myriad cheese and artisan food vendors that dot the gorgeous Shelburne Farms landscape. 

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