Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Markets

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Almost 5:30 PM. The sun is down and a couple stars dot the sky. The last of the ice fishermen are making their way up from Peacham Pond. Soon the local folks will be back to their homes for the night and the road will become quiet. As the temperature continues to drop, the maples will shudder and creak and startle Karl the Wonder Dog as we make a quick evening call. If I'm tired or cold on that last walk of the night, I might startle too. Probably will.

I have many irons in the fire right now but a Facebook notice this morning from Artesano in Groton, Vermont, took an hour and a half out of my day. Artesano is a meadery that makes some special meads from local honey, fruit and maple syrup. The notice said they would be at the Groton Farmers Market selling limited quantities of three of their hand made ice creams. So on the coldest morning yet to be faced in this part of Vermont, I headed to Groton, over Route 232, a snow packed road that is growing frost heaves on a daily basis. I wanted some ice cream and not just any ice cream.

The third Saturday of each month the Groton community center becomes a farmers market. During the summer it is a weekly affair but through winter months they move to one day a month and shorten the hours to 10 to 1. I've been past a bazillion times but the lure of a taste of this coveted ice cream made me do it today.

Surprisingly--or maybe not-- there was no place to park when I arrived. The lot serves the fire station and also the town clerk's office which is part of the building well known in October for one of Vermont's most well attended chicken pie suppers. I sat in the truck for a couple minutes and then a couple came out, one using a walker, the other carrying a dozen eggs, a bag of dinner rolls and 1 buttercup squash. This is Vermont at its finest and the picture of this couple could have come from Peter Miller's Vermont People.

I walked up the back ramp and entered the door, stopping on the mat for my eyes to adjust. My ears could hear all sorts of activity and there were some good smells too but I couldn't see anything as my eyes adjusted from the bright snow to a room where electric lighting must have been on some sort of economic hold. In a shorter time than it seemed, I could see and I began walking about.

I found the blue cooler and the Artesano sign and the friendly face and smile I had grown accustomed to this past summer. The choices were a super rich dark chocolate, vanilla or Munson's Maple. I could have picked any one as I have no preference but I went with the maple as it is Alex's favorite. The hand packed cartons are quarts and that's not nearly enough once three people break out the spoons but like the economic hold on the lighting at the community center, I put a hold on treats. But this is worth it!

The Groton Farmers Market will continue through the winter on the same 3d Saturday of each month schedule until farmers have to break into their spring routine. Artesano is a different story and you should follow their Facebook page. The ice creams are melt-in-your-mouth delights while the meads including blueberry, raspberry, chili-cinnamon and spiced have a taste to be savored. Try some!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond as a gardener who has horticultural responsibilities that sometimes take a back burner to the scenes and stories, products and people of Vermont. If you can't live here, at least come visit!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
Social Networking Works!
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm

1 comment:

Neil Moran said...

Nice post, George. It sure conjures up a vision of what it must be like in your neck of the woods. And it makes me hungry for ice cream! Vanilla is my favorite. It's good to pause from our horticulture and other activities to just observe and comment on the wonderful, everyday things that happen around us, that often goes unnoticed. Stay warm!