Blog Archive for June 2014

25 June, 2014 - by Mari Omland, Green Mountain Girls Farm

Slice of Life Workshops Dish Up Farm-Fresh Learning

Category: Events

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Want to connect with food, people, and the land?  Look no further than this wonderful series of classes and workshops organized by the Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative.  If you didn't make it to their Market Day last weekend, there are many great learning events to take part in throughout the summer and into the fall.  Check out these other great events, classes & workshops happening all over the state!  

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20 June, 2014 - by Healthy Living Market & Cafe

Floral Chèvre: An Easy, Beautiful, and Sophisticated Appetizer!

Category: Recipes

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Love chèvre and looking for a new way to serve it?  We have an idea for you: think edible flowers!
Last month at the Demo Counter, we sampled out a local chèvre rolled in edible flowers and herbs and topped with local honey.  Sounds easy, right?  It is!  It’s extremely easy to create and makes a beautiful presentation; it’s so lovely, in fact, that it looks like more work than it actually is (making it perfect for parties, showers, celebrations, and gatherings of any kind!)  We didn’t print up a recipe for the demonstration so for those looking for step-by-step instructions, we’re providing them now!
First, prepare your flowers and herbs.  Coarsely chop about 2 Tbsp of dried rosemary, remove the petals from about 2 Tbsp of dried calendula flowers, coarsely chop about 2 Tbsp of dried rose petals, and crush about 1 Tbsp pink peppercorns using a mortar & pestle or even just a rolling pin (note: all of these ingredients are available in our extensive Bulk Department!).  Mix all these together on a flat surface such as a cutting board.  Next, take a 10-oz chèvre log (we used one from Vermont Creamery) and roll it in the floral mix, pressing gently to make sure the flowers stick.  You may need to do this a couple times to coat the chèvre completely.  Then, to serve, spread a little bit of the floral chèvre on crackers, topping each with a touch of honey.  Tada!
And here’s a friendly warning for you: putting it together is fun!  It reminded us of being children, for some reason.  Perhaps because it felt like playing; picking petals off flowers, crunching pepper, mixing everything all together, and watching distinct piles of pink, green, and yellow become a beautiful mess, rolling the chèvre log in the floral mix… even dolloping the honey onto each cracker felt a little playful.  But trust us, this isn’t a child’s treat.  It’s very sophisticated and makes an elegant presentation, and the flavors take time to develop in your mouth.  It’s a delicate and surprising snack that requires you to take your time and really taste what you’re eating, much like a high-quality chocolate or artisanal cheese.
Feel free to follow these instructions specifically or use them as inspiration: there are lots of edible flowers available, some fresh, some dried, some possibly even growing in your garden, and all with their own unique and under-utilized flavors, so do some research and go wild!

This piece was originally posted on Healthy Living Market & Cafe's blog.  If you are entertaining and want to make a beautiful (and delicious) centerpiece, look no further than this great suggestion from Healthy Living.  Check out other VT cheeses that might enjoy playing with some flowers!  If you love good cheese, don't miss the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival coming up in July.

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13 June, 2014 - by Alyson Barrie and Jonathan Connor, University of Vermont

Meet Kate Turcotte, Head Cheesemaker at Shelburne Farms

 

The Big Cheese
In 2007, while attending UVM, Kate Turcotte began working as a milk hauler at Shelburne Farms, a nonprofit educational farm located near the shores of Lake Champlain in Shelburne, VT. She continued on with an internship during which she learned the cheese making process. After a year at Consider Bardwell farm in West Pawlet, VT, she returned to Shelburne Farms as head cheesemaker. In a state with more cheesemakers per capita than any other, Shelburne Farms stands out as a leader because they are an educational facility. Every day people visit from all over the world to watch them make cheese and to learn about farming and food production.
How It Began
A herd of Brown Swiss cows joined the farm in the 1950s and the farmers at Shelburne Farms began to bottle and sell raw milk. Years later, the dairy realized the potential in making a value-added product out of their raw milk. This is when the production of artisan, Vermont Farmhouse Cheddar began at the farm and, as Kate puts it, “Back in the 80s, artisan cheese was this really wild thing.” As wild as the idea may have been at the time, Shelburne Farms now produces over 185,000 pounds of cheese a year.
Farmhouse Cheddar
So what is so unique about Shelburne Farms cheddar? The entire production process takes place on the farm. “If you tried to make this cheese anywhere else, you couldn’t because it’s made from this soil, with this grass, and these cows,” said Kate, “so I think that makes our product really unique.” Milking is done twice a day, morning and night, on the farm. That raw milk is then hauled directly from the dairy to the cheese making facility where it is made into cheese by hand in relatively small batches. Forty-pound blocks of cheddar are sealed, boxed, and placed in coolers at the farm to age from 6 months to 3 years. A small portion of the cheddar is cloth bound and brought to age in cellars at Jasper Hill. However, cave aging is very labor intensive, so the cheesemakers prefer to spend most of their time on making good cheese in the vat. In fact, their Farmhouse Cheddar is not just good cheese; it is excellent cheese that has been winning awards from the American Cheese Society for over two decades.
The Culture of Vermont Cheese
According to Kate, the success of Vermont’s cheese making can be attributed to the collaboration among cheesemakers. “The reason why Vermont cheese is so successful is because there’s so much collaboration going on,” says Kate. “Cheesemakers have such a great open-door policy. It’s like, if you’re a cheesemaker, then come in, see what I do, see my operations.”
Cheesemakers in Vermont are also no strangers to innovation. They are constantly trying to come up with new ways to make consistent, high-quality cheese, while still having it be hand made with raw milk. “It’s an old world tradition with new world technologies,” says Kate, “us evolving happens every single day.”
Shelburne Farms cheese will be featured at the Taste of Vermont Reception at the end of the UVM Food Systems Summit on Wednesday, June 18.
Alyson Barrie and Jonathan Connor wrote this piece for an internship during the spring 2014 semester at UVM.
Photo credits: Kate, Cows, and Cheesemaking by Vera Chang. Clothbound Cheddar by Blake Gardener. All photos courtesy Shelburne Farms and used with permission.

This piece was originally posted on the University of Vermont's Food Feed blog.  With the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival coming up, it was great to get an inside look at the people behind the cheese at Shelburne Farms.  Vermont is a delicious place to call home...not least because of great cheesemakers like Kate!

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11 June, 2014 - by Sheila McGrory-Klyza, The Vermont Epicure

Route 100 (Partial) Food Tour

This piece was originally posted on The Vermont Epicure blog at the end of May.  The Vermont Epicure is a site devoted to stories about food, place, and family.  As you find yourself traveling on the roads of Vermont, make sure to check out the great food, drink, and agricultural experiences along the way. This is a great snapshot of some delicious adventures awaiting you.  Check out the culinary and agriculture opportunities in your region!  

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Category: Place Profiles

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Dawn Boucher makes beautiful blue cheeses in Highgate, Vermont on a dairy farm that has been in her husband Daniel's family for generations. Her Boucher Blue and Gore-Dawn-Zola have become chef favorites, and inspire dishes at many area restaurants. We asked Dawn about why it's important to have her cheese on the menu.
What was your first experience like selling cheese to a chef/restaurant?
In the beginning (15 years ago) we did all our own deliveries - and would order the cheese plate at Smokejacks Restaurant afterward (dining outside) enjoying a local brew, just to see how our blues held up against all the other delicious cheeses on the menu.  So strange to pay for what we ate nearly every day.., but it gave us the confirmation that they really knew how to store and serve cheese.
How has working with chefs influenced your business or your cheese?
We have always been committed to bringing unique tastes to chefs.  Making commodity cheese is not where we wanted to go with our business.  We make 3 different blue cheeses, including aged versions (up to a year) just to fill that niche.
Has a chef ever taught you something new about your cheese?
I would have never thought of pairing our blue cheese with sweets, but I’ve seen it over and over on menus through the years.
What is the coolest, tastiest, or most interesting way you've seen your product used on a menu? Where was it?
I first had my own blue cheese at Shelburne Farms Inn during a memorable birthday dinner with friends--it was paired with honey and bread. Brilliant!

This article was originally posted on the Vermont Fresh Network's Fresh Feed.  Meet a cheesemaker who makes blue cheese in the green mountains!  Boucher Family Farm will be at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival in July.  Stop by and say hi!  Check out these other talented cheesemakers who call Vermont home.

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