(Jenn with food, Roberto with friends Nicki and Lisa!)
There is an awesome farm, called Applecheek, about a 10 minute drive from our place in Vermont. We discovered it when we were getting ourself familiar with the area that we will be moving to this spring. The first thing we did to accomplish this? Go to the farmers market, of course! Morrisville, Vermont has a year round Farmers Artisan Market located in the River Arts building downtown every Wednesday from 3pm-6pm. Yes, you heard right a YEAR ROUND farmers market in VERMONT! Some people think it is the Great White North, with tundra like conditions! HAH! Farmers Markets are about more than just veggies, even though there were some of those there too, this cool November day. This market is very cool, and likes to feature many local things. There is a guest chef each week, cooking up a full menu, that you can enjoy there, while listening to local live music, or they will pack it up for you to take home! The Market also often has product demonstrations where vendors show and teach about their products and crafts. It was at the market that we met the people from Applecheek farm.
Applecheek is at the center of the eating local movement in Morrisville and Hyde Park. They sell directly to the public, pasture raised meats, eggs, and raw milk. As well as seasonal vegetables and even grains from nearby farms. You can join their meat CSA, or just shop at their farm store. They also offer Llama treks, sleigh rides and host field trips for area schools.
(Clockwise from top: at the buffet line, berry crumble with ice cream, taking notes, Irish music band)
They also have regular “Localvore Dinners” at their beautiful knotty pine hall – another amenity there – you can rent it out for any event. Their localvore dinners are catered by Jason Clark (who we also met at the Farmers market) who with his wife Sarah, own JDC (Just Delicious Catering). When I spoke to Sarah on the phone to reserve some spots for their November dinner, she told me that they do these regularly so that people can get to know their neighbors, while dining on food that their neighbors are growing. It is a wonderful concept that really exemplifies our reasons for moving to this area of Vermont. A beautiful small town, with a real sense of community, where eating local is not just a catch phrase. Really the “fantasy” Vermont town that everyone thinks of when they hear “Vermont”. The whole time we were up there we kept running into the people at Applecheek (it is a small town after all). We even bought a turkey from them, for our Thanksgiving dinner in Florida . It was killed on Wednesday, stuck in the freezer until we picked it up on Friday, and eaten the following Thursday. That is what I call fresh!
Anyway, we brought our friends Nicki and Lisa (you might know her from her blog Lisabeeen Homeroasted Coffee, but she is a longtime friend of ours…) with us, who live a little ways to the south. When we got there, before the dinner started, we enjoyed live Irish music (even one of the band members of Gaelic Storm (the Titanic Movie band) was there) while sipping on hot cider and raw milk and eating cubes of Vermont cheddar. Then right before the dinner, the owner of the farm got up and talked about farm to table and how important it is for people to support their local farmers, and how the state of Vermont is trying to have 20% of its food provided from within the state by 2020. They also talked about how Applecheek wants to get back to delivering their raw milk to local homes. Then he introduced Chef Jason Clark who talked about the dishes that we would be eating that night, and which local farm or producer each item came from – down to the yogurt in the salad, the wheat in the bread, the oats in the dessert and the tofu, veggies and meat on the plate.
This was the menu:
*Apple and Carrot Salad with cranberries and yogurt
* Maple glazed carrots
* Squash and apple soup
*Sausage and pumpkin egg strata
* Tofu dish (don’t remember the specifics, I don’t eat soy products)
*Fresh bread with fresh butter
* Berry and apple crisp served with local organic ice cream
This was a foodie’s paradise. Everything was delicious and incredibly fresh, prepared simply to highlight all the natural flavors. But my favorites were the squash and apple soup, the scalloped beets and the dessert! I am not much of a crumble or crisp person and especially not berry or apple crisp, but this was amazing. Each flavor of each component came out – not like the big pile of purple mush that is usually called “ berry crisp”. It was so good, I almost went back for seconds. But the soup, I couldn’t resist. I had to enjoy that twice. It was such a foodie paradise that after dinner the band played a song which was an ode to colcannon – an Irish potato and cabbage dish.
The whole evening was wonderful. People were there with their whole families, from the youngest to the oldest, sharing bottles of wine, and home brews with each other. It really was right out of a movie! I am looking forward to enjoying many more of these Localvore Dinners with my neighbors in the future.
Localvore Pledge (as seen on Lamoille Valley Year-round Farmers Artisan Market website):
“If not locally produced, then organic. If not organic, then family farm. If not family farm, then local business. If not local business, then fair trade.”