The New Maple Syrup Grading System: How Vermont is Leading the Industry and How to Find Your Flavor

Posted on 17. Mar, 2014 by

On January 22nd, 2014 Vermont led the world in adopting a new set of international maple syrup grading standards that the International Maple Syrup Institute, together with the Vermont maple industry had worked on for over 10 years. Other states in the maple producing region of the United States, The USDA and Canada are expected to follow in the near future. While the maple syrup in Vermont will be made to the same exacting standards maintained by generations of Vermont sugar makers, the new maple grading system will assist consumers in choosing their preferred grade of maple syrup based on a color and flavor descriptor.

For many years, Vermont’s four grades of maple syrup had differed from other regions. The states of Maine, New York and Vermont had their own grade names, these differed from USDA standards and other states as well as Canadian grades. This created a great deal of confusion within the marketplace. Now, our new grades will be aligned with all other states and provinces, so that we all use the same grade names. To maintain our premiere position, all syrup made in Vermont will have the word “Vermont” incorporated in the grade name and all syrup made in Vermont is required to be made thicker than the international standard in order to have a better “mouth feel” and flavor. Our new grades expand the range of maple syrup available, yet rest assured it’s the same great, high quality product you have come to expect from generations of Vermonters. We hope that you will explore all of the grades to find new uses for this all natural, nutritious sweetener and gift from nature, Pure Vermont Maple Syrup.

In Summer, 2014 we will update the grading system here at Dakin Farm. To find your flavor of choice, we’ve outlined how the old grades will compare to the new.

  • All of the new Vermont grades for consumer use are called Grade A Pure Vermont Maple Syrup. Once the syrup has been determined to meet Grade A standards, a color and flavor descriptor are applied to help consumers decide which grade they prefer for their particular use.
    • Golden Color/Delicate Flavor will be the same color and flavor as Vermont Fancy. It will be light and golden in color with a mild, delicate taste. Golden Color/Delicate Flavor is excellent as a table syrup, in teas or as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.
    • Amber Color/Rich Flavor will compare well to Grade A Medium Amber but may be slightly darker in color. Still, it is a lighter amber color with a full-bodied flavor and is a good choice for consumers who prefer the classic maple syrup flavor.
    • Dark Color/Robust Flavor will compare well to Grade B and is a dark amber color with a more pronounced maple flavor. Dark Color/Robust Flavor is ideal for consumers who prefer stronger maple syrup flavors. Great for use in recipes, the special flavor of pure maple carries through to your favorite dishes.
    • Dark Color/Strong Flavor will be even stronger and darker than Grade B. Almost black in color, this syrup has a very strong flavor that also works well when used in recipes. Dark Color/Strong Flavor will be in limited supply due to the fact that it is made at the very end of the maple season, if conditions are favorable. This syrup can only be labeled as Grade A syrup if its strong flavor remains pure and if there are no “off flavors” which can develop in Very Dark, end of season maple syrup.

If you have any questions regarding the New Grading System, contact Darcy Morter at 802.425.6726.

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Gluten-Free Products

Posted on 05. Sep, 2013 by

With nearly 6% of the population, nearly 18 million people, having gluten sensitivity, many of our customers are interested in knowing which of our products are gluten free. Whether customers need to know for their own allergies or for their friends and family who may be receiving gifts from Dakin Farm, we want to provide as much information as possible.

As you may know, gluten sensitivity is a condition that causes a person to react after eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The symptoms associated with ingesting gluten are no fun, and range from gastrointestinal problems to joint pain and even depression.

The good news is, a gluten-free diet allows for most meat and dairy products as well as Pure Maple Syrup. Since we sell only Pure Vermont Maple Syrup here at Dakin Farm, it too, is gluten-free though the same can’t be said for many store-bought, mass produced brands.

With so many products for sale on our website and in our two retail locations, ranging from meats and cheeses to chocolate covered cherries to peanut butter, hummus and various dips, spreads, relishes, jams and jellies, it is a daunting task to know the gluten status of each product.

Therefore, should you have a question about a specific product not included here, please feel free to contact me, Darcy Morter, at 802-425-6726 and I will find out for you whether or not the product in question is gluten free.

As a general rule, all meat, cheese and maple syrup is typically gluten-free. However, here at Dakin Farm, our spiral-sliced hams and turkeys are glazed with various spices and therefore, not gluten free. Our cob-smoked, non-spiral sliced hams and turkeys are gluten-free, below is a complete list:

Gluten-Free Ham and Turkey:

  • Boneless Petite Ham (over 1.5 lbs)
  • Boneless Petite Ham (over 3 lbs)
  • Boneless Half Ham (over 4 lbs)
  • Boneless Half Ham (over 8 lbs)
  • Bone-In Half Ham (over 6 lbs)
  • Bone-In Whole Ham (over 11 lbs)
  • Cob-Smoked Whole Turkey (9-11 lbs)
  • Cob-Smoked Turkey Breast (4-6 lbs)
  • Boneless Turkey Breast (over 3 lbs)
  • Boneless Turkey Breast (over 4 lbs)

In addition to our smoked, non-spiral-sliced hams and turkeys, our bacon is gluten-free, as well, including:

  • Cob-Smoked Bacon
  • Cob-Smoked, Maple-Glazed Bacon
  • Cob-Smoked Turkey Bacon
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Irish-Style Back Bacon

For the Cabot Cheese Lovers out there, the great news is that ALL Cabot Cheeses are gluten-free with the exception of the Cabot Cheese spreads in Extra Sharp, Habanero and Horseradish. Please do not confuse the spreads with the 8 oz flavored bars, which are gluten-free.

With gluten allergies on the rise, we anticipate that this holiday season we will receive even more requests for gluten-free products and gift selections. Again, feel free to contact me directly to help you build the perfect holiday gift to meet your dietary needs.

For more information about gluten-intolerance, as well as gluten-free recipes, visit http://www.gluten.net/

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Spring 2013 Proves to Be Banner Year For Vermont Maple Syrup Production!

Posted on 10. Apr, 2013 by

After a freak weather event in March of 2012, where Vermont experienced 80 degree weather for nearly a week right in the middle of “Sugaring Season” everyone in the maple world knew that 2013 had to be better. As all Vermont “Sugarmakers” prepared for the season by stringing pipeline, clearing paths in the deep snow, preparing the “Sugarhouse” for boiling, and so much more, we would watch the weather in anticipation of a trend that would show us it was time to tap our Hard Rock Sugar Maple Trees in the rugged mountain groves of Northern Vermont.

In the old days, tapping usually began around town meeting day in Vermont which was the first Tuesday of March. Now, with perhaps a bit of global warming factored in, we had to be ready to go in February. This year, depending on the sugarbush location, and elevation, we saw perhaps 4-5 good sap runs in February. Just about all the syrup produced from this fresh, cold, early season sap produced delicate, pure flavored Vermont Fancy Grade Maple Syrup. This flavor is preferred by some as a table grade maple syrup to use on pancakes and waffles, however, it is also commonly used where its delicate flavor can be most appreciated on fruit, over ice cream, or to delicately sweeten warm or cold beverages.

The first part of March saw a cold spell in Vermont lasting 10 days or so where the temperature never climbed above freezing. Then, towards the middle of the month the magic happened. Day after day we would experience a good hard frost at night followed by a warm day – warm enough to thaw our trees out right down to their roots. The sap began to flow and flow. Day after day we would collect the sap, night after night we would boil it down into “The World’s Best” maple syrup. Early in the season the sap was nice and sweet around 3% sugar content. Later, the sugar dropped slightly but the flow of sap was heavy, ideal for Vermont Grade A Medium Amber and later, Vermont Grade A Dark Amber. Overall, it takes about 40 gallons of sap from the tree to boil down to just one gallon of maple syrup.

With a good, long maple season in Vermont with abundant sap flow we at Dakin Farm are predicting a record year for Vermont Maple Syrup production once the numbers are all in. Vermont produces the most maple syrup in the United States and due to our climate, geography, soils, and heritage, many people throughout Vermont and around the world feel we also produce the best maple syrup that it is possible to produce!

Stay tuned to this blog to learn how the tremendous increase in Vermont Maple Syrup Production is leading Vermont to adopt a set of International Grading Standards which have been developed over the past 11 years by the Vermont Maple Industry along with the International Maple Syrup Institute, providing both a color and flavor descriptor making it easier for everyone to understand the difference between the grades as the market for pure Vermont maple syrup continues to grow.

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Dakin Farm Easter Ham – Taste the Difference!

Posted on 26. Mar, 2013 by

As a full-time professional with a 30 minute commute and two young children, finding time to make it to the grocery store isn’t easy. Even the planning that goes into a grocery store trip is worth noting: I organize my list so it corresponds with the layout of the store. Am I hyper-organized or just efficient? I’ll go with efficient. So when it comes to purchasing quality staples like meat and cheese, or preparing for a special event, I’ve got to be really motivated to search online or make an extra trip to another location to shop.

Usually, all I need to get inspired is a quick glance through Martha Stewart Living – images of me in a beautiful kitchen, serving up an elegant meal with my perfectly behaved children dance through my head. Not to mention the approving smiles from my husband, friends and family who are also present in my enchanting daydream about the perfect host (me) serving the perfect meal.

Then, my husband will say “Hey, can you take the kids to the store with you?” and my daydream dissolves as quickly as my 3 year old can say “abracadabra!”

Lucky for me, I work here at Dakin Farm – so quality meats, cheeses and Pure Vermont Maple Syrup are literally, a few steps away. Lucky for you, we have two retail locations here in Vermont and our convenient website, designed to make ordering Dakin Farm products an enjoyable and hassle-free experience. With www.dakinfarm.com there is no need to “register” nor is there any login or password to remember. Plus, we’ll deliver your Easter Ham with care just in time for the holiday! *See below for details on our Easter Ham delivery offer.

 So Why Is Our Ham So Special?

All I needed to do to begin my research was head down to Sam Cutting , Jr.’s office with this simple question: What is the difference between our hams and the hams available for purchase at grocery stores? As it turns out, there are quite a lot of differences in the preparation of our hams, which make them truly special.

Perhaps the biggest difference is one you will find right on the label of most hams in the market: it reads “water added.” During the curing process, many hams are injected with a salt solution that may also contain water, sugar and spices. The good news is, this process typically adds moisture and flavor to the ham. The bad news is, when you purchase a “water added” ham, you are paying also for the added water, not the ham.

You won’t see “water added” on our hams because here at Dakin Farm, we fully-cook and smoke the hams, eliminating any water added during the maple-curing process. Even better, we smoke them over smoldering corn-cobs, a time-old tradition we have honored for over fifty years. The result is a mild smoky flavor, which mingles with the maple sweetness from the cure. So when you purchase a Dakin Farm ham – you are paying for a quality cut of meat, not water.

The livestock we source comes from free-range farms in rural Pennsylvania, where the animals are fed the best feed available and not subjected to any of the growth hormones commonly found in many meat products.

So, what ham should you purchase for your next family gathering, holiday celebration or just to have on hand? Let’s take a look at your options:

  • Bone-in ham: it seems the general consensus is that cooking meat on the bone produces a better flavor and texture, plus you can keep the bone and use it for making soups and broths.
  • Boneless ham: Easy to slice, our boneless ham – like all of our hams – delivers a smoky-sweet flavor. It is great for sandwiches and as a salad topping, too!
  • Spiral-sliced: Dakin Farm spiral-sliced hams are truly special. Not only are they maple-cured and cob-smoked, they are maple-glazed. You can see watch the process yourself here. Trust me, watching this video is worth your time!

So many choices! But here is what you can count on with Dakin Farm: our cob-smoked, maple-cured ham will make your Easter special.  Dakin Farm ham has been an Easter Tradition with families across the country for more than two generations – this year, make it yours! When you get your Dakin Farm ham home it is fully cooked and ready to serve. All you need to do it is warm it, and you can find easy to follow tips and instructions on our website. Hey, we’ll even let you take the credit!

So get out of the kitchen and enjoy your guests because all Dakin Farm hams are fully cooked and a snap to simply warm and serve – they will be full of compliments about your delicious meal prepared by the perfect host (you). Enjoy!

*GUARANTEED DELIVERY NATIONWIDE BY EASTER! Simply specify “Easter Delivery” during checkout. We’ll take the appropriate steps to have your ham delivered nationwide by Easter. Ground Shipping Charges apply – on all orders placed today and up until 2:00 PM EST Wednesday, March 27! Overnight Orders – may be placed as late as March 28th by 3:00 PM EST. However, Overnight Delivery Charges will apply. Order your Easter Ham TODAY to avoid Overnight Delivery Charges.

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Make Sugar On Snow at Home!

Posted on 12. Mar, 2013 by

Kids love “helping out” in the kitchen! With Spring near and fresh, new Pure Vermont Maple Syrup hitting our store shelves, you can make that new syrup into delicious Sugar on Snow – a treat your kids are sure to love! Following are directions – good luck and enjoy!

First, you’ll need to collect some clean snow and store it in a plastic tub in the freezer. If you don’t have fresh snow, crushed or shaved ice are good alternatives.

Next, bring 8 ounces of pure maple syrup to a boil in a large saucepan – any grade of maple syrup will do. When you are heating the syrup, as tempting as it is, don’t stir it, as it will form grainy crystals. If you’d like to try some of our very own Dakin Farm Pure Vermont Maple Syrup for your Sugar on Snow (or pancakes, waffles or other treats), you can purchase NEW 2013 Pure Vermont Maple Syrup at http://www.dakinfarm.com/Maple-Syrup.html.

You’ll need a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the syrup. It is important that while the syrup is boiling to thicken to the correct density that it not boil over the rim of the cooking pot/sauce pan. To avoid the syrup “boiling over” the rim of the pan needs to be coated with a thin film of any of the following: butter, cooking oil, or Crisco.

Be sure to closely monitor the candy thermometer. Please note: the temperature of the syrup is important in achieving the taffy like consistency you want. So even if you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test that the syrup is at the soft ball stage by dripping some of the boiling syrup into a glass of icy cold water. If it forms a ball that you can grab out of the water with your fingers, it is ready. When the temperature of the syrup reaches the soft ball stage, between 235 to 240 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat.

Drizzle ribbons of the boiling syrup onto the snow or crushed ice. When it touches the frozen surface, it should solidify into a taffy-like substance.

Now you can peel the ribbons of maple taffy off the snow with your fingers, a popsicle stick or fork – enjoy!

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From Snow Cones to Sugar on Snow

Posted on 07. Mar, 2013 by

From Snow Cones to Sugar on Snow

Darcy Morter

Today, almost two years after moving to beautiful Vermont (beautiful even in mud season) from Wisconsin, my family has transitioned from Nacho Cheese to Artisan Cheese; Maple-Flavored Syrup to Pure Vermont Maple Syrup and now Snow Cones to Sugar on Snow!

I must preface this blog by saying as much as I “dis” the food from my Midwest past, I mean no disrespect to the delicacies of Wisconsin nor to my friends and family who indulge in them. There is, indeed, a place for greasy nachos, Aunt Jemima syrup and even neon green Snow Cones! Find me at the Vermont State Fair, and you’ll probably see me (or my kids) indulging in flavored shaved ice!

While this is my first Spring here at Dakin Farm, it has been over half a century that the Cutting Family has boiled sap and bottled maple syrup here at our Ferrisburgh location, and over 30 years that the team has participated in annual Sugar on Snow parties. I felt a little silly asking the question “what is Sugar on Snow, exactly?” but it isn’t a term I had heard before!

So instead of embarrassing myself by asking one of my co-workers about Sugar on Snow, I did what all good writers do – research.

I learned that Sugar on Snow parties go back over 200 years and that the tradition is common mostly in Quebec, Eastern Ontario and New England. It is thought that the sweet taffy produced when pouring heated maple sap began as an accident when someone long ago, boiling sap, accidentally spilled sap onto snow and realized they had a really tasty treat on their hands.

Today, Sugarhouses all over Eastern Canada and New England host Annual Sugar on Snow parties, boiling sap to the perfect temperature, then pouring in a cross-cross design over fresh snow. The sap then thickens to a taffy-like consistency and is eaten off the snow with a popsicle stick or other utensil. Now this sounds better than the neon colored, flavored syrup we pour over shaved ice in the Midwest!

What surprised me to learn is that, customarily, Sugar on Snow is served with donuts, sour dill pickles, and coffee. Pickles, coffee and maple taffy? What I now know is the purpose of the pickles and coffee is to counter the sweetness of the candy and is a ritual Vermonter’s hold near and dear, so who am I to question it? Besides, when I try it this month at Dakin Farm’s Annual Sugar on Snow parties, I’m sure I’ll love it!

Whether you’ve been enjoying Sugar on Snow for years, or I’ve convinced you to try it for the first time, you can make your own Sugar on Snow at home or join us this year at our 2013 Maple Events! Recipe and event details below:

To make your own Sugar on Snow:

First, you’ll need to collect some clean snow and store it in a plastic tub in the freezer. If you don’t have fresh snow, crushed or shaved ice are good alternatives.

Next, bring 8 ounces of pure maple syrup to a boil in a large saucepan – any grade of maple syrup will do. When you are heating the syrup, as tempting as it is, don’t stir it, as it will form grainy crystals. If you’d like to try some of our very own Dakin Farm Pure Vermont Maple Syrup for your Sugar on Snow (or pancakes, waffles or other treats), you can purchase NEW 2013 Pure Vermont Maple Syrup at http://www.dakinfarm.com/Maple-Syrup.html.

You’ll need a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the syrup. It is important that while the syrup is boiling to thicken to the correct density that it not boil over the rim of the cooking pot/sauce pan. To avoid the syrup “boiling over” the rim of the pan needs to be coated with a thin film of any of the following: butter, cooking oil, or Crisco.

Be sure to closely monitor the candy thermometer. Please note: the temperature of the syrup is important in achieving the taffy like consistency you want. So even if you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test that the syrup is at the soft ball stage by dripping some of the boiling syrup into a glass of icy cold water. If it forms a ball that you can grab out of the water with your fingers, it is ready. When the temperature of the syrup reaches the soft ball stage, between 235 to 240 degrees F, remove the pot from the heat.

Drizzle ribbons of the boiling syrup onto the snow or crushed ice. When it touches the frozen surface, it should solidify into a taffy-like substance.

Now you can peel the ribbons of maple taffy off the snow with your fingers, a popsicle stick or fork – enjoy!

March 16, 17, 23 and 24 at our 32nd Annual Sugar on Snow parties:

Get a taste of this year’s newest crop of pure Vermont maple syrup over spring snow or ice cream.

Stop in to our annual Pancake Breakfasts for some mouthwatering buttermilk pancakes, bacon and sausage.

  • Savor a sausage hoagie cooked in sap or a bowl of our very own maple chili for lunch.
  • Observe boiling sap the traditional way. (Ferrisburgh Only)
  • Purchase New Crop Syrup to take home.
  • Taste FREE samples of Maple Syrup, ham, bacon & more.

Two fun-filled weekends at both locations:

Saturday – Sunday, March 16-17 and March 23-24.

South Burlington Schedule (100 Dorset Street, South Burlington, next to Barnes and Noble)

  • Noon – 4:00 p.m. – Free Samples & Activities.

Ferrisburgh Schedule (5797 Route 7, Ferrisburgh, 9.5 miles South of Shelburne Museum)

  • 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Pancake Breakfast
  • Adults $7.75 (plus tax)
  • Kids $4.50 (plus tax)
  • Noon – 4:00 p.m. – Live Music, Free Samples

Ferrisburgh Music Schedule:

  • March 16, 23 and 24 – Bob Degree & the Bluegrass Storm
  • March 17 – Banjo Dan & Willy

For more information call 800-993-2546 or visit http://www.dakinfarm.com/2013-Sugar-On-Snow.dlp

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From Maple-Flavored Syrup to Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Posted on 03. Oct, 2012 by

From Maple-Flavored Syrup to Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Darcy Morter

As you know, my family’s recent move from Wisconsin to Vermont resulted in a fun shift from indulging in Nacho Cheese Sauce to Artisan Cheese Collections.

This fall, as we transition from the Artisan Cheese we enjoyed during summer evenings into warm pancake breakfasts on cool mornings, we are enjoying our Pure Vermont Maple Syrup – something quite different than the “maple-flavored syrup” of our past!

So what is the difference? Well, I did my research and it turns out there are some big differences between maple-flavored syrup and pure Vermont maple syrup.

First, Vermont enforces strict labeling regulations to protect our maple-syrup producers, and also ensure consumers only receive the real deal when they buy a product labeled with the word “maple.” The law includes a requirement that use of the word “maple” on the label means the use of only 100% maple syrup.

What, exactly, is 100% maple syrup? It is defined by the Vermont Department of Agriculture as “…the liquid derived by concentration and heat treatment of the sap of the maple tree.”

Then, what are the ingredients in the mass produced, maple-flavored syrups found in most grocery stores? The primary ingredients in these syrups are high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings and thickening agents, yikes!

It was back in 1557 (yep, that long ago) that Native Americans began tapping maple trees and transforming sap into maple sugar. The cool thing is, maple syrup production really isn’t all that different today.

Each spring, maple syrup producers (a.k.a. Sugarmakers) drill holes in maple trees, about a half inch wide, two to three inches deep and at an upward angle.  A “bit” is inserted into the hole to collect the sap, which flows when the temperature rises on warm spring days. Once the sap is collected, it is boiled to evaporate the water leaving the concentrated syrup.

Another unique quality of pure maple syrup versus maple-flavored syrups is the “grades” of syrup, which indicate the color and flavor of the syrup, allowing you to choose the ideal syrup for your family’s tastes or your needs.

Maple syrup has four grades:

  • Fancy Grade A Light Amber Maple Syrup: The lightest of the four grades, the flavor is delicate and mild. It’s light flavor works well served over vanilla ice cream, other desserts or in tea.
  • Grade A Medium Amber Maple Syrup:  The most popular grade for pouring over pancakes and waffles, this medium amber colored syrup has a more pronounced maple flavor.
  • Grade A Dark Amber Maple Syrup:  A darker amber color with a hearty maple flavor, this grade is also often used around the breakfast table.
  • Grade B Maple Syrup:  Grade B is the most commonly used syrup in cooking and adding flavor to foods. With its strong flavor and dark color, real maple enthusiasts enjoy its potency.

We Vermonters sure do take our maple syrup seriously, and for good reason: Vermont is the largest producer of pure maple syrup in the United States, producing 46% of the US supply, or 7% of the world’s supply!

Here at Dakin Farm, Sam Cutting, Sr. personally oversees every aspect of production, and has for over 50 years.  During that time, the Cutting Family has developed some unique and delicious maple syrup recipes – this one, I plan to try this weekend:

Maple Fruit Crisp

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
  •  ½ c. Oats
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 ½ c. Fresh Berries
  • 2 tbs. Slivered Almonds
  • ½ c. Flour
  • 1/3 c. Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Peeled Peaches Cut Into Wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in food processor and pulse 3 times until blended. Add the almonds and pulse until chopped. Add egg  and pulse until the mixture is coarse. Combine berries, maple syrup, and peaches in a bowl and toss. Pour fruit mixture into a casserole dish. Crumble oat mixture evenly over fruit. Bake for 35 minutes or until top bubbles. Serve with ice cream. SERVES 6

Enjoy! If you’ve got any great maple syrup recipes of your own, share them on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dakinfarm  We’d love to hear from you!

 

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From Nacho Cheese to Artisan Cheese

Posted on 03. Aug, 2012 by

              

From Nacho Cheese to Artisan Cheese

Darcy Morter

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would embrace the term “Cheesehead” described by Wikipedia as “disparaging” and “derogatory.” But isn’t it funny that when you move away from somewhere, suddenly all the things you sneered at while you were there become near and dear to your heart? Yeah, maybe I’m still a little homesick for Wisconsin after moving to Vermont last year.

 Last summer, my husband and I packed up our two kids and a truck full of furniture for our journey. After eight years as Marketing Director at Gehl Foods, a dairy manufacturer in Wisconsin, I was left to wonder what was next for me professionally. Most of what I had done for eight years revolved around nacho cheese: how to photograph it, just how spicy should our ‘spicy jalapeno’ be, what more can you put it on besides nachos, can you fry it on a stick for the Wisconsin State Fair?

Ironically, I am a health nut. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I have consumed nacho cheese, and they were all at sporting events, where eating nachos is practically a requirement. I had spent nearly a decade marketing something I rarely ate.

My Wisconsin friends and colleagues kidded me, “You are moving from a cheese state to a cheese state!” I guess we did. Shortly after we arrived, my job search began and I wondered whether I wanted to stay in food marketing, though I was excited about the opportunities here (especially Ben and Jerry’s, ice cream being a weak point).  I was thrilled to get an interview with them and gearing up for the big day when something great happened…I was introduced to Dakin Farm.

I walked into President Sam Cutting’s office already excited, having done a fair amount of research on the cob smoked meats, pure Vermont maple syrup and unique holiday gifts. What he explained to me that day was Dakin Farm’s new and exciting collaboration with Cabot cheese http://www.wcax.com/story/18898237/dakin-farm-and-cabot-creamery-join-forces and Dakin Farm’s expansion of their line of Vermont Artisan cheeses. “This,” I thought, “is cheese I can eat!”

Better yet, marketing Cabot and Dakin products is something I feel good about at the end of the day, because doing so supports New England family farms, and the cheesemaking traditions our farmers have practiced for decades.

I am excited to tell the stories of craftsmanship that go into the cheeses we carefully select, pack and ship to ur    door. The recipe and pairing opportunities are endless and the flavor profiles unique – Spring Brook Farm’s  Tarantaise with Dakin Farm’s Apricot Almond Jam manages to be rich and light at the same time, (and my new favorite appetizer).  After just a few months on the job, I am becoming an expert on artisan cheese and loving every minute. I wonder, does anyone make an Artisan Cheesehead?

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Honor Dad This Father’s Day

Posted on 12. Jun, 2012 by

I was raised to believe that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. In my house growing up, this was certainly true as most celebrations centered around a big meal. Whether it was his birthday or Father’s Day, dad was sure to be thrilled with gifts involving food.

 Fortunately, my mother and both of my grandmothers taught me how to bake and cook. They raised me to nurture and show appreciation by filling our home with warmth and the rich scents of a big meal. I like the idea of caring for my dad much like he nurtured me growing up. Today, my husband enjoys the treats that come from our kitchen and jokes that I am the reason he has gained five pounds since we married!

 It is estimated that in 2012 over 80 million Americans will participate in a barbecue, most of them families and many of them on Father’s Day. I guess my mom was right; the best way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach!

Let Dakin Farm help you honor your dad, husband or special someone this Father’s Day. Whether he is a sucker for pancakes drenched in Vermont Maple Syrup or craves the finger lickin’ goodness of our Famous Baby Back Ribs, we’re here to help you warm his heart…right through his stomach!

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A Day for the Moms!

Posted on 29. Apr, 2012 by

Heads up everyone … Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th.  Yup … that is just around the corner.  Not that you didn’t know it was coming as it comes around EVERY year in May.  The second Sunday in May to be precise.  But it still seems like it is the mad dash to figure out just how to celebrate all the Moms!  And of course … I always chuckle it is a bit of a Hallmark Holiday … but as a Mom who has endured the teenage years with my 2 sons, it’s not so bad to be honored!  I guess if nothing else, Mother’s Day should give us “pause” to contemplate all that Moms have done for us.  And when I say “MOM”, I don’t think of the stereotypical Mom necessarily … because I think of all those women who have helped “parent” someone… it could be a foster mom, a distant relative who stepped in to care for a child, a close friend who saw a need to help in a parenting struggle, a grandmother,  … oh, the list could be long.  But essentially, we end up celebrating those who have cared for us, through thick and thin, sickness and health, helped to keep us on the right path and who will always be there for us, even when we falter  … and if you are a mother reading this, you know darn well … “Being a Mother ain’t easy!”

Growing up, my mother’s biggest threat was ” I hope you have children like yourself” because then you will understand.  Well, that didn’t exactly  happen because I had two boys and she had two girls.  But funny enough … it did make me appreciate all that she had done for me, and continues to do.  And it didn’t happen in an instant … it took many years of wading through the trials and tribulations of everything a “mom” does for the true appreciation.  Mothers, however you define them, are a gift and should be treasured everyday … but let’s be realistic … That’s not gonna happen.  So perhaps, having at least ONE day where we can reflect on those “Mothers” who have been there for us … even if it was only for a limited time … is a wonderful thing.  I enjoy reading the cards my sons write to me because in their own words they tell me what I have done that means so much to them.  And every year, I shed a tear.  It is so important to tell those you love not only that you love them and treasure them, but also tell them why.  And Mother’s Day is a great day to do just that.

Now, along with that card you have written … let’s talk about making the day special … and bring this blog back to Dakin Farm.  For some … it might mean Breakfast in Bed.  For others, I might be a full on Mother’s Day Brunch, and for others it may be an elegant dinner complete with candlelight.  But you guessed it .. no matter the meal … Dakin Farm has a wonderful array of  cob-smoked bacon, ham, sausages, quiches, spiral-cut hams and turkeys, Vermont Artisan Cheeses, and don’t forget their homemade fudge  to make your special Mom feel just that … SPECIAL.  So … make it easy on yourself by choosing to bring her a Taste of Vermont … to let her know just how much you value all those little things that Moms do / have done / and continue to do …. even when your not looking!

Happy Mothers Day … 

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