Local Heart, Global Soul

November 1, 2009

Vermont v’s Dutch cheese, the battle of curds and whey…

Cabot1 (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are in the small Vermont town of Cabot, and have just completed the factory tour of the cheese making facility.  Now comes the good bit.. the tasting , where we can get down the business of rating Vermont Cheeses against the ones we are used to eating back home in The Netherlands.

First let’s look at the cheeses that American’s call ” Sharp” … they mean ” old cheese” by this, and it’s supposed to have some age and a less mild, sharper taste.  Hmmm… I tasted them, tasted again and quizzed hubby so that we would compare notes.

The result to us both is very obvious.. ” sharp” in the American sense is like  a month old puppy attempting to gnaw your finger off.. ” sharp” in the Dutch sense is like a pit bull inhaling your entire arm and not letting go.

I think that if I took a wheel or two of decently aged “sharp” Dutch cheese to any large shopping mall  in the USA and gave away free samples, the recipients wouldn’t know what hit their taste buds.

“Shock”  probably wouldn’t even come close.

Cabot2g (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot2h (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot1w (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Aged cheese for me almost always means a crumbly cheese… it’s a by-product of the aging process… I didn’t see any ” sharp” cheese in the USA that was anything less than gently rubbery in form. A lightly aged cheese (Dutch style) is usually quite dry in texture, a very good aged one is parched in comparison, and for the uninitiated might take some years of taste testing to get used to as the flavours are bold, in a rich, deep and forceful way.

These are the kind of cheeses that requires careful planning of your after dinner digestive drinks and wines  to compliment your cheeses on offer, and NOT  the planning your cheese to compliment your wines. The difference between this is subtle, and will illustrate clearly which of the two is the star of the show.

Cabot1a (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot1g (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

So… that’s our opinion of Vermont’s finest ” sharp” cheese, for us even those labeled “extra sharp” or “seriously sharp”  were  not really sharp at all, just maybe less mild than the cheddars on offer (which are mega super mild). If that’s what the local market knows and likes, then hey, more power to them, but  after tasting  sharp cheese here I have just considerably upped my respect for the lady who’s been stashing her cheese away at home for some serious aging,  amid the bemused smiles of her colleagues… surely she must have some Dutch blood in her family tree somewhere?

Kudos to you dear lady!

Cabot1b (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

One thing that you can not accuse Cabot Creamery of, is stinginess.. there are a multitude of cheeses on offer and when the supply is low they replenish liberally.  Of course that meant that we need to indulge around the tasting table,  as we needed to know which cheeses would make it to the ” gotta-buy-this-one”  list.
The herbed cheeses fared better in our estimation … tomato basil was nice and so was the one with jalapeno’s in it … but  since we couldn’t all agree, these ones didn’t make it onto our purchase list.

Cabot1v (Small)

Cabot1c (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We do end up with a nice  not-so-small stash of cheeses to take with us.. some as far as the car park intended for a picnic lunch in the car, and some to take back to our hosts in Maine.

I especially liked the Sage cheese, a limited edition cheese… the garlic cheese was divine… we bought several herb cheeses, also some herb and onion dips that Cabot have out in the shop as experimental lines to gauge the publics response before producing them on a larger scale… Cabot.. if you are reading this, This Public loved those 🙂

Cabot3o (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot3t (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Yes we bought a “seriously sharp” as well … and crackers, and abandoned the plan of finding a playground because it was now raining hard outside… so we camp in the car and enjoy our lunch whilst the rain streams down the windows. Afterwards I dash though the rain to get the kids some small tubs of Ben & Jerry’s… and with tummy’s full and everyone happy we head for Route 2 EAst  that will wind our way all the way back to central Maine.

Cabot4b (Small)

October 31, 2009

The gentle art of making Cheese in Cabot, Vermont.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
Cabot1o (Small) (2)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot Creamery in the small town of Cabot is the resulting business  of when family-owned Vermont dairy farmers  coordinated themselves into a cooperative.

Basically they make Cheddar cheeses, there are factory tours and  I’ve picked out this destination as the place I would  really like to see today.

Hubby and the kids give me a look that says ..  What ! really???? won’t that be boooooring? but humour me anyway.

We arrive and find that there is a tour starting in just a few minutes so perfect timing.

I’m of course keen to see if what they tout as ” the worlds best cheddar” actually tastes when pitted against the many brilliant cheeses that I have eaten in Europe, and how what American’s call ” sharp cheese” compares to it’s Dutch counterparts ” oud  boeren kaas ” (Old farmhouse cheese). I’m interested in seeing the  New World v’s Old World taste battle commence.

Cabot1h (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot1l (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot1p (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot1r (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot2b (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

More than 200 Dutch farmhouses make their own cheeses and age them, and the taste varies considerably from farmhouse to farmhouse because each one has a slightly different way of dealing with the cheese process. Therefore like most Dutch, we have rather naturally gotten totally spoilt when it comes buying  and appreciating young and old  cheeses.

Cabot2l (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The tour starts with a film outlining the history and formation of the co-operative, the cheese making process and their way of working within the cooperative. Although the nuts and bolts of cheese making are not new to me, I still learn a lot because this is not one farm with milk from the cows going into the cheese made on the premises but rather a finely tuned business where all the cogs and wheels of people, materials and machines  have to be turning in unison together to get the desired finished product to a local markets.. or within the State or across the United States.

Cabot2w (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot2z (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot3b (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The we tour the factory itself… everything from robots what do a whole part of the process… to semi automated lines, we see the curds being aerated and salt added and the whey being removed.

Most of the cheese is packaged in very large blocks for distribution and will be repackaged in smaller blocks later once it’s reached it’s destination. This ensures that the highest quality is maintained.  Luckily a robotic machine does the staking of the boxes onto pallets because these are heavy duty hunks of cheese. Of course the factory process means that the ” wheel” of cheese so typical to Dutch shops is totally absent, and they don’t appear to age their cheeses very much at all.

Cabot3e (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot3k (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Cabot3j (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

During the tour it is mentioned that one lady staff member has a very large block of cheese aging nicely at home for several years now… and the man smiled and laughed at this like it was seen as a bit of a joke.  My first most instant thought was ” How wrong he is to smirk, and how excellent that this lady staff member actually understands that aging her cheese is deepening and refining the flavours… and quietly making cheese magic as she patiently waits. Bravo !”

The quality control people are busy in their little room.. .

Cabot3n (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

It’s good to see a cheese making establisment taking such pride in their work and in their product, that bodes well for the tasting session.  I hope that the tasting lives up to the expectations that are building as we tour the premesis. There will be cheese tasting at the end of the tour….  so we follow our friendly and informative guide with great anticipation for a little Quality Control session of our own !

October 30, 2009

Seen in Vermont.. is it a house? is it a toy?…

(photo © kiwidutch)We head back to the car parking area at Morse Farm.

Before we can leave, the kids spy a small playground on the farm close by … there  are swings and a large old tractor for the kids to play on, the questioning  looks on their faces say it all… they are delighted when we find that there would be time for them to play for a little while.

Next to this playground  is a rather amazing building, too small to be a real building and too big to be any kind of toy and  it is housed under a structure with a roof to protect it from the elements. We go down to investigate and discover that it is in fact a “ float” .. a trailer to be towed behind a vehicle in a parade. The building on it  is a scale replica of the Vermont State House building in Montpelier, and benieth it  is  advertised the work of the Kiwanis Organisation.

So who are the Kiwanis?

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

The name “Kiwanis” means “we trade” or “we share our talents” and was coined from an American Indian expression, Nunc Kee-wanis. This was originally the motto of Kiwanis, translated as “We build.” The current motto is “serving the children of the world”.

Kiwanis tries to serve children and youth using two approaches. One attempts to improve the quality of life directly through activities promoting health, education, etc. The other tries to encourage leadership and service among youth. In pursuit of the latter goal, Kiwanis sponsors about 7,000 youth service clubs with nearly 320,000 youth members.

Kiwanis members have tried to help shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, mentor the disadvantaged, and care for the sick. They have built playgrounds and raised funds for pediatric research.

I didn’t know of this Organization before this trip,  and now  we realise that we have seen quite a few “Kiwanis”  signs throughout  our travels here… Excellent to see communities  working hard to support children in need.

morse farm float1f (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

morse farm float1e (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

morse farm float1d (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

morse farm float1c (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

morse farm float1a (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

What a lovely little work of art… Our thoughts turn slowly towards lunch and with that in mind, we set out sight on navigating the way to a small town further up the road called Cabot.

October 28, 2009

Morse Farm Sugarworks; Montpelier, Vermont.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
Maple sugar1t (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

OK, so there all these maple sugar trees out there and then there are these little containers of finished maple syrup … but how is the transition made between the two?  Luckily for us each step of the process is outlined next to the machines used in the process… so here’s how…

Plastic tubing  has replaced the sap bucket. Stretched from tree to tree, the tubing lets gravity do the work. Vacuum pumps are used by some sugar makers on days when the sap is lethargic about running.

This piggyback unit, using the steam from the boiling in the Flue Pan below, preheats and aerates the sap to increase it’s sugar concentration.

The sap, now heated to 180  degrees Fahrenheit, and concentrated into 4% sugar content,  enters the Flue Pan though a flat valve at a rate of 200 gallons per hour.

The Flue pan is designed with   deep corrugations along it’s bottom, allowing the flames to come into direct contact with a larger surface area. This results in a faster boil than with a traditional flat-bottomed pan.

Boiling sap, now at a approximately 10% sugar content, enters at the Flue Pan for finishing in the Front Pan. The Front Pan has a flat bottom and 6 interconnected channels.

Maple sugar1e (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Ever-sweetening sap travels though the Front Pan’s maze as it boils. The Flue Pan’s violent watery boil changes to a slower candy-like boil as the sap changes to syrup at the end of the maze.

Maple sugar1r (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar1s (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

After about 90 minutes finished syrup begins to trickle from the Front Pan. It now weighs 11 pounds per gallon, has a 67% sugar content, and has been boiled to 7 degrees above the boiling point of water (219 F).

The hot syrup is filtered to remove ” Niter”  a grainy mineral material from the maple trees. It’s then ready tpo grade and put into barrels for canning and further processing.

Maple sugar1v (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar1i (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The heat required to boil  40 gallons of sap down to make 1 gallon of syrup is supplied by a wood chip gasification system, – a clean, energy efficient, environmentally friendly way to use Vermont forest products ( trees!)

(they appear to have  forgotten to add, “renewable” to that list too) …

Maple sugar2w (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2x (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The Morse Sugarworks  website gives the following information :


Old timers say that we get a run of sap for every day of January thaw. Most years we get a January thaw and its duration can be measured in one, two, or three days. The sugar season, which occurs mid March thru mid April, always consists of one, two, or three runs.

On the average, it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup. We drill 1 tap hole in each of our maple trees, which gives 10 gallons of sap in an average year. So, 4 maple trees, 40 to 200 years old, are needed to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.

Maple sap is 2% sugar and weighs 8.35 lbs. per gallon
Maple syrup is 66.9% sugar and weighs 11 lbs per gallon
One gallon of maple syrup makes 7 lbs of maple sugar
Maple syrup contains 50 calories per Tablespoon
Corn syrup contains 60 calories per Tablespoon

Maple sugar2y (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2z (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar1w (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks
1168 County Rd
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 223-2740
http://www.morsefarm.com/

October 27, 2009

Where Sugar literally grows on trees ! ….

Maple sugar2f (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are in Vermont,  where trees abound.. but  not just any trees… the Sugar Maple.

We are dropping in to visit one of the oldest Maple Sugar works  in Vermont. First generation immigrants were taught how to tap maple trees for sugar by the Native Americans.

The sap was heated until only the sugar remained, and the success of this method meant that a years supply of sugar could be boiled,  assuring them self-sufficiency  in sugar production and less dependence  on imported sugar.

Once improved transportation helped bring cheap sugar from the South of the USA, the sugar makers in the North began to boil their sugar less, leaving it in the syrup stage which was very popular.

Even though the syrup was no longer technically ” sugar”  the name still stuck and that’s why the making of Maple Sugar from the sugar maple is still called “sugarin’ today ….”

We go into a wooden shed where a video is set up and we learn all about the history of maple sugar making… explained by one of the oldest generations of the family in terms, accent  and language  typical to the Vermont country lifestyle.

Maple sugar1 (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

A closer look reveals a wonderful sense of humour…

Maple sugar1a (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2e (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I was surprised to see that the sugar house building  itself was not some modern smooth, insulated building, but rather rustic, made of wood and with gaps in the walls and roof, open to the elements in places. We discovered that there is a very good reason for this.. the heat for the sugar process is provide by wood burning, and there is a LOT of heat produced in sugar making.  The  very rustic construction of  the building  allows the large buildup of steam that is built up during the sugaring process to escape though all the cracks and gaps…

Maple sugar2k (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Let me show you around….

Some of the equipment used in the past…

Maple sugar1c (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar1d (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2c (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2b (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2j (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2o (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Maple sugar2n (Small)

(photo © kiwidutch)

 

 

October 26, 2009

Thatcher Brook Inn, starting the day with…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
thatcher brook2a (Small)

(photo © Kiwidutch)

We have just spent the night at the Thatcher Brook Inn,  in the small town of Waterbury, Vermont. It’s a very comfortable nights sleep but a short  one since we have to make an early start.

Thatcher Brook Inn was built in 1899 in the style of an Victorian mansion by  lumber baron Stedman Wheeler and named after the small brook that flows close by. The Inn is also listed on the Vermont register of Historic buildings. The building is certainly lovely, the room  is large enough for the massive double bed and the pull-out sofa bed without us falling over one another.

Our room is in one of the “wings” of the building and sports a wooden veranda and rocking chairs, the dining room is a short walk though the main part of the building via a mini maze of rooms, and then if you continue  further on the other side of the dining room, there is at least one more wing, several other buildings which I assume houses more guest rooms. I take a few photos from the outside.

I like the stained glass in the dining room, and I like even more the wonderful cupboard that is set fully into the wall, what an excellent way to use the space!

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We order breakfast: French Toast  and fruit for me,

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Pancakes and fruit  for daughter…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

and scrambled eggs and sasuage for Hubby and Mr. Four.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We have plans for a very full trip ahead of us so it’s up and about early and into breakfast bright and early. I must say that we were a little surprised that this Inn had so many apparent rave reviews about food… yes the surroundings are beautiful, but the food was rather ordinary. As a foodie I was full but a little disappointed at just how “regular” it all was. I can only assume that they serve everyday American Menu favourites because that’s what people want. It might have been very interesting indeed to have had the opportunity to eat dinner here.. sadly with the dining room not in action at the present time so it was not to be.  If I could make an analogy it would be a little like we expected the food to be the icing on the cake but instead the cake was very plain indeed and unglazed. Oh well can’t win them all.

The atmosphere definitely made up for it… we would have liked to stay longer but  it’s not possible this trip.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Thatcher Brook Inn
1017 Waterbury Stowe Rd.
PO Box 490
Waterbury, VT 05676
(800) 292-5911

October 25, 2009

Thatcher Brook Inn, Waterbury, Vermont.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We  are now truly tired after our day of traveling  and extravagant  ice cream dinner… there are some major chain hotels somewhere down the road but to be honest we are just too tired to be bothered to drive  into town to find them. A small distance down the road from Ben & Jerry’s is an Inn… yes they have a room, so this is where we are going to collapse into bed tonight.

As is often standard in American Hotels, there are often two double beds in one room, so both our kids can share one double whilst Hubby and I take the other. Sometimes the second double bed comes in the form of  a couch, pull-out bed, and in this is the case when we arrive here. At first the kids pounce on the big double, claiming it for themselves and only after a quick glance does it occur to them that Hubby and I have to sleep somewhere too,  Four year old hasn’t actually ever seen a couch bed in the process of being folded out before, so is wide eyed when we begin taking off the bigger cushions and then with a few deft pulls the new bed unfolds before his eyes.  Note:  Dear parents amongst you, there is often no need to resort to large expensive toys to impress when sometimes the most mundane household item will do the trick very well indeed.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Mr. Four thought that this was truly a work of magic and was even more impressed when he found it was too heavy for him to try and do too… So with one small effort Hubby and I were strong and wise beyond measure and our little boy delighted in ” helping” get the extra blanket and pillows out of the cupboard. This kind of “helping”  actually means denuding the bed of the sheets that are neatly tucked into it  in his haste to scramble from one side to the other to even up the blanket. After remaking their bed completely we then focused our attention to the rest of the room.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

The cupboard… wardrobe, “Closet” … was another source of wonder, double bi-fold doors and massive. Why don’t we have these at home too? our kids demand. Well… mostly because to fit this into our Dutch apartment we would have to do away with other somewhat necessary bits and bobs.. like a  bathroom or the smallest bedroom, or my minuscule  kitchen. I told them that a place to eat, keep ourselves clean and sleep were actually far  more fundamental to the practicalities of existence  and a far bigger priority than a cupboard big enough run in one door and out the other… OK, so I didn’t use exactly those words, I told them that they could have such a cupboard if one of them would be prepared to sleep in the portiek (entrance landing/doorway to our apartment) Not so surprisingly the idea of having a cupboard like this at home died swiftly after that.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

It’s nice to see a tub in the bathroom… I’m a shower kind of  Gal, but Himself is partial to a good hot soak in suds every now and again so he had first dibs on the bath as soon as we got the bags inside and the foldout bed sorted. It’s only 7.30pm but we are all tired from a long day travels, and the excitement of an ice-cream dinner, suddenly we all decide we are still bit peckish,  we inquire if  it’s possible to have dinner here… sadly the restaurant at the Inn  isn’t open at all tonight.

We have been carting around an unopened family pack of salt and vinegar potato crisps for the last 4 days and the only other option is the remnants of  a family bag of raw carrots..  Ha ! doesn’t take rocket science to figure out which one we chose 🙂

The Salt and Vinegars put the finishing touches on the ” unhealthiest-dinner-we-have-ever-eaten” and on a grand day.

We have a few storybooks packed, and all sit cuddled together reading them until little Mr’s head droops lower and lower. A short but determined bout of teeth brushing  and the kids are dispatched into bed, their eyes shutting pretty much as soon as they hit the pillows. Sweet dreams of Ice-cream methinks.

Hubby and I hit the sack not much later…it’s been an excellent if  rather unusual day.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

October 24, 2009

Hey Ben & Jerry: Jamaican Me Crazy with your Half Baked Karamel Sutra…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are Touring the original Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury in the north of Vermont USA. Our kids are a little too young to appreciate the finer points of ice-cream production:  they are just itching to get to the finished product, while I’m enjoying the Tour a lot.

There’s a video show of the whole history and evolution of the company and I get out the camera and grab some stills. I learn that there is a lot more to the Ben & Jerry’s than I thought, and I’m liking very much their style of business, from the treatment of their staff (every staff member gets a free ration of ice-cream  weekly as part of the job) The young man who’s showing us around tells us that when the ice creams are being changed from one flavour to another on the line there is always an initial first batch of ice-cream where the amounts if the “goodies” that are going into it are too few or too much… these mishap samples are shared out amongst staff .

Small mercies that my daughter hadn’t been listening properly to the man, she would have been constantly begging me to give up my job and come and work here just so that she could get ice-cream that’s been rejected for having too many chocolate bits in it !

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Luckily for me she was distracted, playing with her little brother making dry finger trails on the glass of the factory viewing wall as they tried to emulate the path that the pots of ice-cream on the conveyor belt below were taking. The conveyor belts are moving swiftly so the kids have no hope in keeping up.  Still, it keep them busy for a bit, and more importantly, quiet as the rest of the group are listening to the information from our guide.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I like very much the fact that all milk is tested for animal growth hormones before it arrives here because the company has a strict policy that bans the use of hormones in their milk, I like that even though this is now an International conglomerate that’s now owned by the Dutch giant Unilever, that much of the family feel of the business has been retained. .. maybe that’s specific to this small town in Vermont?

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Did you know that if there is a Ben&Jerry’s Scoop Shop by you, that all around the World they have an annual Free Cone Day?

Yep.. a fee ice-cream cone, just to say “Thanks for being a customer”. We are told that ¨Mother’s Day¨ was to be the Day.. but I’m not completely certain if it will be exactly the same day  for us back in the Netherlands.

There is a scoop shop in Scheveningen if I remember correctly so I will have to ask next time I am in the vacinity. Hmmm I’ve just looked on the Wiki website and they mention that Free Cone Day sometimes co-incides with Earth Day… I’ll definitely have to do some detective work to find out when it will be in a Scoop Shop close to us.  It’s  at the beach:  a solid  but do-able hike from our place and it would be a nice surprise for our kids at the end.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I was also impressed at just how much this company invests in the local community, education and good causes… philanthropy being very high on Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield’s agenda, and also their commitment to environmental issues … the conveniences here are just one example of these thoughts put into practice and so is their Eco-Pint packaging.  Chocolate and nut ingredients in several flavours are all “Fair Trade” too which means that small farmer in developing countries are paid a decent price for what they grow and not undercut as large conglomerates are often apt to do.

One thing that I learned via Wiki is ” They renamed a flavor, Yes Pecan, in reference to Barack Obama’s winning the presidency.They also decided in January of 2009 to donate all proceeds made on the sale of that flavor to the Common Cause Education Fund.”

Who you voted for  is not the issue… rather  the idea that a company would take an idea like this and give an entire years  proceeds away to charity  is a nicely different attitude that you don’t see too much these days. OK, yes some other companies do also many charitable works and corporate sponsorship, but I particularly like how this ties into all the other things they do as well.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I definitely like their way of thinking and doing business.

Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby, Mission to Marzipan, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road, Banana’s on the Rum, Chocolate Therapy, Chunky Monkey, Half Baked and Karamel Sutra  are some of the excellently  imaginative names given to their flavours…

At the factory there is also a little ” Flavour Graveyard” for  flavours that have been discontinued, some of these… “Bohemian Raspberry , Minter Wonderland, Pulp Addiction, Monkey Wrench, Double Trouble, From Russia with Buzz, Phish Sticks , Karamel Sutra, and Fossil Fuel”  are just a few of the flavours that are now immortal.

Their collection of antique ice-cream scoops is also impressive…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Our Flavour of the Day in the tasting room was:Mint Chocolate Chunk and it got lip licking slurps of approval all round.

After the Tour we go outside to the area where you can order your icecream.. I don’t know where to start, the board of flavours is so big! I solve the problem by getting three tubs, each tub holds three scoops, each scoop a different flavor.. so three tubs, with a total of nine flavours. I have Four spoons and I take these back to a very eagerly waiting Kiwidutch family and we indulge in a very unusual ” It’s  Ice-cream for Dinner !!!”

We all agree that this dinner might just be one of  the most unusual dinners we have ever had… but with raw veggies the rest of the day we feel fine in delighting in our guilty pleasure.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

So we raise our spoons and salute you Ben and Jerry ! … not bad for a couple of guys who took a University  ice-cream making course by correspondence ! Bravo !

1281 Waterbury Stowe Rd Route 100
Waterbury, Vermont 05676
802-882-1240
http://www.benjerry.com

October 23, 2009

Heading North, it’s very hot … but with a whiff of ice in the air.

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We are heading North today… We have decided that since we now have an extra day up our sleeves that we will take the long way back to Maine, and we especially want to get off the bigger highways and spend some time seeing the “real” America behind the main roads.

Hubby would love to go to Rode Island since we are relatively close by (and add another State to his list of States visited). The bad news is that we see on the map that  this would mean that we would be more or less forced to go back via the heart of Boston, and not wanting to do that at this part of the trip, we instead  plan our route Northwards via Vermont instead.

This turns out to be a very wise move as the tail end of a very large storm lashes the Boston area and the Rode Island coast whilst we escape inland in sunshine.

Our Journey takes us  though Hartford Connecticut, then Massachusetts via  Springfield and Greenfield , and into the bottom of Vermont at  Brattelboro  and we hug the Vermont / New Hampshire border heading northwards for roughly half the length of the State and then turn inland because our destination is a place called  Waterbury, a small town just past the State Capitol of Montpelier. Why are we going to the small town of Waterbury?

Because it’s the home-town of Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

This car trip with the kids  is a bit  easier than the one down, (well to be honest anything would  have been an improvement on the trip down)  and I’ve given them a lecture on the necessity of good behavior before we set out for good measure.

But this time we have an extra tactic to keep the  young and the restless in the back seat in check…   …Bribery.

I have a very large family sized bag of raw carrot sticks and a large handful of baby cucumbers.  For myself I have a small pack  of baby tomatoes to nibble as well  and thus goes the journey. I tell the kids that if they eat carrots and cucumber for lunch in the car, then they can earn ice-cream at the end of the day.  “It’s an Ice-Cream factory kids, think ice-cream with a capital “I”.. as in  lots and lots of yummy ice-cream !”

Mr.Four likes carrots cooked, but has never had them raw before.. he complains, I encourage, he eats grudgingly …  after a while he complains again, OK, it’s not really a new taste but very much a new texture so I encourage more, I tell stories from the front seat of delicious ice-cream, wonderful ice-cream, big ice-cream. Both kids are grumbling but it’s working and  they are hanging on for the reward.

So… we reach Waterbury with all four of us now sick of the sight of raw carrots (for today at least) the cucumbers have been demolished with gusto, and ready and we are willing to tackle the very new taste sensations that are sure to be greeting us very soon … we are taking an Ice-cream tour !

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Now, first, a small detour to the conveniences… I did a double take when I went into the cubicle because the toilet water looked strange… then I read the notice on the wall and it all makes sense. Green sense.. well blue sense actually… but you know what I mean.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I like their eco-friendliness already… we have a wait a little bit until the next tour… the kids are both excited and tired but suddenly on their very best behaviour.. .  … hmmm   funny that !

Blog at WordPress.com.