Archive for the ‘middlebury’ Category

Can we talk a little bit more about Vermont? Last weekend I found myself struggling with a few difficult decisions: Farmers Market, Organic Garden, or Apple Picking. You can see which one I chose…
Happy Valley Orchard
I’ve never eaten so many apples (and apple related things) in one day. It actually was a great learning experience! Apple tasting, you might say. I needed to know which were the best pie apples, eating apples, baking apples, etc..

Luckily, we had our local apple expert with us, Charlie Hofmann, pictured with the precious remaining ginger golds.
Happy Valley Orchard
For those who survive on Macintosh and Granny Smith apples, you’ve got something to learn. Ginger golds are possibly one of the best tasting apples ever. It’s texture is amazing – the skin isn’t too hard or too grainy and the flesh is juicy and sweet. Unfortunately for us, it was the tail end of Ginger Gold season. We picked the remaining gems from the trees and then searched amongst the fallen for still-good apples.

We snagged a few Golden Delicious as well.
Happy Valley Orchard
As James OB put it, (paraphrasing) Golden Delicious apples really know where it’s at. What other apple can live up to that name? The golden delicious were my favorite after the ginger golds. Also, I found out, they make good baking apples.

Most of our haul was made up of Empires.
Happy Valley Orchard

There was no shortage of Macs, certainly.
Happy Valley Orchard
However, our apple elitist attitude kept us from picking the most abundant apple. Actually, macs have a tendency to be mediocre. I spoke with the old ladies at the fruit stand though about pies (because old ladies at apple orchards make the best pie consultants) and was informed that the macs get nice and mushy inside pies, and that’s what “most people ’round here use”.

So we sent Sarah up into the tree to get the best ones she could find.
Happy Valley Orchard
The old ladies also said that if I wanted an apple that will hold its slices in pie, I should get some of the cortlands. I took their advice, but no picture. I prefer pie with apple slices in it. I really don’t like fruit pies with a lot of goo. This is why, when it came to making pies, I used primarily cortlands and no recipe with the word “cornstarch”. As a side note, I usually don’t like cherry pie because of this. Although I do love cherries.

Apple picking isn’t complete without at least 2 cider donuts each and sharing a quart of freshly pressed cider amongst the pumpkins.
Happy Valley Orchard

Pie apples: cortlands (for slices), macs (for mush)
Baking apples: cortlands, golden delicious
Snacking apples: ginger golds, empires, golden delicious


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Yesterday the Middlebury Farmers Market opened for the 2008 season! Tom and I went down to check it out.

Middlebury Farmer\'s Market

It was Tom’s first ever farmers market experience. There were a few notable themes to this farmers market. Being vermont, they were: Cheese and Maple Products. And then of course there was bread, all sorts of plants, salsa, pastry things, cookies, jams, preserves, and chutneys…

Tom at the Farmer\'s Market

Behind Tom there is the bread guy. By the time we got to him he only had one kind of bread left and one lonely crossaint. The crossaint looked GREAT but I’d just eaten breakfast and was busy sampling a LOT of cheese. We had hoped for a baguette on which to enjoy our chevre – a fresh goat cheese. We got the herbed kind.

Goat cheese from Middlebury Farmer\'s Market.

Above is the cheese display from Blue Ledge Farm. In the foreground are two aged goat cheeses – award winning. The colorful one is aged in an edible ash, which gives it this beautiful line through the center of the wheel. It was named Lakes Edge cheese because it reminded one of the farmer’s daughters of the edge of Lake Champlain. Also the closest one to the front of the picture is a brie-like cow cheese. In the background are the fresh goat cheeses. The farthest one is pepperjack, and the other one was herbed. I love sharp, tangy cheeses and the chevre was SO good. I ate like 3/4s of it yesterday with Caitlin while I was waiting for a cake to bake.

With Otter Creek in the background.

That’s me and my cheese, with Otter Creek Falls in the background. I wish I knew more about describing cheese, because I really do like it. I was supposed to take a Vermont Farmstead Cheese Tasting Workshop over J-term, but I got confused and missed it. I know that I can talk about the texture – this one was smooth…

Well, enough about cheese. We also invested in some homemade SALSA.

Profoun Salsa at the Middlebury Farmers Market

They had Mild, Medium, Hot, and Sweet n’ Sassy. Tom’s a baby and any spiciness makes him make funny faces. The Medium was about a 4 on a scale of 1-10. Just right, I thought. The mild, however, was full of flavor without any spiciness. The salsa’s really chunky and thick with fresh veggies, and as it says on the jar, it does NOT fall off of your chip. I plan on going back next weekend and getting a jar of mild to take home with me. Between 4 of us we ate over half of a jar of medium last might. Oops.

On a final note, this table of maple products and this old couple with their blue ribbons just kind of screamed VERMONT at me and I thought it was adorable:


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