Food sanity in Mad River Valley - Part 3
Too rich to go into in this post, and far too interesting for you NOT to explore further on your own, The Cellars at Jasper Hill is a twenty-two thousand square foot underground cooperative cheese aging facility and an organization with a powerful cooperative marketing arm, storing and selling some damn fine cheeses! Most of the restaurants we'd visited featured Vermont cheeses very prominently, which we definitely appreciated, and when I started writing this post and pulling together the web addresses for you it became apparent that The Cellars at Jasper Hill was one of their principal providers. Like the Vermont Fresh Network, they are another strong connector of producers, preparers, and consumers, bringing together and bringing to market - and thereby sustaining - healthful and delicious, high quality food products and businesses.
At breakfast on our last morning at The Inn at Round Barn Farm, we were talking with innkeeper Tim Piper about all the great food and food culture in the area. After hearing us out a bit on cheese, he told us that they were hosting a three-day cheesemaking class in late to be taught by the highly accomplished and decorated artisanal cheesemakers at Three Shepherds' Cheese Company located just down the road in Warren. - And wouldn't you know, it also turns out that the Vermont Fresh Network annual meeting was just hosted at Round Barn Farm as well. Integrating, churning, connecting, learning. Impressive.
I can't help but feel that the food community in Vermont is showing us all the way to organize and operate a sustainable, high-quality, healthful food chain. What they're doing in the Mad River Valley, at least, creates and preserves jobs, respects the environment, celebrates the full spectrum of food arts, and - as far as we could tell - really enhances the quality of life for visitors and year-rounders alike. It was a little jarring to return to the big city from a getaway in the country and realize that suddenly my perspective had reversed: Notwithstanding the number of great, progressive restaurants we do have in the Greater Boston area, I realize now how far AHEAD of us city-folk they can be in the country when it comes to collectively embracing and integrating the local, the seasonal, the natural - and the people, both local and "flatlanders."
It's good to be served a slice of humble pie every once in a while - especially when it's delicious!