Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winter 2012's Natural Disaster -Sunshine and Warm Weather

It's the first day of Spring, and we are expecting another record breaking temperature day. Is this the 2nd, 3rd or 4th day in a row? I don't know, but what I do know is that this is CRAZY!!! And, it's going to keep up for a few more days! There's no snow left on Darling Hill, oh, maybe some still in the woods where the sun hasn't gotten it yet. That will all be gone soon.
So for those who don't depend on the winter economy, and for those who don't Sugar and need the freezing nights to go along with these warm days, life is looking up! Lots of people smiling in town. For those of us who do rely on the winter or sugaring economy, this warm and beautiful weather is a Natural Disaster. For many of us here in the NEK, this has hurt us more than Hurricane Irene. And for those in our industry who were badly hit by Irene, this is a double whammy.
It's CRAZY, that beautiful weather can be a Natural Disaster.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moroccan Dinner

In addition to our regular menu, on Thursday February 16, 2012, our International Cuisine will be Moroccan!!!

Here's the menu:


Pastillesavory Moroccan meat pie. Sauteed ground beef, raisins, onion and garlic seasoned with coriander, cinnamon, and ginger, all wrapped up in a phyllo dough.


Chicken and Vegetable Tagine—Chicken seasoned with “Ras el Hanout” (coriander, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne) slow cooked with carrots, green peas, chickpeas and apricot, served with Cous Cous.


Briwat with Almond and goat Cheese. Deep fried spring roll filled with almond meal and goat cheese, then drizzled with honey.

Complete Meal for only $21.99!

call 802-626-8310 to reserve a table!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Juniper's at the Wildflower Inn is open this Monday the 13th

We've been closed most Mondays this winter due to the lack of vacationers, which is due to the lack of snow.  We will be open this coming Monday and in addition to our regular menu we'll also be offering a Sweethearts Menu for those that can't celebrate Valentines on Tuesday.  Take a look at yesterday's post for the Sweethearts Menu.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sweetheart Menu being served Friday, Saturday and Monday - 2/10-2/13/2012

If you can't get away for Valentines on Tuesday, here's your alternative!!!
 We are offering this menu in addition to our regular menu on Friday, Saturday and Monday, 2/10-2/13.
Sweetheart Menu

Cheese Plate for Two
Blythedale Farm Brie baked in Puff Pastry served
with cranberry compote and warm crusty bread

Choice of Soup du Jour or Salad


Halibut with Braised Leeks
pan seared halibut served with braised leeks
and finished with a Madeira sauce
Grilled NY Sirloin
an all natural, juicy 10 oz steak topped with a
roasted garlic herb butter

Chicken Breast stuffed with Gorgonzola and Portabella
pan roasted airline chicken breast stuffed with gorgonzola
cheese and portabella mushroom and herb jus

Polenta and Mushroom Ragout
grilled polenta cake topped with mushroom ragout served
with parmesan cream sauce, basil aioli
and red bell pepper coulis


Trio of Chocolate Torte, French Macaroons and Raspberry Sorbet


Call us at 802-626-8310 or visit our site at www.junipersrestaurant.com

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Deep Mountain Maple

The Special
This week we are pleased to feature maple marshmallows from Deep Mountain Maple of West Glover, Vermont. All this week, Chef Casey Graham will use locally-produced, wood-fired Deep Mountain Maple products in main dishes, appetizers, desserts, and drinks. Be sure to ask your server about tonight’s Deep Mountain Maple Special!

The Farm
Deep Mountain Maple is a maple syrup producer in West Glover, Vermont. They produce pure wood-fired Vermont maple syrup of many flavors as well as a variety of maple candies and confections. Deep Mountain Maple sells the bulk of their products at the Green Market in New York City and to fine restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as in Vermont at the Lake Parker Country Store in West Glover.

“Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasureof food with a commitment to community and the environment.”

Slow Food is the anti-Fast Food. The Slow Food Movement began decades ago in response to the construction of a McDonald’s in an Italian town that prided itself on the local cuisine. Today, Slow Food International has thousands of members around the globe and promotes the slow production and consumption of indigenous foods through workshops and conferences. Maple syrup, Vermont’s famous indigenous treat, is a perfect example of Slow Food: it reflects the environment and community of the place where it is made, takes time and skill to produce, and is best when consumed in a leisurely fashion, like over homemade pancakes late on a Sunday morning.

Howie and Stephan Cantor have been producing maple syrup in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom for over 25 years. Though born out of state, Stephan in Georgia and Howie in Massachusetts, the Cantors are truly at home in their nearly one-hundred-year-old sugarbush in the Vermont woods. Their farm, Deep Mountain Maple, lies three miles outside of the tiny village of West Glover, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. This week the Cantors are far from their home in the woods at the Terra Madre International Slow Food Conference and Festival in Torino, Italy, along with Marisa Mauro of Ploughgate Creamery, another one of Juniper’s Restaurant’s featured local cheese producers.

The Cantors are in Italy as representatives of New York City’s Green Market, a network of farmers’ markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn where they have been selling their products for 26 years. In Torino, they will have the opportunity to sample Slow Food from around the world and educate the international Slow Food community about Vermont foods. The idea of educating people about the source of their food has always been part of the Deep Mountain Maple philosophy. “We’ve been going to the Green Market in New York City for 26 years now,” says Stephan. “It is the largest urban outdoor farmers’ market in the country. And we’ve been standing on the street for 26 years, talking to our customers and hearing how people feel about food and maple syrup. We came to understand that we like the real marketplace, and the whole idea of a farmers’ market, especially in an urban place, where people come and meet the people who are producing the food they eat. For me that’s a big part of it, reconnecting people to their food.”

The Terra Madre Conference promotes local foods whose production have a positive impact on their environment and community, and the Green Market chose Howie and Stephan as delegates because Deep Mountain Maple embodies this ideal. The Cantors’ maple syrup is made without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers of any kind, and their maple trees are healthy thanks to constant, generous rain and snowfall and the Northeast Kingdom’s rich, rocky soil. Deep Mountain Maple employs local people to boil and package their wood fired maple syrup, and their customers in New York and Vermont know they are buying products that represent and enhance the place where they were made. “In all that we do, we seek to manage the forest in a way that sustains it, and our future as sugarmakers,” Stephan writes on Deep Mountain Maple’s website. The Cantors are proud that their product is “real food” and contains no artificial ingredients. “I’m way into real food,” says Stephan. “It’s just a little thing we can do as producers to put real food out there, and Vermont is a real greenhouse for these kind of ideas. In our own little way we’re part of that movement. It’s all tied together, respect for the forest and for ourselves, for what we put into our bodies.”

Maple syrup production has changed in recent years, becoming faster and more industrialized, though it is still a slow and painstaking process. The Cantors currently use a system of hoses connected to a vacuum to harvest sap from the trees, but they used to collect it in buckets, guiding a sledge pulled by draft horses through silent, snowy woods to deliver sap to the sugarhouse. Do they miss the old days? “I don’t!” says Stephan. “It was really hard work!” “I sort of miss it,” says Howie. “It’s a whole other sport. But it’s hard to find people willing to do that kind of work these days.” The vacuum system doesn’t seem to affect the syrup’s flavor. The Cantors still boil their syrup in a wood-fired sugarhouse in the heart of the sugarbush, and they bottle it on the farm in their own canning facility. Howie tempers the adoption of new technology by continuing to respect and care for the forest. “Sugaring used to be this really sacred thing,” he says. “It’s gone from this incredible respect for the forest and what the trees give, to getting as much as you can as fast as you can. We try to honor the forest, maybe because we live in it.” Howie and Stephan’s beautiful wood and stone house sits in the middle of their sugarbush, sheltered by the very trees that provide their livelihood.

The Cantors use maple syrup constantly in their own cooking. “We use it for everything. If a recipe calls for sugar, you can substitute maple sugar,” says Stephan. “It’s great in any basic Asian sauce, great in tomato sauce. Fortunately, I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so eating too much syrup isn’t a big problem for me!” Some of their customers in New York use Deep Mountain Maple products in more unconventional ways. “We have friends in New York who are high-end mixologists, which is a fancy way of saying they’re bartenders,” Stephan says. “There’s a place in New York has used our syrup to make several interesting things, not least of which is a bacon-infused Manhattan sweetened with maple syrup.” Deep Mountain’s maple marshmallows, an original product of which the Cantors are particularly proud, can be used just like traditional marshmallows, and I must say that they are delicious in homemade hot cocoa. My personal recipe calls for the cocoa to be sipped slowly, from the comfort of an armchair next to a woodstove, with a good book in hand.

You can read more about the Cantors and their trip to Italy in the Barton Chronicle online, Orleans County’s weekly newspaper.

*This is my final post as the Farm to Table Project Coordinator this season. Thank you all for reading, and be sure to check the blog again when Juniper’s Restaurant reopens in December. It has been an honor and a privilege to interview the members of the Northeast Kingdom's agricultural community and hear what they have to contribute to the ongoing conversation about local foods. There are some truly exciting and delicious things happening around here.

-Meg Gibson

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meadow View Farm

The Special
This week we are pleased to feature all natural grass-fed beef from Meadow View Farm of Lyndonville, Vermont. All this week, Chef Casey Graham will use Meadow View Farm products in main dishes, appetizers, soups, and salads. Be sure to ask your server about tonight’s Farm to Table Special!

The Farm
Meadow View Farm raises 100% all natural grass-fed Belted Galloway beef on their property on Darling Hill, right next to the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont. Meadowview Farm beef can be found on the menu at Juniper’s Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn as well as at summer and winter farmer’s market in Lyndonville, Vermont and in Massachusetts.

Meadow View Farm

The Downing Family’s properties on Darling Hill in Lyndonville, Vermont, are the realization of a family philosophy: care for the mind, body and spirit. Meadow View Farm, which raises all natural grass-fed Belted Galloway beef, is a sister property of the Wildflower Inn, the Stepping Stone Spa, and the Chapel of the Holy Family. Meadow View’s herd of 120 “Belties”, large black, red and dun cows with a broad white stripe encircling their bellies, dot the fields surrounding the Inn, Spa, and Chapel. The beef on the menu at Juniper’s Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn is exclusively from Meadow View Farm, and it gets rave reviews from diners eating signature Beltie burgers, meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, filet mignon and New York sirloin. Paul Downing, sales manager at Meadow View Farm, works with his sister Mary and brother-in-law Jim O’Reilly at the Wildflower Inn and Juniper’s Restaurant to help their guests experience food that benefits the mind, body and spirit: grass-fed beef that is good for the consumer, the cows, and the environment.

Richard Downing Sr. and his sons began raising cows in the 1970s at their home in Massachusetts. They started with a small herd of Herefords, kept mainly to help feed their large family. When the pasture they leased from a neighbor was sold to developers in the 1980s, the Downings moved their herd to the Wildflower Inn, a property they had recently purchased in Lyndonville, Vermont. Over the next decade the family bought adjacent properties on Darling Hill totaling 895 acres, 275 of which is lush pastureland perfect for raising grass-fed beef, and in 1996 Meadow View Farm was born. The Herefords were unsuited to the harsh climate of the Northeast Kingdom, so in 2001 the Downings decided to switch to Belted Galloways they purchased from a breeder in Maine. The animals were cold tolerant, well suited to eating grass, and did not need to be milked, in addition to being good-looking and docile. “We couldn’t be happier with them. They are just phenomenal,” says Paul. “They are such nice animals. The people that train these cows are, on average, 14 year old girls, and even the bulls are so calm that these kids can handle them.”

Meadow View Farm’s Belties are regularly shown at local and regional fairs where they have collected dozens of blue ribbons. One of their bulls recently won a national award, which is especially significant because he was in direct competition with grain-fed animals. The herd at Meadow View Farm possesses some of the best and oldest Belted Galloway genetics in the country, highly sought after by other breeders. Belted Galloway is an over four hundred-year-old heritage breed that originated in Europe and is growing in popularity in United States. Written history traces Belties to the islands of North Wales, and before that they are known to have been bred in Scandanavia. They are originally descended from extinct European Bison, which until seven or eight hundred years ago inhabited the plains of northern Europe. Thanks to their ancestry, Belties are well suited to Vermont’s long, cold winters. A warm double coat of fur allows them to spend most of the year outside and prevents them from developing a thick layer of back fat.

The Belties’ distinctive coats also help them retain more energy from their feed, which is entirely made up of grass. Even in the winter, the cows are fed on hay made on the farm. Meadow View Farm practices Intensive Rotational Grazing, where 30-40 cows graze a half acre of lush grass for a short period of time and are rotated to new pasture throughout the season. Grazing on the high quality, pesticide-free grass quickly adds nutritional value to the beef and adds nutrient rich manure to the pastures. Grass-fed beef is high in vitamins, trace minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acids), which suppress the formation of cancer cells and reduce vascular blockage. According to Paul, the human body requires 1.2 grams of CLAs per pound of fat to process red meat. Feedlot beef has .6 g/lb, which means that in order to process the meat the body is depleted of CLA’s. Grass-fed beef from Meadowview Farm contains an average of 2.6-2.8 g/lb, so eating it actually replenishes the body’s stores.

In January of 2009, Time Magazine ran the story “How Cows (Grass-Fed Only) Could Save the Planet.” Reporter Lisa Abend explained to America that, in addition to being good for human health, grass-fed beef benefits the environment by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“It works like this: grass is a perennial. Rotate cattle and other ruminants across pastures full of it, and the animals' grazing will cut the blades — which spurs new growth — while their trampling helps work manure and other decaying organic matter into the soil, turning it into rich humus. The plant's roots also help maintain soil health by retaining water and microbes. And healthy soil keeps carbon dioxide underground and out of the atmosphere.

Compare that with the estimated 99% of U.S. beef cattle that live out their last months on feedlots, where they are stuffed with corn and soybeans. In the past few decades, the growth of these concentrated animal-feeding operations has resulted in millions of acres of grassland being abandoned or converted — along with vast swaths of forest — into profitable cropland for livestock feed. "Much of the carbon footprint of beef comes from growing grain to feed the animals, which requires fossil-fuel-based fertilizers, pesticides, transportation," says Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. "Grass-fed beef has a much lighter carbon footprint." Indeed, although grass-fed cattle may produce more methane than conventional ones (high-fiber plants are harder to digest than cereals, as anyone who has felt the gastric effects of eating broccoli or cabbage can attest), their net emissions are lower because they help the soil sequester carbon.”

-Abend, Lisa. How Cows (Grass-Fed Only) Could Save the Planet. Time Magazine. 25 January 2010.

Grass-fed beef is more expensive for the consumer than feedlot beef, but the true cost of feedlot beef is measured in its negative effects on the environment and on human health. Paul points out that in Argentina, where nearly all of the beef is grass-fed, the incidence of heart disease is 70% less than that of the United States.

Not only is grass-fed beef better for you, it tastes great, too. The flavor of grass-fed beef differs from grain-fed beef and can take some adjusting to, but Meadow View Farm beef has a reputation for high quality, consistent flavor. Paul’s favorite cut of grass-fed Meadow View Farm beef is a New York strip steak, cooked just shy of medium and allowed to rest for 3-4 minutes. He recommends paying close attention when cooking grass-fed beef because it can overcook more easily than grain-fed beef. Paul’s favorite cut of beef from the menu at Juniper’s Restaurant is a harder question to answer. “I like everything at Juniper’s,” he says. “The Burger and Beer is definitely a favorite.” He is referring to the Tuesday night special, where any of Juniper’s 100% all natural Belted Galloway burgers and a pint of Vermont-made Switchback or Trout River Red on tap are only $10 ($11.50 with tax). Meadow View Farm’s grass-fed beef is good for the mind, body and spirit, and on Tuesday nights at Juniper’s Restaurant, it's good for the wallet too!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ploughgate Creamery

photo credit Ali Kaukas and Meg Gibson

The Special
This week we are pleased to feature Hartwell Cheese from Ploughgate Creamery of Albany, Vermont. All this week, Chef Casey Graham will use Ploughgate Creamery products in main dishes, appetizers, soups, and salads. Be sure to ask your server about tonight’s Farm to Table Special!

The Farm
Ploughgate Creamery is an award-winning artisan cheese creamery in Albany, Vermont. Ploughgate collaborates with the Cellars at Jasper Hill, a cheese again cave in Greensboro for affinage, or cheese aging expertise, as well as for distribution. Artisan cheeses from Ploughgate Creamery can be found at farmers' markets in Montpelier and Stowe as well as at restaurants and stores throughout Vermont and in select locations in Boston and New York.

Ploughgate Creamery

In Vermont, we believe that the principles of Freedom and Unity are not mutually exclusive. Individualism benefits the community, and vice versa. It’s kind of like in the song: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Marisa Mauro owns and operates Ploughgate Creamery, an artisan cheese making business in Albany, Vermont. When she was getting started three years ago, she borrowed equipment, solicited advice from colleagues and neighbors, and got free assistance from the Small Business Association of Vermont to develop a business plan and take out a loan. Help was donated enthusiastically and generously. “I had to cook ten different people pies because no one would take money!” she says. Today, Marisa makes award-winning artisan cheeses whose production supports local people and enhances the local landscape. It is a shared accomplishment that she and the community can be proud of. Marisa hosted a pig roast this summer to thank everyone who supported Ploughgate Creamery along the way, and the field next to her house could barely contain all of the cars that showed up.

Marisa grew up in southwestern Vermont. Her career as a cheese maker began at age fifteen when she went to work at Woodcock Farm, a sheep dairy in Weston. It was apparent that this was the life for her, and she spent the next several years traveling and working on dairy farms in northern California and southern Vermont before moving to the Northeast Kingdom to study farming for a year at Sterling College in Craftsbury. She ended up getting more of an education working for Neil Urie at Bonneview Farm in Craftsbury, where she spent two years making sheep cheese and becoming involved in the Northeast Kingdom's local foods community.

It wasn’t long before Marisa and Princess Maclean, a friend at Bonneview who cofounded Ploughgate and later left the business, decided that they wanted to start their own cheese operation, but they lacked the start-up capital necessary to buy a farm and animals. Neil encouraged them to purchase an abandoned creamery in Albany instead. It was already equipped with washable walls, drains, draining racks and a walk-in cooler. He would lend them stainless steel tables, cheese moulds, and various other equipment. A small cheese vat, more moulds, and cooling coils came from Mateo and Andy Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm, old family friends of Marisa’s. Cabot Creamery even lent the odd piece of equipment from their warehouse. With a little help from their friends and a loan guaranteed by the Small Business Association of Vermont, Ploughgate Creamery was born.

The new business plan included purchasing milk from a local farmer, which eliminated the cost and labor of running a farm and allowed Ploughgate to give back to the community that had given them so much. Marisa buys her milk from the Hancock Family Farm in Coventry, which milks Ayshire cows and has been owned and operated by the same family for one hundred years. Ayshire milk is prized by artisan cheese makers, and the Hancocks raise their cows naturally on feed produced on the farm. Marisa pays $20 per hundredweight for their milk, compared to the current national average price of $16. Studies have shown that conventional farmers need to makie $18 per hundredweight to survive. Marisa is happy to pay more to support a local farm that raises their animals responsibly and to do her part to keep the Northeast Kingdom’s farmland open and working. “I believe in good farming practices and in keeping things local,” she says.

Ploughgate’s cheeses are aged and distributed by the Cellars at Jasper Hill, a system of cheese aging caves in Greensboro, Vermont. The Cellars is an invaluable resource for Marisa as a small cheese producer. “The aging process is its own art,” she says. “Having Jasper Hill there allows me to just focus on making quality cheese.” The Cellars also provides opportunities for Marisa to perfect her craft. Once a year she works with a man she calls “the cheese ninja,” a consultant from France who is hired by the Cellars to teach classes to local cheese makers. Even with the support of the Cellars, developing her cheese recipe has not been easy. Plenty of batches have ended up feeding her pigs. “So many times, my boyfriend would be looking for me, and he’d be like, oh, she’s crying again at the pigpen!” she says. But her hard work is paying off. At the American Cheese Society awards in Seattle this year, Ploughgate’s Hartwell Cheese won a blue ribbon in the cow milk camembert category. Ploughgate Creamery will produce and sell around 13,000 pounds of cheese this year locally at the Montpelier and Stowe Farmers Markets, as well as to restaurants and stores throughout Vermont and in select locations in Boston and New York.

Marisa currently makes three kinds of cow milk cheeses, all named after local bodies of water. Hartwell is the award-winner, a mild, slightly grassy brie with a velvety texture and a good shelf life. Willoughby is a pungent soft cheese with a washed rind, made with local artisan mead and occasionally washed with Eden Ice Cider. Elmore is a delicious fresh cream cheese available in local markets in plain, sundried-tomato garlic, and chive. Marisa recommends making a baked brie out of the Hartwell, with a Vermont twist. She bakes the brie and tops it with local maple butter, chopped nuts and homemade jam, using fresh Elmore Mountain bread for dipping.