Saturday, November 28, 2009

crafty vegetables

The Eleven got up early-ish yesterday and spent Black Friday doing something much more interesting than even contemplating stores and malls: we drove about southern Vermont visiting artist studios around the Putney area. We'd done the tour over Thanksgiving weekend in 2005 and it was high on my list this year. Putney, and the surrounding woods, is surrounded by what must be hundreds of beautiful studios and artists who create every type of art you can imagine. Yesterday we narrowed down our list to six or seven that included pottery, tiles, quilting, Japanese woodworking, bookbinding and prints, and a spinnery. With a loads of rain in the morning the studios weren't overly crowded so we were able to stay warm by diving into studios warmed by wood-burning stoves.

This morning I headed into Brattleboro to gather some root vegetables at the Winter Farmers Market. The holy grail was a Gilfeather turnip that I was clued in on at Thanksgiving dinner at Ellen's. She made an unbelievable turnip soup and discussion rounded back to exactly what type of turnip was the genesis of the dish. This led to some ooh-ing and aah-ing by the locals as they spoke in hushed tones of the heirloom Gilfeather turnips. I have no way of knowing whether it was Ellen or the turnip (that would be a great book name: Ellen or the Turnip) but I'll have some idea when I make soup next week from the five-pound Gilfeather that's safely ensconced in the car. I also grabbed loads of massive parsnips for roasting, what appears to be a five-to-seven-pound bag of organic hardstem garlic, red and golden beets, and three pounds of beautiful Jerusalem artichokes. All will travel well back to Northern Virginia and end their service in soups, gratins, and myriad roasting pans.

There's a short story about Laurel, a small goat, and I from a visit to Vermont a few years back. Maybe I'll jot it down, have Laurel add to and edit it, and then pass it along. Either way, the above is another Vermont picture; it's the barn next door that plays a central role in the Laurel and the Goat tale.

We're loading up the car this afternoon and will drive halfway home this afternoon. We'll be back on The Hilltop pretty early Sunday afternoon.


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