I spent the weekend in northern Vermont visiting the Leftover Queen (Jenn) and her husband Roberto on their new homestead - Thistlemoon Meadows:
They took me on a tour of their town and surrounding area - and being the good foodies that we are, it turned into a bit of a food tour. But being foodies isn't the only reason for that. It's also because local food is EVERYWHERE. On every other street it seems, there's a sign for fresh eggs, VT produce, maple syrup - or some other necessity or yummy food item. Farmers' markets, farms, roadside stands - they are in abundance here. Even the restaurants I visited - from small ice cream shop to full-service sit-down dinner spot - highlight their local food sources.
We have a little bit of this in the Pioneer Valley. Certainly, we have our farmers' markets and roadside stands. But meat farms are a little further out in the country and restaurants don't seem big on posting their producers, which only leads me to believe (in most cases) they're probably not local.
So, what's the big deal with eating local? Well, that's a whole other post (or series of posts). There's economical and environmental issues up the whazoo that I couldn't begin to do justice to. But even if you can't wrap your head around all that - there's 1 undenial benefit of eating local. It's amazingly fresh & yummy! I often come home from trips feeling like I need days to recover - in large part due to not-so-great eating - but that's not the case this time.
Of course, this foodie tour lead to a *few* purchases along the way. This trip was solo, so when I came home with a big bag of food, Mr. ValleyWriter was a little surprised (though not too much - he knows me well).
I've got Rock Art beer, Nutty Vermonter maple & cinnamon nut butter, Clare's wild blueberry jam, Vermont Pepper Works chocolate chipotle hot sauce and Fat Toad Farm goat's milk caramel. Not to mention the tomato plants and potato seedlings Jenn & Robert sent home with me. I should be cooking up a storm in no time! (I see ice cream with caramel sauce in my very, very near future... like, as soon as I finish this post. Gotta run!).