Once a year, A and I head up to the small town of Dover in southern Vermont to hike, relax, and spend time away from the hustle and bustle that defines summer on Long Island.
Hiking is my second all time favorite way to exercise, next to yoga obviously. There’s something so incredibly gratifying about getting to the top of the mountain, looking out at the beautiful landscape, and just breathing. Every time I hike, I find myself saying “this is what the world is supposed to look like.” It’s raw, beautiful, and too few of us take time to appreciate it.
Vermont offers some incredible hiking trails – we’re always finding new ones to explore! – plus quiet, homey inns to spend your nights, and some great food!
Vermont is quite progressive when it comes to organic food and labeling; they were the first state to pass GMO labeling laws. Ironically, their farming practices are old fashioned and haven’t changed much throughout the generations. I had the pleasure of speaking with quite a few restaurant and market owners, along with a few farmers who supply them.
It’s always a treat, though I think it should be the norm, to sit down at a restaurant at which the owner can tell me exactly which farm down the road her meat is from. One of my standby rules for dining out is to avoid ground beef, and it was so nice to throw that rule out the window during my trip…twice.
Multiple restaurants not only listed “grass fed, local beef” on the menu, but specified which farm and could answer all of my questions without hesitation. The farmers themselves were also incredibly friendly and willing to talk to me about how they feed and raise their cattle. Most of the dairy farms in Vermont cannot afford to be certified organic, but adopt most, if not all, of the same principles. A few farmers commented that they believe in using antibiotics when their cattle truly and naturally get sick, and I’m actually okay with this. In my opinion, the use of antibiotics is incredibly different when we’re dealing with the rampant spread of disease associated with the lifestyle of CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) raised cattle.
In Vermont, the cattle roam free on pastures and are genuinely cared for by their farmers. It’s the type of food system that America needs to be returning to, and it was a pleasure to see a state that never really gave up on it in the first place. This is how I wish I could eat everyday…this is what I embrace and advocate for!
Every ounce of produce and cheese that we ate up in Vermont was grown or made locally and the farmers and shop keepers truly support one another. A dairy farmer, who also sells maple syrup, kindly sent us up the road to a local ice cream stand that uses her maple syrup to sweeten her homemade (and phenomenal) maple soft serve.
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my Vermont meals. I’m also linking up with Jenn’s WIAW campaign because looking at food is fun, and I love showing people how easy it is to eat consciously and still enjoy vacation. Maybe I’ve even convinced you to spend a weekend up in beautiful Vermont!?