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On Your Mark, Get Set: Food to Fuel Your Hibernation Inclination

2011 October 11

By Taylor Cocalis

Pete's Greens Farm StandGreensboro, VT – While the rest of the Northeast is still experiencing Indian Summer, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is rapidly cooling down. A few nights of frost have sent our skyline up in flames – with brilliant oranges, raging reds, and radiant yellow leaves – which have already muted into a burnt rusty color as they leap from the trees to cover the dirt roads.

Summer is gone and with it went the spoils of the season – an abundance of produce and berries and sun-kissed treats. But with the new weather comes new foods – ones that my hibernation inclination has been craving for a few months. These are the things that you can easily hide under bulky sweaters, and that give you an extra layer to keep you a little bit warmer during the cold winters – potatoes, butter, heavy cream, and bread.

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Let us also reflect that this season’s late dearth of produce resulted in part from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. While many farms were fortunate to not be hit with lasting damage to their properties, the flash floods ruined the remainder of this year’s crops by exposing produce to potentially hazardous contaminated water. Water, water everywhere, and not a leaf to eat.

But as omnivores we can find food to eat in any region and any season. I am choosing to make cod cakes, riffing off the savory cake technique from Jessie’s Daikon Radish Cake, incorporating ingredients indigenous to our region, and highlighting some of the best things VT has to offer.

Speaking of which . . . here is what we’re jamming on around here this time of year:

Potatoes – These ones are from Pete’s Greens. Their farm stand is open all summer. It’s the type of place that makes me love VT. It’s all on the honor system with prices listed, a notepad to mark your purchases, and an open cash box to make change. In addition to their own organic produce (they cultivate 50 acres in Craftsbury, VT), they stock items from other incredible local producers of grain, butter, cheese, maple syrup, cider vinegar, meat, and the like. The farm stand just closed yesterday for the season. To mourn the loss we stocked up on Pete’s Yellow Potatoes. According to the sign at the farm stand, Pete thinks they are the best potatoes around. We happen to agree.

ButterVermont Butter & Cheese Creamery makes our favorite staple cultured butter. We use it for just about everything. Try the one with sea salt for slathering on freshly baked bread. The lightly salted works best for cooking and baking preparations.

Heavy CreamButterworks Farm Cream is a real treat. We’re lucky to have it local. It’s just about as close to butter as cream can get. A few shakes will turn it into butter. It’s equally suited for cooking, whipping, or pouring over your oatmeal with maple sugar. Now I am hungry for breakfast.

There are also a ton of other great food-related businesses in the area. In our tiny town of Greensboro alone we have two of the finest food artisans in the country – Jasper Hill Farm (maker and ager of some of the finest cheeses to come out of the US) and Hill Farmstead Brewery (arguably crafting the country’s best beer). But don’t take my word for it. Come for a visit. The Center for an Agricultural Economy offers tours the third Thursday of every month. Hope to see you here soon!

Check back on Thursday for the completion of my hibernation friendly savory cod cakes.

Taylor Cocalis is a Co-Founder of Good Food Jobs, a gastro-job search website, designed to link people looking for meaningful food work with the businesses that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect.