Join us in welcoming Heartwood Farm of Albany, VT for a delicious dinner to celebrate the time honored Vermont maple sugaring season. Andy Paonessa and Meghan Stotko will introduce us to their sugaring operation and give a tapping demo before sitting down to dinner. Tessa Holmes of Blossom Whole Food Kitchen is the evening's chef, she has curated a menu that emphasizes the versatility Vermont's pure maple syrup. Find out how to enjoy the benefits of maple sap available in your backyard!
All guests are to meet at 5:30 pm at Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne, VT.
Appetizers and tapping demo will be commence at 5:30
Sit down dinner and dessert to follow
Maple Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Seitan
Creamy Rosemary Polenta with Maple Sea Salt
Kohlrabi and Cabbage Slaw with Maple Lemon Dressing, Pears & Pecans
Sweet Potatoes Fries
Green Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Maple Butter
Maple Cider Toffee // Coffee + Tea
ticket costs $55 - availability is limited
Andy Paonessa and Meghan Stotko own and operate Heartwood Farm in Albany, VT which includes a sugaring operation, 5 acre diversified vegetable farm with greenhouses and a mobile catering service and food truck. They attend the weekly summer and winter farmer's markets in Burlington and Montpelier where they sell their maple syrup and vegetables. Their syrup can also be found at Pete's Greens farm stands in Waterbury and Craftsbury; Harvest Market in Stowe; Craftsbury General Store and Parker Pie Co. Eat their vegetables at Buffalo Mountain Coop, Green Mountain Farm Direct (part of Green Mountain Farm to School), Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury General Store, Sterling College and Parker Pie Co.
The photos and text have been prepared by Meghan Stotko.
Heartwood Farm began in 2010 with a handshake lease.
Until this year, we haven’t owned a single tree. For 6 seasons, our sugarbush has been a generous birdshot of neighbors’ retired maple stands and roadside giants. We lease 600 maples between Sweeney’s trailer and Dale’s Pond, 100 or so that weave through South Albany’s original cellar holes, 80 along the sheep fields that stretch toward Craftsbury, 50 in Earl’s ditch, 30 in view of Whitcomb’s kitchen window, 5 next to Urie’s swingset—you get the idea. Over the years, we’ve expanded—asking more and more neighbors, or the same neighbors for more: Mind if we tap that hedgerow? The answer has always been yes and, except for Francis Whitcomb, the exchange has always been a few gallons of syrup at the end of the season. Francis Whitcomb consumes an unlimited supply of Heartwood Farm syrup because without his sugarhouse, we’d have no sugar.
Francis, who was the first and long-standing president of the Northeast Sugar Makers Association—the reason you can get a real maple creemee at the Barton Fair—had an oil-fired Leader evaporator that was collecting dust in the sugarhouse across from our first veggie field. Now 93 years old, he consumes a quart of syrup every week. That’s a lot of syrup, I say to him. He grins: It’s the only thing keeping me alive! Francis is a very tall, very thin Merlin-type with a booming, theatrical voice and a penchant for leaving us phone messages demanding more syrup: Bonjour, Madame et Monsieur! Whitcomb here. . . . He’s also a WWII Air Force vet, retired high school history teacher, 7-time Democratic candidate for the VT House (he lost every time to the incumbent Republican), driver of a 1930 Ford Model T, and the primary reason we have a maple business.
Now, Heartwood Farm is in its 6th season. After our first year at Whitcomb’s, we converted their 3 ½’ x 10’ evaporator to wood, building a brick arch under the front pan. We gather 1,200 buckets with the help of friends, our neighbor Earl—the patron saint of fixing things and Mich Light—and a handful of seasonal employees. Early spring a small crew of us traipses around town hammering taps and lifting buckets from the back of an old Ford F250, and as the season progresses, our uniform devolves from thick layers of wool to t-shirts. Sugaring is the time everything comes around after a long winter: moths, chipmunks, friends … and we spend our nights together boiling, drinking, and catching up.