Saturday, September 26, 2009

Local Food: The Vermont Edition

I just returned from a short visit to Vermont. While there, I got to sample a lot of great local food. In one day, we were able to attend to several cool local food events in Vermont.

Raw Milk Farm Tour – one day a year, a number of dairy farms open their farms to visitors, offering tastings of raw milk, cheese, and other dairy product. Raw milk (which is neither pasteurized nor homogenized) supposedly tastes better and contains beneficial bacteria. I am not much of a milk drinker, but I was interested in trying the raw milk. I could not really taste a difference between this milk and the milk I buy at the store, although significantly creamier than the 1% milk I drink. At the farm that was offering raw milk, we also tried several cheeses including a nice aged gouda.
local food - cheese from Vermont
Cheese Farm Tour – this tour is one weekend a year in northern New York and southern Vermont. It was designed to offer a view in to small-scale cheese making operations. This was a bit of a bust. The one farm we went to was extremely unprepared for the number of people that visited. There were not a lot of people there when we stopped by, but they were out of most cheese samples, and were low on cheese to buy. Still we had a beautiful drive in the country and got to see a see a small goat farm.

Dorset Farmer’s Market - our first stop of the day was at the farmer’s market in Dorset. I know, every town has a farmer’s market, but every market has a different mix of products and has its own personality. This one had a great small town vibe. Lots of people at the market knew each other, yet people were also very friendly to strangers as well. One vendor even brought their pet baby goat. This goat, who was blind, was obviously a regular at the market. A man selling apples was giving out samples of a sweet crab apple (I think it is called a Hawthorne crab apple). Wonderful flavor.

Local food from the Dorset Farmers Market, Vermont
At our three stops we bought:

  • Locally baked bread
  • Three kinds of cheese
  • Apples
  • Lots of local vegetables, including onions, peppers, heirloom zucchini, and French fingerling potatoes
Baby Goat at Farmers Marketet, Dorset, Vermont

That night, we had a great dinner using all of these local products. Although I love the fact that our purchases support local farmers, my main motivation in buying all the food was the fun of sampling the local food of the area we were visiting.

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