Vermont is known for its dairy products and maple syrup, and I'm also discovering that there's a ton of other "Vermont Made" Food products, and today we tasted them all!
I started the day with Green Mountain Creamery Greek Style Yogurt and Nutty Steph's Vermont made granola that I'd brought yesterday and washed it down with some Green Mountain Coffee - Vermont Country Blend. I was off to a good start!
Our first stop of the day was Cold Hollow Apple Cider, a local place that is a huge tourist trap, but they have fresh, hot, apple cider doughnuts! We were skeptical as to how good they'd be, Mom and Dad had gotten some last time they were here and didn't remember that they were all that great. Turns out they remembered wrong! The doughnuts were pretty good!
Next up, Ben & Jerry's! I was skeptical about the Ben & Jerry's tour, I was thinking it would be a total tourist trap and I'd convinced myself that Ben & Jerry's wasn't really the socially minded company that they'd like you to think they are. The tour is definitely a tourist trap, but I did change my mind a bit about the company! I think they are trying to make a high quality product while supporting sustainable, fair, and humane agriculture and business practices. They have sold the company to Unileaver (spelling?) foods, however the Ben & Jerry's board of directors maintains a significant amount of control over the product. They are working to remove GMOs from their ice cream, and are supporting Vermont's attempt to require labeling on all products that contain GMOs.
After the tour we were walking to the Flavor Graveyard and I saw a Roadtrek RV (Roadtrek's are another van conversion) with a kayak on top, towing a car with another kayak on it and bikes. The doors were open so I decided to walk down and make friends. I really wanted to know where they had gotten the screens for the sliding door and the back doors. The owner - Vicki, from South Florida, was very nice! I met her dogs and got the tour of her RV! She took my email and said she'd send me info about the screens!
Next up was lunch! Driving in yesterday I'd seen a resteraunt at the corner of US2 and VT 100 - I don't remember the name of it, but it was really yummy! After lunch it was on to Cabots, with a quick stop at a farm stand!
I've been buying Cabots cheese for awhile now, they don't add and crazy chemicals or dyes to their cheese so it was the brand I'd settled on when I was looking for unprocessed foods. I almost didn't want to know how it was made because I was afraid I'd learn something that would make me not want to eat their cheese anymore. Thankfully, however, the tour only made me want to buy more Cabots cheese! The whole company is owned by the family farms that supply the milk! All the milk comes from small family farms - there's at least one family that allows people to come stay at their house and experience farm life! Talk about transparency!
The other thing I wanted to learn more about was maple syrup. I've recently started eating maple syrup and I love it so I had to buy some good stuff up here! I had no idea about the different grades and how they taste so I wanted to find a place where I could taste it. At the Cabots factory I picked up a brochure about the Bragg Family Farm. It was nearby so we headed over there.
While we were in Cabots, the predicted thunderstorms moved in. It was raining like crazy as we drove over to the maple syrup place. When we got there we discovered that their power was out! They still let us come in and sample, but we needed to use Dad's flashlight that he always carries on his belt! While we were standing in the store, in the dark, tasting maple syrup, there was a HUGE crash of thunder right over head! We were able to purchase some syrup - had to pay with cash since their register was down!
We returned to Stowe as the rain let up. The clouds and dampness lingered though. We stopped at one more farm stand and got some yummy carrots! We had dinner at a nice little Mexican place in Stowe and followed it up with more ice cream from IC Scoops! After we got back to the campground Dad and I did a couple laps to get in our 10k steps!