Vermonters create Dinner Specials: Indian & Farm-to-Table Cuisine!

This June, visit the Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast near Ludlow, VT to enjoy two spectacular dinners specially prepared for you by Vermont cooks!  The first will be authentic, homemade Indian cuisine; the second will be a Vermont farm-to-table dinner sourced with fresh, organic ingredients from local farms and fields.  Our specials page will tell you how to book your dinner reservation along with your room or one of our spring specials and packages.  Read on to find out more…but be warned in advance that your mouth may water!

June 7th, 2014: Authentic Indian Food with Lini Mazumdar of Anjali Farm and Lotus Moon Medicinals

lini-at-vermont-farmers-market-indian-cuisineOn June 7th, prepare your taste buds for a trip to India…while spending the evening at our Vermont Inn.  Lini Mazumdar has won the Amateur Chef Competition at the Taste of Vermont’s Stratton Festival in both 2013 and 2014.  She lives and works on Anjali Farm with her husband and is passionate about sourcing organic ingredients and Vermont local foods as the season permits.  Experience her talent firsthand through the Golden Stage Inn’s special Authentic Indian Cuisine Experience.  Arrive around 6:00 pm to enjoy appetizers & beverages, and to meet Lini and watch her cook in the Golden Stage Inn’s open kitchen!  Dinner will be served around 8:00 pm, and recipes will be provided for you to take home with you.

 

 

The evening’s menu will consist of:

  • Daal (Indian stewed lentils)
  • Basmati Rice
  • Spiced vegetables
  • A meat dish
  • Raita (seasoned yogurt dip)

Here are some sample dishes from her website to give you an idea of what you might see at our first Vermont dinner evening:

  • Basmati Rice with peas and onions
  • Red Lentil Daal with carrots and cilantro
  • Braised greens and garlic-y potatoes
  • Carrot and apple Raita
  • Chicken with ginger-cumin tomato sauce
  • Aromatic mixed grain pilaf
  • Green mung bean Daal with ginger & garlic
  • Homemade Paneer with spinach or peas
  • Fresh beet-root Raita
  • Ground lamb with mint, potatoes and peas
Fresh tomatoes from Anjali Farms during Vermont Farm Trail's 2011 Dinner

Fresh tomatoes from Anjali Farms during Vermont Farm Trail’s 2011 Community Harvest Picnic

Lini Mazumdar also specializes in herbs, as she is a certified Herbalist through the Southwestern School of Botanical Medicine.  She is a certified Ayurvedic Nutrition Consultant and caters Indian food for local Vermonters.  She has created organic Vermont herbal products for sixteen years.  Since moving to Vermont, she has cooked her delicious and healthful Indian cuisine using Vermont local foods and fresh, organic ingredients.  Her passion for plants, organic practices, and medicine translates into the health-inspiring and palate-delighting dinners she creates.  Learn more about her business, Lotus Moon Medicinals.  Anjali Farm has hosted Vermont farm-to-table events and dinners, including…

  • Vermont Farm Trail’s “Community Harvest Picnic” with Chefs Amy Chamberlain, Mike Noyes and Jason Tostrup in 2011
  • Mach’s Traveling Pizza Oven Night in 2009
  • “A Chef’s Harvest” with Chef Michael Noyes in 2007
  • and The Vermont Fresh Network’s very first on-site farm dinner in 2005!

June 21st, 2014: Vermont Farm-to-Table Dinner with Chef Nicholas Matush

By late June, farmer’s markets in Vermont will be packed with fresh local produce.  The best way to enjoy the bounty?  Kick back for a delectable five-course meal created by one of Vermont’s very best local cooks.  Nicholas Matush creates stunning dinners using Vermont local foods including meat, dairy, vegetables and more. You may even get a taste of Mad Pickler products, grown and pickled at Nick’s homestead in Springfield, VT!

Nicholas Matush graduated from New England Culinary School’s satellite campus in the British Virgin Islands.  His passion for food extends beyond the kitchen to the farm and soil.  He strives to create meals that please not only the palate, but also the artistic and aesthetic senses.

Nicholas Matush has worked at several fine dining and farm-to-table restaurants across the country, including Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys and Joseph’s Table in Taos, New Mexico.  Internationally, he was Sous Chef at Brandywine Bay Restaurant in the British Virgin Islands.  He was honored to be Chef Davide Pugliese’s sous-chef at the James Beard House in 2010.  Recently, he has started getting back in touch with the land, creating a pickling business called The Mad Pickler.  See below to admire some of Nick’s recent homemade meals!

vermont-local-foods-gourmet-meal

Picante gazpacho with pesto crostini

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Ramps ravioli with brown butter, fiddlehead ferns, and Mad Pickler’s herbal beets

Gypsy Mussels with kalamata olives, Mad Pickler's hot peppers, tomato, garlic and grilled Orchard Hill Country Loaf

Gypsy Mussels with kalamata olives, Mad Pickler’s hot peppers, tomato, garlic and grilled Orchard Hill Country Loaf

 

BYOB cocktail hour for both events starts at 6pm.  Tickets are $50 each, and are limited in supply.  Please order in advance to assure your spot!  We hope to do more dinners like this in the future to support local agriculture and the Vermont farm-to-table movement.  Don’t forget to look into our Road Trip Package or Foodies Getaway to make the most of your spring vacation in Vermont!

A Maple Syrup Vacation in Vermont

It’s finally here!  Sugaring season in Vermont kicks off with the Maple Syrup Open House Tour this weekend.

Taking a maple syrup trip is certainly a vacation off the beaten path – and one well worth it!  Vermont is a state that knows how to do its festivals right.  If getting out and getting active during the chilly days of March isn’t enough of a reason to stay at Golden Stage Inn during sugaring season, here’s a whole list…

Maple-Sap-Buckets-Vermont-bed-and-breakfast

Maple Madness at Woodstock, VT will add excitement to your Vermont maple syrup tour.

Go crazy with all the fun events planned in the quaint Vermont village of Woodstock.  Eat maple butter popcorn on the green and participate in a scavenger hunt…maybe you’ll win a basket full of maple prizes!  For any cyclists out there, an Epic Bike Ride on Sunday will connect you between sugarhouses.  A sap bucket auction will be great fun for art collectors as local Vermont artists have individually painted each one.

Real-Maple-Syrup-near-Vermont-bed-and-breakfast

Tour several great sugar houses just down the road from the Golden Stage Inn.

Green Mountain Sugar House will be open both days from 10 am to 5 pm and boiling with modern equipment, weather permitting.  All day there will be free Sugar-on-Snow, coffee, and donuts with maple cream for visitors.  Papa John’s Sugar Shack in Mount Holly is also very close by our Bed & Breakfast and will have free maple cotton candy.  In the other direction, you can get to Mitch’s Maple in Chester to learn about the process of sugaring from tapping to the finished product.

2014 brings new developments to the Maple Syrup Industry in Vermont!

This year, Vermont has adopted a new grading system of maple syrup.  During your maple vacation, learn the difference by taste.  Do you prefer Golden with a Delicate Taste, or Very Dark with Strong Taste?  How do you know which one to use for pancakes versus baking?  You may also learn about the new technique of tapping maple saplings, which increases the amount of maple syrup produced per acre tenfold!

maple-syrup-grades-2014-vermont

Vermont books and radio will tell you the detailed story of maple syrup.

A maple syrup tour wouldn’t be complete without the story behind the product.  Listen to VPR’s program about the changes in maple sugaring over the past couple centuries.  A rebroadcast of VPR’s 2002 maple program profiles modern day maple sugar producers and features a song by Pete Seeger called “Maple Syrup Time.”  Two of Vermont’s best books about maple syrup and sugaring will be out in the Golden Stage Inn’s cozy living room for you to enjoy during your down time.

And last but not least, Vermont maple syrup is the way to go for any and all maple recipes!

Bring your maple syrup tour back home with you in a bottle and try out all types of recipes from the websites below.

Maple Syrup Goes to Dinner – And Drinks from NPR’s ‘The Kitchen Window’ has two dinner recipes, a maple pecan pie recipe, and shows you how to make “The Old Vermont Cocktail.”

The Vermont Sugar Maker’s Association has nineteen different tried and true recipes using VT maple syrup.  Some of them include videos to show you the cooking process in detail.

Finally, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has compiled a lengthy list of maple syrup recipes from Vermont residents and businesses.  The first recipe is from a bed and breakfast owner!

vermont-maple-leaf-syrup-trip

Extend the winter season with a maple tour of Vermont.  The Golden Stage Inn can recommend the best places and events near our Ludlow bed and breakfast, as well as some unique maple products found nowhere but Vermont!  All images used in this blog post are courtesy vpr.net.
A Beekeeping Workshop with Renowned Vermont Natural Beekeeper

Honey bees are an essential fact of the innkeeping life here at Golden Stage Bed and Breakfast.

Our hive tours entertain and educate guests; the harvest season brings folks from far and near to our annual Honey Harvest Festival; and, of course, the golden reward of raw honey from the inn’s backyard sweetens guests’ morning tea and breakfast treats year-round.

Golden Stage Inn Honey bee hives in winter

Julie and I attended a natural beekeeping conference this weekend with renowned organic beekeeper Ross Conrad of Dancing Bee Gardens in Middlebury, Vermont.  Ross Conrad wrote the first book in the United States about organic beekeeping practices, so naturally we had to check this out!  The beekeeping workshop was part of Grafton Nature Museum’s 2014 Adult and Family Programs.  The theme this year is ‘The Birds and the Bees.’  Conrad also did a presentation for this series that Julie attended a few weeks ago about Colony Collapse Disorder.  Coming up this week is a talk with Sara Zahendra about Native Bumblebees, and on April 9th, Bridget Butler ‘The Bird Diva’ will present a workshop on bird-watching!

So, back to the organic beekeeping workshop…

Though I have not yet started my own backyard beekeeping, I figured I could still pick up some advice or inspiration from the talk.  Sure enough, I walked away with my head positively buzzing with knowledge and excitement about keeping bees.  Here, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I learned from Ross Conrad!

  1. Treat your bees well.  Some people buy hives with the expectation of having a low-maintenance pet.  Bees should be cared for just as you would any other livestock or living creature.  Visit their hives once a week; be attune to their state of health; do what is natural and good for the bees rather than simply caring about the size of your honey harvest.
  2. To begin beekeeping, learn by doing!  As a beginning beekeeper myself, I really took this message to heart.  I can attend as many talks as I want, and read every book about bees, but that will not make me a good beekeeper!  The best way to learn beekeeping is to do it.  Just as in real life, we must learn from our failures.  Conrad said, “When your hive fails, that colony was giving you a gift.  They are helping you learn from your mistakes and be a better beekeeper in the future.”  A beekeeper must take that opportunity to learn – to evaluate what went wrong and how she or he can do better next time.  There are local beekeeping clubs to help you get started with networking all across the country.
  3. There is no correct way to keep bees.  Every beekeeper has their own method.  Some are organic, some use pesticides.  Some are hobby beekeepers, some are commercial.  Everyone has their own philosophy and rules when it comes to honey bees, and you will figure out your own once you spend time with your hives.
  4. Always control for mites. Ross Conrad’s three priorities with raising bees are health, honey and dryness.  Keeping your bees healthy comes first!  If you do nothing for varroa mites, which every hive will inevitably deal with, your bees will have weakened immune systems.  This means their chances of succumbing to diseases, pests or difficult weather conditions will be threatened.  Conrad listed many ways of controlling for varroa mites organically, so that your bees and honey are not exposed to pesticides or toxins.
  5. If you hold a bee in your hand, the world will be beautiful… because beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder!

Dancing Bee Gardens Raw Honey

Visit Vermont to meet the honey bees at Golden Stage Inn bed and breakfast and sample some local honey!  Stay tuned to hear about our bee installation this spring.

Vermont Zombie Honey Bees caused by Parasitic Fly

The honey bees at the Golden Stage Inn are waiting out the winter to make another delicious batch of local Vermont honey this summer, but always on a backyard beekeeper’s mind is the threat of what is known as “Colony Collapse Disorder.” While the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder remains a mystery and may be more complicated than one simple answer, a parasitic fly may have something to do with it. Before October 2013, this parasite had not been observed any further East than South Dakota…but a recent spotting will cause concern for Vermont beekeepers this summer. The phenomenon of ‘Zombie Bees’ (or even ‘ZomBees‘) has reached Vermont and now threatens the East Coast. See where Zombie Honey Bees have been spotted across the United States using this map, and visit www.zombiewatch.org to help monitor the spread of the ZomBee syndrome through citizen science.

Vermont Zombie Honey Bee killed by Parasitic Fly

Save our pollinators!

The parasitic fly causing the zombie-like infection is called Apocephalus borealis, and has been known since the 1920′s as a parasite of yellow jackets and bumble bees. John Hafernik discovered that the zombie fly infected honey bees as well in 2008, just two years after colony collapse disorder began to affect honey bees and their hives. Apocephalus borealis lays its eggs in the stomach of the honeybee. The infected honey bee leaves its hive, exhibiting symptoms such as nocturnal activity, attraction to light, and disoriented, spasmodic movement. It is this convulsive movement that the term “ZomBee” came from, as the bees move very similarly to zombies in Hollywood movies. They are not actually undead; they simply appear to be. When the eggs hatch, the honey bee dies. Unfortunately, Vermont was the first state in the East Coast to record a sighting of this parasitic attack back in October 2013 in Burlington. It is unknown whether these Vermont zombie honey bees are an isolated case or a forewarning of more Apocephalus borealis infestations to come.

Colony collapse disorder is a serious threat to both backyard beekeepers and large-scale, commercial beekeepers. Since 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables we eat depend upon bees to be pollinated, this disorder doesn’t just affect the insects – it affects our cuisine and nutrition as people!  Vermont zombie honey bees may be a new threat to beehives across Vermont or even New England, which is why it’s important to continue research and become a beekeeper! Even if you are not a beekeeper and don’t plan on keeping honeybees, you can help in other ways. Purchase local Vermont honey as your sweetener. Welcome beekeepers to your community. Know what chemicals and pesticides have been found to harm honey bees and contribute to colony collapse disorder. Plant a bee-friendly garden with native wildflowers. Learning about bees is not just environmentally-conscious…it is fascinating and fun!!

Bzzzz. -Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn Undead Insect Researcher

Northern Stage presents “Good People”

Now through March 23rd, take a trip to Northern Stage, located in Briggs Opera House at White River Junction, Vermont. Northern Stage is a 45 minute drive north of our Southern Vermont Bed and Breakfast. The show Good People opened on March 5th, and will be playing through March 23rd. This contemporary drama is set in South Boston and, like any good piece of theater, tells of hardship and struggle. A working class woman loses her job and faces real challenges with a warm heart, dancing around the question of what makes a person a good person. The classic American story blends humor with humanity, suspense with social inquiry. See a preview of rehearsal and commentary below! As they say in the video, “Good People” is one of the most produced plays in America this year; it is a treat to have this show running at Northern Stage in Vermont!

The script was written by Pulitzer prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, and the show is directed by Carol Dunne. Tickets are $15-60, with group rates available.
A stunning review of Northern Stage’s “Good People” in the Rutland Herald called the main lead “a fully dynamic perfomance…with flair,” and said the production was the best since 2012. Stay at our Southern Vermont Bed and Breakfast on your way to the play, and make an evening of it with dinner at a nearby restaurant in White River Junction, such as Elixir or Tuckerbox. Coming next to Northern Stage in April…the Spitfire Grill!

Action!

-Sophi Veltrop, Golden Stage Inn Secretary of the Arts

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