Kay and I picked up Karen on the way to her friend’s house where we gathered our dinner vegetables – beautiful green beans, a few varieties squash and some unbelievable kale. Shortly afterwards, we stopped by Brown Boar Farm and grabbed five pounds of pork – bacon, tenderloin and ham steak. Their pigs run around the 106 acre farm dating back to the 1770s; then to a very small farm where we buy our eggs (see my last blog from a few days ago). We completed our outing with a moderate purchase of fruits and vegetables from the local farm stand just over the border in New York. In the midst of all this we made another stop that I cannot discuss, but what I can say is that any business person would be quite impressed (details may follow).
We’re back at Pond Mountain Inn now – Kay is using the kale to make soup for the week, an early start to the fall and winter seasons. Dinner preparations are not terribly far behind – pork tenderloin on the grill, morning harvested vegetables, generously buttered mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of salt and pepper… and for an appetizer, fresh mahogany clams from the north shore with two very proper Hendrick’s gin and tonics in-hand as we sit comfortably in Missy’s Adirondack chairs over-looking Northeast Mountain – I hope there’s a slight chill in the air tonight.
We provide our guests with fresh, high-quality ingredients while purchasing from local farmers and suppliers. Our philosophy is to buy locally where possible, it’s more expensive in many cases, but we know where our food originates, how the animals are fed, how the animals are treated, which is reflected in the quality and the taste of the food we serve for breakfast and dinner. It’s not only good for our local economy; it reduces the environmental impact and is becoming an integral part of the distinctive character of our inn.
Our eggs come from these chickens, and they run around all day! Our eggs cannot be classified as organic; however they eat organic feed and don’t receive vaccines or antibiotics. Free-range eggs are laid from hens that have the opportunity to go outside. Smaller farms may keep birds outside under a canopy area. They may travel in and out of a barn at free will or spend some portion of their day roaming outdoors. These chickens are out-and-about all day enjoying the fresh air and sunshine!
Our belief and expectation is that although we’re benefiting from inexpensive energy costs it is unlikely to continue. As the price of energy rises food prices will rise commensurately at which point we’ll be forced then to reevaluate our food systems and place more emphasis on energy efficient agricultural methods, like smaller-scale organic agriculture, and on local production wherever possible. We hope by the time this occurs we’ll have our local food network firmly in place.
Today, our local Vermont food purchases include meat, pork, poultry, milk, artisan cheeses, eggs, maple syrup (of course), jams and local summer produce. Still though, this only represents less than 50% of our overall food purchases.
Our goal is to be 100% farm-to-table with a twenty mile food purchase radius. It’s difficult to determine when this can be achieved, but soon we will begin posting a list of all our local food purchases and where each originates.
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