I feel very lucky to live in Vermont now where Farm-to-Table is a way of life, and culinary, farming, and outdoors experiences are available at every turn. Case in point: I just took an awesome class on Bread Baking using wild yeast to make natural sour dough breads. (This means you don't add any yeast, you use a sour dough starter and you let the dough sit around through several stages of fermentation and dough "folding" before you bake.) The class was held in the kitchen at Brot Bakehouse School and Kitchen at Brotbakery in Fairfax, Vermont. It was a beautiful, warm space with brick and wood floors, wood counter tops, exposed beam high ceilings and a built-in wood fired oven. It was cozy inside while the outside was surrounded by snow, and Heike Meyer the instructor was warm and welcoming as well as engaging and inspiring.
We ended the class with a "bread tasting" where we learned what to look for with the crust, the crumb, the smell and taste. And the bread WAS AMAZING. Seriously, amazing: crusty on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside with a slight tang of sour dough, made with a mix of freshly ground whole grains and some corn/polenta even. It was baked that morning in the wood fired oven and was still a little warm inside. We added some cultured butter after the first taste....HEAVEN. I had to buy some to take home for my family to all sample (100% thumbs up - we ate it all that day). Plus we each left with some of Heike's sour dough starter, instructions for how to take care of it and a portion of dough we worked with to bake at home that night. I hope to go back for many more classes!
This experience got me looking for other classes like this. and while I'm still doing research it occurred to me that some of you might be interested in a culinary or farmsteading vacation up here in the Green Mountain State. So I'm happy to share with you what I have found so far:
The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is a continuing education program that has lots of 5-day classes such as "Small-Scale Dairying", "Ecological Orcharding", "The Art of Natural Cheesemaking", "Small Batch Brewing", "Market Gardening Master Class: Biointensive Crop Production", "Farmstead Toolmaking", "Social Permaculture", "The Art of Fermentation". They are mostly offered in sequential weeks during May - Sept - so plan your vacation now. Sterling college is in Craftsbury, VT. (Accommodations listed here).
Shelburne Farms offers classes throughout the year. A few upcoming 2017 classes include: "The Art of Natural Cheesemaking with David Asher" a two-day class June 20-21 (Tue& Wed) by the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, they are also hosting the 9th Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival on July 16, 2017 where you can sample and buy cheeses from 45+ Vermont Cheesemakers and 90+ Vermont artisan food producers. Shelburne Farms has an inn and guest houses onsite, and there are lots of places to stay nearby too.
The Morrill Homestead in Strafford, VT offers Gardening and Homesteading workshops as well including "Pruning and Grafting Fruit Trees", and "Traditional Farmstead Skills." Ellen Ecker Ogden, author of The Complete Kitchen Garden lives in VT and gives lectures and presentations all over New England. In August she'll be presenting "The Art of Growing Food" at Morrill Homestead.
Brot Bakehouse School and Kitchen at Brotbakery - has a Culinary Vacation collaboration with Hotel Vermont (Burlington) and The European Artist B&B (Underhill). Rates at Hotel Vermont include a Sunday class for 2 at Brotbakery - but I think you still have to plan your trip around when Brotbakery has a class scheduled. Call them to find out! This is a nice weekend getaway idea.
Can you recommend any Vermont Homesteading, Gardening, or Culinary courses that you can plan a vacation around? Let me know in the comments!