|Vermont Vendors Travel Together to Take on Massachusetts|
|Features - Farmers and Markets|
|Written by Lara Zelman|
I love that every time I go to the farmers market I have the opportunity to meet new people and learn their story. At the Russell’s Garden Center Summer Farmers' Market, I met two wonderful women and chatted with them about their locally made foods.
First, I was drawn in by a table full of delicious looking sauces. I met Sandra Hunt at Vermont Gourmet Candy Dish. The name was slightly deceiving, as Sandra and her husband Bruce have a delectable line of gourmet savory sauces, jams, and chocolate and caramel sauces. She was a realtor for most of her professional life and her husband worked in business for over 30 years. Making sauces and cooking was always a hobby and they have retired and now spend their time doing what they love.
Their products are quite popular so they tried out large scale production. When they couldn’t maintain the quality that they wanted, they scaled back and focused on making high quality products. Each batch is only 12-14 jars. When you think about how many markets they visit, that’s a lot of batches! They had everything from jelly to caramel sauce to horseradish!
Sandra and Bruce have their headquarters in Florence, Vermont but spent this year sharing their products at a number of Massachusetts farmers' markets. Sandra travels down to Massachusetts with her friend Jane, from Westport River Creamery. They pack up and hit the road - their route takes them to Wayland on Wednesdays, Salem on Thursdays and then come back down for weekend markets.
Jane, along with her husband Charlie, makes over a dozen types of cheese on a 200 acre farm in Londonderry, Vermont. Sandra told me I had to check out Jane’s award winning cheddar, which I couldn’t resist buying. And Jane told me about their award winning marinated feta cheese, something that often surprises people. When I think of Vermont Cheese, that’s not the first thing I think about but I bet it is delicious! She had already sold out that day, so I’ll have to make another trip to try it out.
It was clear that these women have a great time travelling the New England highways and enthusiastically sharing their local food with the community.
It may feel like fall outside, but most of the ‘summer’ markets around Boston stay open until the root veggies make their presence known. While the Russell’s Garden Center Market just closed on October 13, the Salem Market is open Thursdays through October 21. So hold on to summer just a little longer, hit the road and try something new! And most importantly ask the wonderful vendors questions. Their passion and dedication come through in their products!
I decided to combine a few of my favorite things to create a fall treat. With the sharp cheddar from Westport River, I expanded my ingredient list to include paula red apples from Bolton Spring Farm and Smaht Farm honey (picked up at the Boston University farmers market). Using a recipe from Joy of Cooking for technique, in less than 30 minutes I came up with a new twist on a fall favorite. Goodbye apple pie with a slice of cheddar on top, hello cheddar apple biscuits!
Cheddar Apple Pinwheel Biscuits
Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking
2 paula red apples, peeled, cores and diced
1 tablespoon Smaht Farm honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add butter. When butter is melted, add diced apples and honey. Stir and cook until apples are just softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while working on the biscuit dough.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add butter pieces and either cut with a pastry blender or use two knives to cut in the butter. Continue to cut in the butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest look like breadcrumbs. Mix in shredded cheddar. Add the milk and mix with a spatula until all dry ingredients are just moistened. Using your hands, gather the dough into a ball and knead against the sides of the bowl, 5-10 times. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 10-inch square, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Spread the cooked apple mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about a quarter inch clearance around the edges. Roll the dough away from you, tightly, forming a log. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the log into 12 1-inch pieces.
Place the pieces onto a greased baking sheet, cut side facing up (you should see the pinwheel). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.