Vermont Farmstead Cheese: Fresh, Gourmet, and Super Local

They know their cows by name.

“Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company (VFCC) gently cares for our land and the lives of our animals to make fresh, quality, and artisan cheese available to all.”

Location: South Woodstock, VT

Distance from the Market: 3 miles

Vermont’s first community-owned artisan cheese and dairy facility is located just a few miles down the road in South Woodstock. If you drive by, you may see a few members of their herd grazing on a grassy hillside. An interesting tidbit: Each cow’s name begins with the letter of their cow family.

Local residents came together in 2009 to preserve the beautiful 18-acre dairy farm and the surrounding landscape. A decade later, Farmstead Cheese Company makes over 20 different varieties of gourmet cheeses made from farm-fresh milk. Most of their cheeses are raw, but they sell a handful of pasteurized cheeses, as well.

Their herd includes a mix of purebred Holsteins, Jerseys, Aryshires, and Brown Swiss that feast on green grass (in summer) and hay (in winter). Each cow averages about 60 pounds of milk a day. And talk about fresh! The amount of time between milking and cheese-making is approximately 12 to 48 hours.

For more info: https://vermontfarmstead.com.


Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Every week this summer we’ll spotlight local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local suppliers.

 

Summer Pasta Salad with Garden Tomatoes

Heading to a backyard barbecue? Hosting friends for dinner on the patio? This Summer Pasta Salad takes advantage of the flavorful tomatoes and basil coming out of the garden. And most importantly, no oven required!

Ingredients

8 oz prepared Basil pesto

¼ cup mayonnaise

8 oz pitted black olives

12 oz fresh or smoked mozzarella, cubed

2 large ripe tomatoes, diced

8 oz shredded parmesan cheese

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 bag pasta, cooked (any short shape)

What to Do

Combine pesto and mayo to make a creamy dressing. Toss all ingredients together and combine well; chill. Before serving, bring to room temperature. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. (Note: If serving outdoors, on a hot day, omit mayonnaise, increase pesto to 12 oz, and thin with olive oil if necessary).

Serves 10 as a side dish.

Enjoy!

Fresh Roots Farm: Small and Mighty

Caring for the land.

Location: Sharon, Vermont

Distance from the Market: 15 miles

If you’ve been veggie shopping at the Market lately, chances are you’ve brought home produce from this small farm, located in Sharon, Vermont — about a 20-minute drive from the store. They’ve been keeping us stocked with gorgeous kale, lettuces, herbs, and most recently: snap peas, beans, squashes, and carrots!

Fresh Roots is a 10-acre farm that produces a diverse mix of ecologically grown vegetables, with a focus on salad greens and tomatoes. Owner Colemann Colburn has been farming his field for eight years. He uses vigorous crop rotation and cover crop methods to eliminate the use of synthetic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. His mission is to leave the soil in better condition than when he found it — and to grow beautiful vegetables!

Right now we’ve got a wide selection of Fresh Roots produce available.  To learn more, check out our weekly Local Food Report


Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Every week this summer we’ll spotlight local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local suppliers.

 

Eden Specialty Cider: From Way Up North

Cider that tastes like apples.

“Our greatest pleasure as cidermakers is working with the extraordinary apples we have in our region and the people who grow them.” ~ Eleanor and Albert Léger

Location: Newport, Vermont

Distance from the Market: 118 miles

Eden Specialty Ciders are made way up in the Northeast Kingdom, in Newport, Vermont. This family-owned cidery uses apples from their own Eden Orchards and a handful of other local farms.

Eden Orchards grows 35 different varieties of apples, including traditional New England Heirloom varieties, local seedling varieties, and Old-World varieties that originated in France and England. They use the natural winter cold in northern Vermont to concentrate the flavors and sugars of the apples before fermentation, instead of employing aggressive manipulation and industrial beer and wine processing techniques. And they never use sugar, colorings, acids, or industrial flavorings in their products.

Why We Love Them: First of all, we love working with nice people, and the folks at Eden are lovely. On top of that, their ciders are simply delicious. They taste like apples, which may sound weird, but some ciders don’t. Their ciders are fresh tasting, well-balanced, and easy to drink.

Eden’s cider maker, Garrett, checks out the harvest.

Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Every week this summer we’ll spotlight local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local suppliers.

Recipe: Warm Potato Salad with Smoked Trout

Tired of the same ol’, same ol’ when it comes to summer’s most popular side dish? You only live once. Try this variation.

 

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Ingredients

1 lb. smoked trout (look for Ducktrap Smoked Trout in the self-serve meat case or Cole’s Smoked Trout near the seafood counter)

2 lbs. baby white potatoes

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 small cloves garlic – peeled, mashed to a paste and sprinkled with coarse salt.

2 tablespoons chopped shallots]

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste.

What To Do

Cut smoked trout into ½ thick pieces. Set aside.

In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until tender.

Drain and set aside. When still quite warm but cool enough to handle,

cut potatoes into ½-inch rounds. In a bowl, combine the warm potatoes, smoked trout, olive oil, garlic, shallots, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss gently to combine. Serve while still warm.

Enjoy!

Easy Peach and Blueberry Shortcakes

Simple fruit desserts. One of the things to love about summer.

Take advantage of the local blueberries and fresh peaches that just came in the door. (And thanks to our pre-made Farmers’ Bakehouse shortcakes, you won’t even have to turn the oven on!)

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh sliced peaches (we have a ton right now!)
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (local berries are here)
  •  Pre-made Farmers’ Bakehouse shortcakes (located in the front of the store, near the strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond liqueur (optional)
  • Garnishes: confectioners’ sugar, coarsely chopped toasted pecans, fresh mint sprigs

Preparation

  1. Stir together peaches, blueberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and ground nutmeg; cover and chill.
  2. Beat 1 cup whipping cream and 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir in 3 tablespoons almond liqueur, if desired.
  3. Split shortcakes in half. Spoon fruit mixture on bottom halves of shortcakes; top with remaining halves and a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish, if desired.

Enjoy!

 

Local Food Is Love: What To Look Forward To

Edgewater Farm in Plainfield, NH

Here at the Market, we celebrate local food all year long. But in July and August, we really put on our party hats! Our local farmers and producers are in and out of the store, bringing in fresh produce and new exciting products every day.

Local Food Is Love kicks off next week—our annual celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Around here, our farmers and producers are celebrities. We look forward to sharing their stories and products with you.

Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Weekly farmer/producer spotlights: Every week we’ll share the stories of our local farmers and producers who fill our baskets and bellies with wholesome, delicious foods. We’ll post one or two spotlights every week on our blog and share them with you here.
  • Demos and specials: Check out our monthly flyer (available at the registers) Calendar of Events for tastings and promotions on local products.
  • Recipes featuring seasonal ingredients: We’ve compiled some of our favorite “Eat Like a Local” Farmers’ recipes to help you celebrate summer’s culinary delights. Recipes will be posted every week on our blog (and shared in this e-blast), as well as on handy-dandy cards in the grocery section of the store.
  • Giveaways: We’ll host a couple of Love Food Is Love giveaways on Instagram. Not following us? Connect with us here.
  • “Local” and “Housemade”: Look for signs throughout the store spotlighting  our many local and housemade products.

Customer Spotlight: Meet Michael

In celebration of Customer Appreciation Day (coming up on May 27), we thought it would be fun to “shine the light” on a few long-time friends of Farmers’. This is part of a week-long series. 

Michael poses for a quick photo in the produce department.

Q: How long have you been a Farmers’ Market customer?

A: We discovered the Farmers’ Market during our first visit to the Woodstock area in the late 1990s, and it was certainly a factor in helping us decide to focus on this area when we began looking for a house or land in Vermont. We were living in Chicago at the time, and I clearly remember being surprised that I could buy better bread in small-town Vermont than I could at my local Whole Foods back in the city (shoutout to Red Hen!). Then, when we moved to Woodstock in 2002, I became a regular. I shop at least three to four days a week, cooking as inspired by what I see in the market. So browsing WFM is great in helping to put together a menu for our evening’s dinner.

Q: Why do you enjoy shopping here?

A: There are many reasons, but here are three of the main ones:

  1. Superior quality: From the moment I walked into WFM, I was taken with the overall high quality of the products in every department. And I really appreciate the focus on local and regional products. There are multiple reasons to support local producers — and certainly one of them is that these products are usually better tasting. (Plus, of course, they have a lower carbon footprint and buying from local producers boosts the economy here in our region.) But even when local products aren’t available, WFM maintains its focus on high quality.
  2. Selection: I have to keep reminding myself that WFM is a small market, since you do such a great job of maintaining not just the basics but a diverse selection of products that are inspiring to cooks and appealing to eaters.
  3. Awesome staff: I’ve shopped at WFM hundreds of times over the years and am always impressed by how friendly and helpful every single staff member is. I’ve tried to remember any unpleasant interactions I’ve had with a team member at the market but honestly couldn’t think of one.

Q: What three Farmers’ Market items would you bring with you to a deserted island?

A: Just three? That’s really hard to do. But I’ll try*:

  1. Mitchell’s Fresh Tortilla Chips: We don’t eat much “junk” food, but these are my weakness (and the go-to crunchy, salty snack in our house). Great plain and sturdy enough for dipping salsa or guacamole. They’re also terrific for chilaquiles and on the rare occasion when we have a bag go stale on us, I pulverize the chips and use them to thicken chili.
  2. Soom Tahini: Hands-down the best tahini you can buy and a necessity for Michael Solomonov’s hummus.
  3. Red Hen Mad River Grain bread: You’ll always find part of a sliced loaf in our freezer, ready for toasting for breakfast or for making a grilled cheese.

*Honorable mentions to the #20, Messinia Estate Kalamata olives, The Olive Table Early Harvest Organic olive oil, La Marocaine harissa, Kuner’s Refried Pinto Beans, Cabot cheddar, Kendall Brook Smoked Salmon, Misty Knoll poultry, and Choomi Coconut Macaroons.

Thank you, Michael, for taking part in this fun little project!

See everyone at Customer Appreciation Day on Monday, May 27 (all items in the store will be 20% off). 

Another post you might enjoy: Customer Spotlight: Gina and Mark

Customer Spotlight: Meet John

Without our longtime customers, quite honestly, the Farmers’ Market wouldn’t be around. We’re fortunate to be part of such a supportive, caring community. Whether you stop by every week, every day, or multiple times a day, your smiling face makes our work meaningful and worthwhile. Thank you.

Our customer spotlights are one way to celebrate our Farmers’ family and show our appreciation for the many ways YOU FEED US with your kindness and friendship.

Meet John

John is a regular at the Market. And if you know John, then you know what we love about him. His sense of humor. He stops in every morning for coffee and every noontime for lunch, usually a cup of soup. He says this is the one place where he enjoys being treated as a number (he and his wife Laurie have had a Farmers’ account here for a long time.)

Q: How long have you been a Farmers’ Market customer?

A: Since the Mesozoic Age. Or was it the Paleozoic. It’s been so long I can’t remember.

Q: Why do you enjoy shopping here?

A: 99.9% of the time the staff is in a good mood, even Patrick. 87.5% of the time I really like the soup. 100.00% of the time I love Sheik Yerbouti, Black Magic, Nutty Fisherman.

Q: Which three Farmers’ Market items would you bring with you to a deserted island?

A: Cheese – even blindfolded you’ll end up with a great choice. Pickled herring (I may be your one customer for this item). Cookies – any without mint. Not Patrick.

Trout River Brewing: Still Going Strong After All These Years

It’s officially barbecue season in the state of Vermont. During the warm, sunny days of early summer, we’re spending as much time as possible outdoors. At Farmers’ we’re celebrating with weekly beef and beer specials throughout the month of June.

If you’re a longtime fan of Vermont microbrews, you may be familiar with this brewery. But you might not recognize them with their new look! Trout River Brewing, located right down the road in Springfield, Vermont, has been around since 1996; they were one of the first 10 breweries in Vermont. The original owners, who put Trout River on the map as one of Vermont’s first craft beer companies, sold the business to three Springfield natives in 2016. The new owners have grown the original beer list, which included Rainbow Red Ale, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Hoppin’ Mad Trout Ale, and Knight Slayer Imperial Stout, to include a few different IPA styles, some German-style beers, a blonde, a porter, and more (including a delicious sounding Blueberry Saison.) Here’s their full lineup.

This afternoon (June 7) Trout River will be here with samples of some of their most popular brews. Stop by for a taste! For this weekend only, Trout River Brews are 10% off.

This week’s beef special (15% off) is Tri-Tip from Black River Meats–all-natural, locally raised beef from family-owned farms in Vermont, upstate New York, and New Hampshire. We’re getting more in tomorrow for your weekend barbecues. After you’ve picked up your beef and beer, all you need now are a few ears of sweet corn, a side salad, and maybe a watermelon, and you have a perfect summer meal.