Q&A Tuesday: Tony Bono of Flora Ridge Farm

“You’ve heard of enlightenment, right,” he says.

“Well this is en-lettucement.”

A pause.

We crack up. The tour continues.

We walk through the greenhouses with him spouting knowledge, me with pad of paper and number two pencil in hand.

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I was spending the morning with Tony Bono of Flora Ridge Farm. It’s a hydroponic operation that he and his wife, Joy have run for over ten years in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

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By the elaborate setup, I had assumed Tony had always done this. But like a growing number of today’s family farms, Flora Ridge is a first (and possibly single) generational farm.

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“I started out in restaurants,” he shared. “My dad owned a popular sandwich shop in Pennsylvania, and I opened my first deli at 21. I make the best cheese steak sandwich you’ll ever taste!”

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But just as business was peaking, he decided to move on. “I was young and owning your own restaurant is so demanding.” It’s one of the reasons he has so much respect for his customers in the restaurant business.

WELL, THAT BEING SAID, HOW DID YOU GET INTO HYDROPONIC GROWING TONY?

He said he had held several jobs and endured a lot stress. One day he decided to follow what felt best, what he loved to do.

Flora Ridge is such a technical operation. It amazed me to find out he’s self-taught with a bit of help from his equipment supplier, Crop King.

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He said it’s “a lot of trial and error and a lot of investigation.” Sometimes you try growing something you think will be just great and then it doesn’t sell or it’s growing cycle is too long or the pattern of growth doesn’t work well with the setup.

“You have to keep adapting.” It reminds me of advice I was given to fail fast and not be afraid to fail often.

WHY HYDROPONIC?

He hunches over to the ground. “Well, for starters, why do I want kill my back doing this when I could stand upright and work like this.”  He stands beside the waist-high growing tables.

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It’s doesn’t work for vegetables that grow deep like roots or high like corn, but for greens the man does have a great point.

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“Plus plants receive nutrients when it rains.” Here, they are continuously being fed hydroponically.

Also working in the greenhouse keeps his work schedule more consistent. Pouring rain or bitter cold weather doesn’t slow him down. He says “neither does a thunderstorm”.  I look around at the metal structure rods and tell him with a smirk that I would pass.

Tony and Joy start the plants as seedlings in rockwool cubes. Rockwool is a horticultural growing medium made from natural ingredients like volcanic rock. It gives seeds a moist, oxygen rich place to root without the need for soil.

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Each greenhouse includes an intricate filtration system that is monitored electronically. The system can even send Tony text alerts if anything, like PH, is off.

To harvest he pulls each row out and carries them out on his head. He swears it’s not as awkward as it sounds.

They harvest, clean the row and then start again.

More than seven varieties of lettuces and romaine are grown onsite, plus basil, arugula, watercress and spinach.

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“Spinach has been selling like crazy!” He continues to increase his harvested supply for farmer’s markets and easily sells fifty pounds in a single market. He’s been asked to grow spinach year-round to meet demand but, even in a controlled environment, he says it thrives best in cooler months. I picked up some for Harrison and I while I still could. (New spinach recipe coming later this week!)

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WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THE HARD WAY?

“Not to just grow what everyone wants you to grow.” Early on he learned that with the growing cycle lasting a few months, by the time it was time for harvest chefs had changed their menus and the item was no longer needed.

Although he is more calculated now, he still is open to growing specific items for some chefs and is working with Chef Tim at Spring House on a special crop now.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS LIFE?

He says he loves the feedback and appreciation shared by customers at the markets, like “this is the best spinach I have ever had.” The growing process is also quite therapeutic for him.

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WHERE CAN WE BUY AND TASTE FLORA RIDGE PRODUCTS?

Farmers Markets

Farmers Curb Market in Greensboro

Reynolda Village Farmers Market in Winston-Salem, NC

Hickory Farmers Market in Hickory, NC

Restaurants/Caterers

 Five Loaves CateringGuilford CollegeJeffrey AdamsMozellesMeridianPrimlandRyan’s Spring HouseThe Old Fourth Street Filling Station

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Until we en-lettuce again,

a+h

October Farm to Table Supper at Stauber Farm

“They bumped into one another and it was like a bolt of lightning struck.”

This, according to Mrs. Taft, is how the idea for our first farm to fork dinner in North Carolina came about.

The “they” were Harrison and Dr. Charles Taft. The two had always had the idea of a Stauber farm dinner in the back of their minds. And when their paths continued to cross when we arrived back to North Carolina we knew it was inevitable. A supper (as we say in the south) must be held.

For us, Stauber Farm is a dream. It’s a picturesque backdrop perfect for continuing the work we were doing in Vermont with our dear friends at Sandiwood.


So when Dr. Taft proposed our first farm dinner at Stauber, we let loose of our busy schedules and dove right in.

Charles and Lamar Taft are the owners and keepers of the historic rolling farmstead dating back to the 18th century and located just outside Winston-Salem. Since purchasing the Stauber Farm over 20 years ago, they have worked to maintain its historic integrity and keep with sustainable practices to preserve the land and home. They have also introduced heritage breed animals for breeding and market including St. Croix sheep which are among the American livestock breeds threatened by extinction. It is the hope that more breeders will recognize the excellent qualities of the St. Croix through their efforts and that they will produce them in greater numbers and the breed will have a chance at survival.

The Tafts were so warm in welcoming us into their world. Over bowls of lamb stew and candlelight we exchanged stories from Vermont, passion for sustainability and good wholesome food and a love for the community that only food can build.

As the hosts they pulled together a tremendous guest list of like-minded folks to share in this trial run. We watched the list grow from 10 to 20 to 30 and finally settle around 40 to be served. We were overwhelmed by the instant enthusiasm. We had a short window to plan and we were humbled by the generous support of friends and family who volunteered to “do anything” to help get this first dinner off the ground. We love you guys. Thank you.

In addition to supplying Harrison with freshly processed roosters and tender lamb, the Tafts shared sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes and greens.

They also put Harrison in touch with other farmers including Issac at Harmony Ridge Farm and Cynthia at Billy Place Farm.

We used thick cut bacon given to us by Meadow Family Farms, earthy shiitake mushrooms from Myers Mushrooms, freshly baked bread from our good friend Jim Dumont of Bread Men, and roasted almond gelato from our girl Ciska over at Café Gelato. We also paid Lillian at West Bend Vineyards a visit for bottles of her perfectly paired wines.

A tremendous thank you to everyone for your contributions! We’re proud to say that everything on our menu, except for a few minor elements and a couple of Vermont cheese and butter favorites (we had to represent!) were sourced from within a 50 mile radius. And most of the ingredients were sourced straight from our supper’s guests.


The sense of community, a newly discovered community in North Carolina, energized us. And Lord knows we needed that energy on Monday as outlying winds from Hurricane Sandy foiled our cooking and setup plans. But it’s moments like those … you know when you are two hours out from your guests arriving and your dining tent is deemed unsafe ….or when the grill will not seem to hold heat to properly cook for 40 important guests…. that you really cherish that community that supports you. Everyone rose up and created the loveliest plan B – like it was always meant to be.

{Sweet Potato Galette with confit tomatoes, braised Stauber lamb, Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese & breakfast turnip}

{Kale Spanakopita with Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese, shiitake mushrooms, and ricotta}

{Sweet Potato Gnocchi with brown butter, sage, butternut squash, preserved lemon, crispy kale & Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen blue cheese}

{Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with nutmeg creme fraiche}

{5-Grain Oat from Bread Men}

{Smoked Whole Delaware Roosters with homemade green tomato & pear jam}

{Grilled & Roasted Stauber Farm Bone-in Leg of Lamb with a West Bend red wine reduction & mint gremolata}

{Pairing two classics: Braised Greens & Braised Cabbages with Meadow Family Farms bacon and sherry vinaigrette}

{Roasted Roots: sweet potato, beets, turnips, carrots, onion, radish & kolrabi from Harmony Ridge Farm, Billy Place Farm & Stauber Farm}

{Coffee Service featuring Krankies Coffee}

{Butternut Squash, Pumpkin & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding topped with whiskey creme anglaise & Cafe Gelato’s roasted almond gelato}

That evening, as the candlelight flickered and the platters were eagerly passed around five scattered tables snuggled indoors….

As friends hurried around the rooms with smiles and serving trays and worked back to back in the petite historic kitchen… we were reminded.


Warm camaraderie. Good Food. Big Laughs. Cherished Times.

This is what we’re here for. This is what we love to do.

Until we celebrate the community that food builds again,

a + h

Pigs and Pippens

How’s your October been friends? Ours is zooming by. This week we walked out of the kitchen and finally paused. Beautiful colors all around. Awestruck. It’s as if the leaves had changed overnight.

Don’t you just love this time of year?

Last fall, my mom came to visit us in Vermont for some foliage and apple picking. She and I continued that tradition here in North Carolina this weekend.


Only this year we threw in pork.

Saturday brought the annual Harvest Day at Old Salem.

This year’s celebration was all about the ‘pigs and pippens’.  Translation – apples!


We taste tested apples.

Some with more ‘character’ than others.

We saw them pressed.

(We did not wear costumes)

We bought apples. We (almost) bought ourselves an apple tree.

We learned a lot; like which apples are best for eating fresh from the tree, which are best for cooking, which are better for cider.

And did you know that there are over 500 old southern apple varieties still in existence today?

The nice folks at Century Farm Orchard gave us the rundown. These people know their apples. Their family has owned and operated their orchard for over 100 years. Today they focus on cultivating old southern apples that are available today while providing others with the opportunity to grow the apples that older generations grew for necessity. Century Farm is hosting open house events throughout November. We’re hoping to visit. Check out their website for more info. Maybe we’ll see you there…

All of that apple education worked up an appetite. Or maybe it was the smell of grilled sausages in the air… anywho… we followed our noses over to Meadow Family Farms for this:

Husband and wife team, Kenneth and Dani Strader run Meadows Family Farms with a focus on growing grass fed beef, free range pork and poultry. Thanks to their dedication, their customers (which now include us!) can enjoy protein products without added nitrates, hormones, growth stimulates, and chemicals or preservatives. They are also animal welfare approved and work everyday to “draw from the old to grow something new, always striving to enhance and preserve their farm for future generations”.

I raved so much about Meadow Family Farms to Harrison that he left the kitchen to come check them out. They were kind enough to send him home with samples – kielbasa, thick cut bacon, brats. We can’t wait to pair their pork with our fresh Levering Orchard Apples.

Mmmm… is it time for dinner yet?

Until we celebrate pigs and pippens again,

a + h

Great Harvest Cinnamon French Toast with Bixbys Lavender Honey {Sunday Brunch}

It’s one of those days. Outside the air has turned crisp and cool. And inside, we’re in need of a little warm indulgence in our lives.

So we headed into our kitchen to rummage around for inspiration and found just the right local ingredients on hand.


I had visited my parents’ Great Harvest Bakery in Chapel Hill for their daily free sample…

make that two…or three…I just..can’t…stop…

And eventually back to Winston-Salem I came with their ooey gooey delicious cinnamon roll bread.


Meanwhile, Harrison had cruised by the Reynolda Village Farmers Market and scored some divine lavender honey from Bixby Honey Farm out of Advance, NC…


We threw in some bananas, pecans, sprinkles of cinnamon, a couple of farm fresh eggs and freshly brewed Krankies Coffee


This my friends, is a collaboration done right.

 

Until we revel in local indulgences again,

a + h

Farmers Market Huevos with Shishito Peppers and Tomatoes

For me, part of the fun of checking out a new city is exploring around, asking questions and uncovering its local gems. So in that spirit, we decided that when we moved back to Winston-Salem we would keep an open-mind and explore it as if it was new to us. Discover. Uncover. Be pleasantly surprised.

And with this little shift in perception, we have already stumbled across a whole other world that we maybe once overlooked. It’s also impressive to see what a difference a year or so has made. New local gems have seemingly sprouted up overnight – thanks no doubt to the dedicated work of some passionate people that we would like to salute.

For instance, last Saturday we took a break from unpacking the dreaded moving boxes and headed over to the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem. The idyllic setting includes restored historic homes that now function as a living museum.

The Saturday market, which takes place from 9am – 12p, is adjacent to the historic Single Brothers Garden and restores a tradition that began over 200 years ago in historic Salem. (If you really want to ‘nerd out’ with us, check out this scoop on restoring traditional Salem food systems) It’s no wonder US News already named this new market one of the best in the country!

Fun fact – this is also where we said ‘I do’…


The Cobblestone Market is operated by Cultivate Piedmont, a program of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and also holds a Tuesday market downtown across the street from Krankies Coffee.


Vendors at this all-local, producers-only market are carefully selected based on their healthy, sustainable, and humane practices. We had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of these fine folks including Jeff from Sugarcreek Farms and Issac and Wendy from Harmony Ridge Farms.

From Jeff we scored these bright shishito peppers …


…and from Issac, these gorgeous sun-gold, black and red cherry tomatoes


After we begrudgingly returned home to get back to unpacking, we decided to take one more quick detour to use our fresh goodies (along with a nice chocolate pepper we had on hand from Sanders Ridge Farm) to whip up a little Littell comfort food.

A plate of bold huevos always makes unpacking a little brighter….

Farm Fresh Huevos with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onion

Ingredients

  • (5) eggs
  • (16) – (18) Shishito Peppers (cut in ½ and de-seeded)
  • (1) and (1/2) cups of assorted cherry tomatoes (cut in 1/2)
  • (1) medium onion (medium diced)
  • (1) chocolate pepper (de-seeded, small julienne, thinly sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (1/4) to (1/2) cup of fresh salsa verde – depending on how spicy you want things
  • optional toppings – queso fresco and chopped cilantro

Directions
1.    Saute your onions and peppers until they begin to caramelize.
2.    Add in your tomatoes, salt and pepper and salsa verde. Sauté lightly.
3.    Then add your eggs. We recommend you actually crack your eggs directly into the pan. Stir to break up and cook your eggs thoroughly.
4.    Add your optional toppings after plate up and enjoy!

Chili Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • (2) sweet potatoes (medium dice)
  • (1) medium onion (medium dice)
  • (2) garlic cloves
  • (1) Tablespoon of Mexican Hot Chili Powder
  • (1) Tablespoon of chopped cilantro

Directions:
1. Saute your sweet potatoes, onions and garlic until tender and caramelization takes place.
2. Then add in your remaining ingredients, combine, lightly sauté and plate.

Until we find fresh inspiration again,

a + h

Chapter Two.

Farewell Vermont. You will be missed. It’s back to North Carolina we have gone.

We would be lying if we said we didn’t struggle with leaving; funny because we only moved to Vermont for Harrison to attend culinary school. But we ended up falling in love with the area with its contagious locavore lifestyle and deeply rooted good food community.


And we continue to crave the breads…

The cheeses…

The hidden treasures…


The beer…


I like to say that it was in Vermont that I finally entered food rehab. I went from microwaving to making from scratch; from drive-thrus  to farm stands; from cans and boxes to picking and canning. We moved for Harrison but in the end we think it might have been equally for me.

In Vermont my passion for food grew ten-fold. And so did my love for working side by side with Harrison. He cooks and I photograph. He explains how-to and I write. He learns hands-on and I read his textbooks to ask questions. He executes our event menus flawlessly and I make sure our guests are enjoying themselves. He continues to inspire me. I continue to challenge him.

Isn’t it funny where life leads you when you just let loose and let it?  If you were to ask me a year and a half ago if I could see myself working side by side with him day to day I would have thought you were nuts. But today I can’t think of any other place I would rather be.

For us, life has led us back to North Carolina to give his mom some much needed support with her thriving catering business with him in the kitchen and me in the office with coordination. And we’re looking forward to using our passions to create lasting food memories for clients.

While we’re here, we also strive to create new farm to table experiences with the community in our home state. Ultimately, it is our dream to one day have a small farm and cafe and do it all on one site. We’ll see…

So although the New England culinary adventure has ended, we know that a whole new adventure is about to unfold. We hope you’ll continue to join us here to share in new inspiration and continue to celebrate the community that food builds with us.

Hello Winston-Salem. Here goes…

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler with Decadent Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

The other week we were lucky enough to snag an invite from our good friend/farming sensei Sara over at Sandiwood Farm to join her on a strawberry picking field trip. So we loaded up one morning with the intern crew and headed over to “the spot”, Riverside Farm in East Hardwick, Vermont.

Riverside Farm is owned and operated by the lovely couple, Bruce and Judy Kaufman. The Kaufman’s are committed to “organic farming to cultivate a sustainable farming practice.” In their own words “one that is supportive of the earth, the people working on the farm, the people eating the food, and the community we live in. Real food for real people”. Well that sounds mighty nice and refreshing, eh?

It happened to be the first solid week of strawberry picking in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and we were in for a treat with rows and rows of plump strawberries up for grabs.

And H O L Y smokes it was a hot one too!! Judy shared that the heat actually speeds up the already short season and our timing couldn’t have been better to get in some of the best picking around. And so, after a quick tutorial on strawberry picking, we were off with buckets and Tupperware in hand (and coated in sunscreen from head to toe).

A Few Things We Learned:

1. The best time to pick strawberries is in the morning when the berries are still cool. Sunshine and heat quickly make the berries soft and then they tend to bruise easily.

2. Only solid red berries are completely ripe. Look for plump firm berries with a red tip. Unripe (white) or partially ripe berries will not ripen once picked. The ripening process actually stops once you pick them.

3. Smaller berries tend to be sweeter and more flavorful. Plus – they’re pretty freaking cute.

4. When you pick your berries, leave about ½ inch of the stem still attached.

5. It’s best to process your berries soon after picking. Berries stored more than 2 – 3 days will lose some of their fresh, bright color and tend to shrivel and deteriorate in quality.

6. You can easily freeze strawberries that you’re not planning to eat right away. Simply wash, cut off the green husks, and place them in a Ziplock bag removing as much air as possible. Perfect to have on hand for smoothies, jams, pies and cobblers… which we’ll show you  how to make! Keep on reading…

Why Pick Your Own?
Here’s an interesting tid-bit
: Did you know that commercial, store-bought strawberries continuously rank as one of the most contaminated common foods due to the use of pesticides? Even after washing store bought berries they still have significant levels of unnatural chemicals on them. YIKES! BUT not the case with organic, freshly picked strawberries like  those found at Riverside Farm. No pesticides means you can dive right in – plant to mouth. Perfect for me – professional taste tester.


And today for your strawberry indulging pleasure, we’re making you a Strawberry Cobbler topped with Decadent Dulce de Leche. Mmm…Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ingredients – for your filling

  • 2 ½ cups of sugar (taste your berries first for level of sweetness; you may want to adjust amount of sugar based on this)
  • 2 ½ cups of cold water
  •  ¼ cup of corn starch
  • 14 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Heat your sugar and (2) cups of water in a large pot until sugar dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, add ½ cup of cold water to your corn starch to make a slurry. Then add to your sugar/water mixture.

3. Bring your mixture to a light boil so your corn starch activates. Then add your strawberries and lemon. Turn off heat.

Ingredients – for your topping

  • 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons of baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of softened butter

1. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients and sift.

2. Next mix in your softened butter. And mix until the butter becomes more like grains of rice.

3. Create a well in your mixture (similar to making biscuits except your mixture will be more like pancake batter).
 

To make your cobbler:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour your strawberry mixture in your baking pan(s). We used (2) 9×9 pans.

3. Spoon your topping mixture evenly across the strawberry mixture.

4. Bake on 350 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until your dough is cooked all the way through.

Decadent Dulce de Leche:

1. Take one small can of sweetened condensed milk. Boil in a medium pot on medium low heat for 2 – 3 hours. (Longer the time = Richer the Color)

2. Pop open the can after a couple of hours and fold into fresh whipped cream. Then pour over your cobbler for a sinfully good treat.

Enjoy!

Until we find freshly picked inspiration again,

A + H

Rhubarb and Chipotle Pork Tacos

Whew! We’re baaaaack. It’s been a hot minute but we’re back in the home cooking saddle again. A couple of new exciting developments to share before we pull out the pots and pans….

He Graduated! “Attend culinary school” once loomed on the bucket list after years of working in the family’s catering business. Completed – check!

And look who met Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Gavin Kaysen.

Big day. Awesome!

And we moved…to beautifully green Stowe. We’ll be here for the summer cooking goodies to share from the cutest little red cabin in the woods. Thanks to Annie and Joey for opening up their home to us for the summer. We promise to take good care of her and we’ll make sure she always smells delicious.

And finally, we’re helping out (Ok it’s mostly Harrison) on an organic produce and flower farm until September. We get to play in the dirt and bright sunshine and score some gorgeous veggies for true farm to fork meals. Another bucket list item underway… double check!

Now that you’re officially up to speed … let’s jump back into the kitchen shall we?!

Today’s recipe was inspired by the ripe rhubarb growing in our new backyard. “Hmm… what should we make” we said. Pies, tarts, jelly…nah, c’mon it’s us. Of course we’re christening the new country crib with some killer rhubarb and chipotle pork tacos. Let’s let loose. Ole!

Ingredients: 

  • (2) small stalks of rhubarb – sliced thin
  • Half can of chipotles (7 to 8 ounce can)
  • (2) Pasilla Negro Chiles (dried and reconstituted)

  • (2) small yellow onions – julienned
  • (1) bulb of garlic – peeled and mashed
  • (1) can of organic tomatoes and green chilis
  • (3) bay leaves
  • (1/3) bunch of fresh cilantro (ours freshly picked from Sandiwood Farm)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (1/2) teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • (1/2) tablepoon of dried oregano or (3) tablespoons of fresh oregano
  • (2) to (3) pounds of locally raised pork shoulder or butt – cut into chunks

1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

2. Brown off your pork in a large rondeau (or any other pot that you can transfer into the oven that allows room for the pork to be immersed in water to cook)

3. Remove your pork and set aside. Add your onion, garlic and rhubarb to your rondeau. Lightly sauté.

4. Add your remaining ingredients, including your pork, and a little water to cover your pork.

5. Cover your rondeau with foil and place in the oven for 4 – 5 hours until very tender.

6. Remove from oven and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes to rest. Then shred your pork and set aside for your tacos. (Tip: You can also sear your shredded pork in a pan with a little olive oil to crisp the outside and create a carnitas like texture…yum!)

7. Reserve your liquid with veggies and puree in a blender or food processor to make a hot salsa for your tacos.

8. Serve with tortillas, fresh salsa, chopped onion, fresh cilantro, scallion flowers and maybe a little pickled watermelon rind.

Enjoy!

Until we find fresh inspiration again,

A + H

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{Wishing all of you Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day today! To our Dads: We love you and thank you for all that you give and for your continued support as we navigate through this crazy thing called life. Today we celebrate you!}

Find A Farmers Market – Be Inspired!

When we stumbled upon the Capital City Farmers Market earlier this month, we were like kids in a candy shop.  Voted one of the Best 12 Farmer’s Markets by The Daily Green, this eclectic gem of a Farmers Market has been bringing local consumers and local producers together for over 30 years. 

Farmers Market Montpelier Vermont

Capital City Farmers Market open Saturdays from 9am - 1pm May through October. Located at 60 State Street, downtown Montpelier.

Music, samples, people watching, samples, incredible local farmers, samples.  Let’s just say we’re big fans and Saturday mornings at the farmers market have become an extra special treat. What do we love? Walking in and brainstorming how to make a meal out of it all.  Chatting with the vendors always inspires something new.  Plus, there’s nothing better than supporting local food producers. The food’s tastier, more nutritious and *gasp*, fresh!  Yes, we’re good food groupies and we just can’t hide it. 

Montpelier Farmers Market Vermont

People watching - a bonus! Find Waldo...

Here are our finds from our first week (brussel sprouts, grass fed tenderloin and Hartwell cheese… plus, locally cured Damn Fine bacon from our corner sto’:  Uncommon Market.)

Capital City Farmers Market Montpelier Vermont

Score!

Special shout out to: Ploughgate Creamery in Albany, Vermont.  Your Hartwell cheese is a dream.   Cheese lovers: think Brie on steriods. Hypothetically speaking of course…

And here’s the meal we made out of it all:

Capital City Farmers Market Montpelier Vermont

Double Score! Grass fed beef tenderloin with a red wine pan reduction, Hartwell and roasted garlic polenta, sauteed brussel sprouts with onion and local Damn Fine bacon. Cheers!

It’s our weekly splurge on the new budget. An extra special dinner date made with love, all for under 40 bucks.  As we like to say “Now that’s what’s up!”   Be inspired, let loose – find a local farmers market near you.

Until we explore again,
A & H