Here at Vermont's Own we have been watching the YouTube unboxing trend unfold with somewhat baffled delight. Take a gander at what our digital manager has to say about a few Vermont Products we sent to her home last week. It really shows that we have the best time working together in an effort to gather up the best made products in the state and then the easy job of promoting such high-quality goods that practically sell themselves. We are always busy trying to keep our shelves stocked! We invite you to join the fun! Shop with us on Main Street in Middlebury or at VtsOwn.com!
A word from Vermont's Own Products owner Dana Franklin:
For the past five years, give or take, I have been venturing to Guilford, Vermont to learn more about how this liquid gold called maple syrup is made. Luckily for me, I have a cousin David Franklin and his wife Mary Ellen who have an organic dairy farm. They just-so-happen to produce maple syrup as part of their overall operation.
Farming these days, for smaller farmers like my cousins, is challenging. The way of life for those who love it, however, is rewarding. The joys of being in the fresh air, working in wide open spaces, and seeing the results of your labor, all outweigh the hardships. I grew up on a dairy farm myself and understand the sacrifices and challenges which must be made in order to make a living in this field, all in order to bring good quality fresh food to the public.
This year, my employee Danny came down to help out, meet the family, and see for himself how maple syrup is made. Everyone does sugaring a little bit differently, although the basics are pretty much the same—boiling maple tree sap down into maple syrup. It takes about 35 to 45 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, depending on the sugar content. At the Franklin Farm they tap their trees and hook hoses from the taps to a central vacuum line where it is accumulated in tanks down at the sugarhouse. At that point it is drawn into the evaporator which is where the boiling takes place. The sweet-smelling steam that rises from a classic sugar shack is intoxicatingly light and uplifting. Neighbors begin to pop in for samples of the fresh syrup which David generously supplies. They even help with the furnace and other chores as soon as they see the billowing cloud rising above the sugarhouse.
David and Mary Ellen bought the farm from David’s uncle and aunt about 30 years ago. They have become pillars of their local community and rarely pay for labor at the sugarhouse because neighbors, friends, and family are always glad to help. It’s refreshing to be on the farm. Though the Franklins may not pay in dollars for the assistance, they are generous in sharing maple syrup, organic beef, fresh eggs, and other farm products with the people who help them out, or they return the favor in other ways when they need help. It’s a true Vermont community at its best.
I’m not sure if they have a mission statement, but from my point of view, their mission is to preserve the Vermont way of life. They have a small store on the property where people enter and help themselves, making their purchases on the honor system, and in turn getting the freshest possible product. Though David and Mary Ellen started out doing farming the modern traditional way which was to make as much milk as possible, they discovered over time that they could do better with less effort and create a better product by going the organic route. Stringent requirements are firmly enforced to maintain organic status, but once in place the rewards are clear for a farm of this size. On the Franklin Farm, like many small farms, diversity is key. They sell wood, make maple syrup, produce milk, eggs and beef, and enjoy it all. If you’re ever down in Guilford, feel free to stop in and say hi, or to buy some of the freshest farm goods you can find.
Just a note: Some people feel that maple syrup all tastes the same, but after sampling from a few different sugar houses, fresh from the tap, and though we haven’t found a syrup we dislike yet, we can definitely tell the difference. You’ll find that the slow-cooked goodness of Franklin Farm maple syrup is smooth and rich with flavor notes and a finish of vanilla—definitely some gourmet quality syrup. Mmmmmmmm good! They have a limited supply so contact them at www.franklinfarm.net and to get some of the finest pure Vermont Maple Products.
We at Vermont’s Own source our maple syrup from a number of quality conscious producers with Purinton Maple (another family run operation) at the forefront. Runamok Maple is also a popular producer in our store due to the fact that they infuse their syrup with different flavors such as Ginger, Elderberry and Hibiscus. They also age their maple syrup in bourbon, rum, and rye barrels which creates a syrup with notes of the spirits it has been aged in to create a product that is delectable when paired with your favorite cheeses, ice cream or tea.
Getting to know our producers has always been very important to us because what we sell to our customers is very important to us. You can be assured that we don’t sell a product that we won’t stand behind. If you are ever in downtown Middlebury stop in and visit us at 64 Main Street or you can check us out at online at VtsOwn.com.
All the best from the Green Mountain State, Dana Franklin
There’s more than one way to get your springtime maple fix here in Vermont! We have our shelves stocked with shakers full of maple sugar alongside jars of traditional maple cream. Stop in on Main Street in Middlebury where our delicious infused maple drizzles, and much more, are up for the sampling all week, every week.
For those of you who would like to partake in the Vermonting but are out of state, here are a few links to the joys of maple foods in our neck of the woods:
This is natural sweetener at its best. When maple syrup is cooked at a high temperature and stirred, it changes consistency and turns into granulated sugar. It’s perfect for baking! Sprinkle it on hot or cold cereal, toast, or add to your favorite meats for a glaze or rub.
Just like grandma used to make! Maple apple pie … now in a convenient jar for us! Fruit, grown and picked fresh in New England, pure Vermont maple syrup and spices are hand-stirred to create a robust garnish. Great on ice cream, pancakes or stirred into cereal. You can also use this as a topping for salmon or pork. This Vermont product is made with all natural ingredients, fat free, with no salt or cholesterol
Back in the day, Grandpa Hawkins magically transformed maple sap into a sweet, creamy, delicious spread his family affectionately called “Grandpa's Stuff.” He used only a bowl, wooden ladle and Pure Vermont maple syrup which he boiled himself. This maple cream is great when stirred into frosting recipes, smeared on toast, or used in baked beans, but it’s also good right out of the jar on a spoon! The only ingredient is pure Vermont maple syrup, freshly tapped and boiled locally in Vermont.
Come on in for a blind taste test to discern your favorite Vermont maple syrup grade!
Maple matters. Pouring just any ol’ syrup over your waffles can ruin a good start to your day! First off, it’s gotta be Vermont-made. Second, it has to be the grade of your choice. Do you know yours?
If not, it’s time to get busy. Come on in and visit us at Vermont’s Own Products on Main Street in Middlebury, Vermont for your very own personal, blind taste test to assess your preferred maple syrup grade.
Don’t live in Vermont? Order your own in-home Vermont Maple Syrup Sampler Crate! Be sure to use code FREESHIP on VtsOwn.com if your order is more than $75 for free shipping.
Our staff is knowledgeable about the many uses of Vermont maple in any grade whether it’s for savory recipes, glazes, dressings, cocktails or to satisfy your sweet tooth atop desserts and, of course, the tried and true traditional pancake breakfast. So, ask away! They are ready to help!
While all Vermont-made maple syrup is of equal quality, sugar content and density, it’s a matter of personal taste which grade you consider the best. Let us know your favorite by sharing a photo of yourself enjoying some on our Facebook page!
Vermont Maple Syrup Grades:
Golden Delicate (The old Vermont Fancy)
Usually made at the beginning of the maple season. Pour over vanilla ice cream for a Vermont maple sundae, sometimes called the sugarmakers’ favorite dessert.
Amber Rich (Compares to the former Medium Amber)
Usually made about mid-season and seems to be the most popular for all-around use. A good choice for gifts.
Dark Robust (Compares to the former Grade B)
As the maple season progresses, the syrup darkens in color and develops a more robust maple flavor. Good for all-around use, its hearty flavor is a great choice for all kinds of recipes. Pour over baked apples or squash, use as a glaze for meats and vegetables.
Storage Tips: Always refrigerate after opening. To preserve maple syrup’s fresh flavor and prevent crystallization, it can be frozen. Freeze and thaw any number of times, just thaw completely, mixing in any condensation on the top before use.
Here in Vermont, our woodpiles are dwindling and the days are getting brighter which means something special is starting to brew! You guessed it, many are tapping their maples in these Green Mountains this week.
Our tranquil winter forests are about to come alive again. We can almost feel the burgeoning flora beneath the snow. For now, the icy crust crunches with each step a sugar maker takes, sending the chickadees and blue jays fluttering with excitement.
It’s been a long, cold winter for all of us. But it’s that time again to change our reclusive ways and get outside to celebrate the change of season together! The way we welcome spring in Vermont is through the teamwork of maple sugaring. It’s a true neighbor-helping-neighbor endeavor and a steadfast tradition that sustains us until the warmer weather is upon us.
All walks of wildlife will soon become more active and migrating birds will return with their noisy pomp and circumstance. Until then, we like to take a moment to listen to the between-season silence of the Vermont hills around us. Try it, you might even be able to hear the sap flowing! Here at Vermont’s Own, our hearts race with anticipation of an abundant harvest. Bring on those cold nights and sunny days, Mother Nature! Let the maple sugaring commence!
We attended the 2018 Farm Show a few weeks ago to support our friends, Vermont sugar makers who entered their 2017 syrup and maple specialty products in contests to compete for blue ribbons. Look for these ribbons displayed prominently when you visit sugarhouses this March 24 & 25 during our state’s annual Maple Open House Weekend.
The class winners for syrup for the 2018 Farm Show Maple Contest are:
Golden Color with Delicate Taste—David Fuller of Waterville
Amber Color with Rich Taste—Howard Beaupre of Milton
Dark Color with Robust Taste—Graham Farms Maple of Williamstown
Very Dark Color with Strong Taste—Kevin Plew of Mount Holly
The Best of Show Maple Syrup was Howard Beaupre's Amber.
Order your Vermont-made maple syrup and maple products with us right now. We ship! Use code FREESHIP on VtsOwn.com for free shipping on orders more than $75. Thanks for visiting us today. Take good care!
Here at Vermont’s Own Products we are proud of the many Vermont-made chocolates gracing our shelves this Valentine’s Day season. If you want to get your significant other something ultimately unique and local this year, here are a few carefully crafted confections that our customers just adore:
We are forever in awe of the variety and quality of Vermont-made products. It’s particularly inspiring when it comes to our chocolate. Did you know that we have more than 25 chocolatiers in our tasty little state? Some handcraft each piece, others produce chocolates on a larger scale and are nationally known. Either way, they are still decadent and highly sought-after treats!
Vermont's Own shared a building with the renowned Middlebury Chocolates until just recently when they moved to a larger production facility. It was a blessing in disguise for us, because it was our chance to start carrying their chocolate bars, made in small batches with beans from fair trade cacao farms from places like Guatemala and Belize. Folks stop in and say, “I heard a rumor you carry Middlebury Chocolates” and we’re always happy to confirm it’s true!
Another favorite of ours is Daily Chocolate. Top picks are their salted black rum caramels, lemon lavender white chocolate bark and ginger orange clusters. They hand dip every piece, and that love and care shines through with every bite. We know because we've tried them all!
Probably Vermont’s most well-known and largest chocolate producer is Lake Champlain Chocolates. They have something for everyone from truffles, to their boxed Chocolates of Vermont, and their chunky Five Star Bars which are a superior chocolate caramel bar. They also have award-winning hot chocolate!
Just like Vermont's world-renowned craft beer and cheese, our chocolate is also definitely something to write home about ... Wow! Now we are all craving chocolate here at the store! We might have to break into some of these salted black rum caramels! When it comes to shopping Vermont for Valentine's Day, you simply cannot go wrong by stopping in to see us! Your sweetie will love these confections as much as we do!
Do you have any special Vermont-made requests or questions? Feel free to send them to VermontOwnProducts@Yahoo.com. We would love to hear from you!
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Vermont's Own to all of you! Keep it sweet!
If you’re looking for an all-natural, Vermont-crafted barbecue sauce, it’s definitely Richard’s for the win! It can’t be beat with fresh, local ingredients in myriad flavors for discerning palates. It's one of our top sellers here at Vermont's Own Products! Great on steaks, chicken wings, pork ribs or any vegan barbecue dish that could use some spicing up. These are gluten free and made without preservatives or fructose.
Here at Vermont's Own Products we not only curate the best Vermont makers have to offer, but we get to know the local business owners personally. We pride ourselves on these relationships and value our Vermont community of small business owners. Richard’s Vermont-made barbecue sauces are crafted right in Vermont by the family-owned Richard’s Vermont Made Sauces company. They've put together two Superbowl 52 Game Day Recipes for you to try out! We hope your team wins!
GAME DAY Barbecue Cheese Dip
4 oz. Richard's Vermont Made Barbecue Sauce
8 oz. package of cream cheese
Soften cream cheese at room temperature. Using a mixer, stir in 4 oz of Richard's Barbecue Sauce until completely blended and a salmon color. Serve with celery, carrot sticks, crackers, melba toast or corn chips. For hor d'oeuvres, mix in freshly cooked and crumbled bacon bits. Spread over crackers and top with pimento bits or thinly sliced stuffed olives. Enjoy!
GAME DAY Chicken Bombs
5 Boneless, skinless chicken breast (makes 10 bombs)
5 Jalapeños, sliced in half lengthwise and cleaned
20 slices bacon
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Cup Richard’s Barbecue Sauce
Slice chicken breast in half (like a hamburger bun), place between wax paper or plastic wrap and pound until 1/4” thick. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the two cheeses together and smear about 1 tbsp into each pepper half (use up the cheese between all of the peppers).
Place the pepper on the chicken breast and wrap it up as best you can. We suggest placing the pepper cheese side down, so it gets completely covered by the chicken.
Wrap each chicken breast completely with two pieces of bacon. Start at one end, wrap half the breast and finish the second half with the other piece of bacon.
Cook in a 400 degree oven. Turning once to help cook the bacon—best if cooked on a rack. Then cover in BBQ sauce and finish baking about ten minutes. GO TEAM!
Most days you’ll find Vermont’s Own Products Store Manager Abbey Lamay behind the counter sharing samples of our fresh, homemade fudge as well as offering up her tried and true advice about the many Vermont-made goods lining our shelves. In an effort to further our mission in educating the masses beyond our in-store counter encounters about Vermont makers, we invite you to our first monthly installment of “Ask Abbey.” Send your own questions to VermontOwnProducts@Yahoo.com. We would love to hear from you!
Every winter, the dry air wreaks havoc on my hands. I feel like I’ve tried everything, but haven’t found something that really works. Do you have any suggestions?
~Desperately Seeking Salve
Absolutely! Vermont’s harsh winters require a vast set of winter strategies to survive and thrive, especially how to deal with cracked skin from the cold winter air gusting at negative temperatures. We’ve had a particularly cold year so far with two weeks of temperatures down to as cold as -20, and that’s when my knuckles start to crack.
One of my favorite things to do when I come in to work at Vermont's Own is to use some of our samples depending on what my hands look and feel like on a particular day. Ahh, the perks of the job! These are what I would call my top three winter skincare solutions:
For the worst dried and cracked skin use Bag Balm which was originally created with lanolin and other simple ingredients in 1899 to protect and heal chapped cow udders (a.k.a. bags) in the wintertime. Dairy farmers found their own hands softening and protected from the cold temps, too, after using it on their cows. Vermonters know the wonder and power of Bag Balm and almost everyone I talk to about it mentions the large tin that was reliably in their family’s medicine cabinet growing up. It’s the go-to solution for minor scrapes, burns and chapped skin. The old-timey tin still has the directions for use on cows, and it’s also great for pet paws. Luckily, they make smaller tins and travel tubes for a little portability.
For dry hands that need a little healing, I like Beauchamp’s Hand Lotion. When my hands are visibly dry, but haven’t quite cracked yet, I like Beauchamps because it’s not your typical lotion. It’s actually a liquid, but it doesn’t make your hands oily or greasy. It soaks right in and helps replenish your natural oils. It was formulated 70 years ago for marble workers in the Rutland area whose hands would get super dried out from all the rock dust. It’s still made by the original pharmacy that formulated it four generations ago. It’s a nice soothing liquid with a eucalyptus aroma.
For everyday use check out Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve. I like to use this on an everyday basis, but it’s thicker than your standard lotion, and doesn’t have an intense aroma. It’s a newer product made for use on the farm, but this one’s meant for the farmer. If you’ve ever seen a farmer’s hands, you know how hard they work and what a toll it takes on their skin. Two pharmacists created this one, and named it after one of their grandfathers, George Lyford. It’s light, greaseless and works great on all intensities of dry skin. It’s thick and concentrated, so a little goes a long way!
May your hands be soft, smooth and moisturized, Abbey
Hygge is hugs and hikes and everything nice.
By now you’ve all heard the word hygge, pronounced “hooga,” to describe Danish methods of winter survival tactics. The traditional trend is making its way around the globe now. All the cool kids are doing it, even Vermonters!
Here at Vermont’s Own we have all of the makings of living the hygge-life. Our brand is synonymous with cozy contentment. The Vermont way of doing things naturally lends itself to an overall feeling of well-being because we know it’s the simple things in life that get us through the cold, dark winters in these Green Mountains. From our Silly Cow hot cocoa flavors to our Halladay’s chili, dip and pasta mixes, we have you covered.
The word hygge was originally derived from the Norwegian word for well-being and is used as a noun and an adjective today. This old-world, winter lifestyle is a new trend, just search it on Pinterest and you'll get the idea. It's hugs and hikes, sweatpants, books, and pillow-filled nooks. It’s a bonfire in the snow with mitten-clad hands grasping a steaming cup of tea. It’s candles and hearths and over-sized, wool sweaters. What's been keeping you cozy this winter? Click on the images below to order up some Vermont-made goodness to add to your own hygge traditions in your home this winter!
Our maple cream, a.k.a. maple butter, is pure Vermont maple in a creamy, buttery form, so it's no surprise that anything it touches, from the center of a cream puff to the top of your ice cream sundae, makes for a heavenly experience to brighten any dark winter day.
Here at Vermont’s Own we are happy to offer up samples of this spectacular maple cream! We would like to introduce Maurice Laroche’s special recipe to you. He built his sugarhouse in Salisbury, Vermont after learning the trade from his father and grandfather. There’s plenty of sampling of maple cream, fresh maple syrup, maple covered walnuts, fresh Reverse Osmosis (R.O) water, cheese curds and more at their home base. And we sell 4, 8, and 16 oz. sizes of their maple cream and maple sugar right here in Middlebury at Vermont’s Own. We are located at 64 Main Street.
If you’ve never had maple cream, we have to tell you it’s quite literally maple in its most decadent form—nothing else added (except for a little butter to keep it from boiling over)! It’s made by heating maple syrup to a certain temperature and then cooled slowly to be stirred into the crystallized form of a light, spreadable cream.
For those who are curious, it’s close to a peanut butter texture. At Vermont’s Own, we like it stirred right into our morning coffee, that way we can sneak an entire extra spoonful right into our mouths to get the day started (shh, don’t tell)! We also like it spread on an English muffin, mixed into frosting, and drizzled over homemade doughnuts!
It’s time to get you some creamy, whipped maple syrup! It spreads like butter but is uniquely sweet like only pure maple syrup can be, not overpowering, just perfect!