Did you know?
—That all carrots are not orange?
—That despite their color, lilac colored peppers taste like green peppers?
—That hand-blown glass beads look like rare jewels?
—That oatmeal-raisin cookies can be made thick as a really great hamburger and just as round?
—That goat cheese comes in many flavors?
—There are more varieties of potatoes than you have aunts and uncles?
—That a peach and cheddar cheese Danish is one of the tastiest things on the planet?
—There are yarn balls that could serve as planets on Star Trek?
—What a guyascutas is? [pronounced: guy-us-cutt-us].
Yep. Uyup. Right heeyah. I learned all this and MO-AH at the Rutland Farmers Market downtown in the “squa-yah”.
Carrots, it seems, are orange because the Dutch family that first sold them commercially in the western world was enamored with orange, but in reality, carrots grown from the best seeds can be many colors but all taste remarkably similar (http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html).
And did you know there are varieties of sweet peppers that are colored like lilacs but still taste like green peppers?—mighty pretty though. They grow and sell them at Right Mind Farm.
Before I forget it, a “guyascutas” is a made-up name for a make-believe Vermont cow. Supposedly its legs are shorter on one side than they are on the other. That way, it can walk comfortably along the steep hillsides in Vermont.
Wendy Jennejahn at Chelsea Square makes hand-blown and crafted glass beads that are incredibly jewel-like. The colors and shapes resemble sparkling little planets and stars in the heavens.
Vermont-sized oatmeal-raisin cookies are a lunch in themselves to be savored with a large glass of cold Vermont milk.
Vermont is famous for its fine cheeses, especially at Blue Ledge Farm where goat cheeses are a gift from the gods. Some are sweet and creamy, some, tangy and sparkling. My favorite is a blue goat cheese called Lakes Edge named for the rocks along the edge of Lake Champlain. Its rich flavor combines vegetable ash with sweet creamy goat cheese.
And did I mention that peaches and cheddar cheese on a Danish roll are irresistibly delicious? Bears repeating! (And re-eating.)
Vermont is like the essence of fine French champagne married with a rich, deep, fruity California pinot noir. Rutland has this essence with its outstanding Farmers Market and lovely, friendly people. The lushness of Vermont in summer is almost tropical. Green valleys spread out between rolling hills and mountains; puffy white clouds accent every view; small farms dot the landscape and little churches pop up along roadsides running over with wildflowers and roadside farmers’ stands. But on Saturday it all comes to town as the Rutland Farmers Market.
Of course, as you would expect, the farmers and gardeners of the area grow wonderful vegetables, prepare incredibly good pickled and jarred veggies, tasty baked specialties and the best corn on the cob you can imagine, not to mention the best beef in the north country. And the crafters create unique treasures with their own yarns, woodcraft, ceramics, fabric, and much more than I can list here.
Last Saturday at the Rutland Farmers Market I sampled six varieties of goat cheese from the Blue Ledge Farm. For lunch I savored a homemade croissant stuffed with fresh smoked ham and wonderful cheddar cheese. Brought home yellow potatoes, tiny white and red onions for dinner, and a bag of fresh picked apples tasting every bit as good as the ones I stole from the apple tree down the lane when I was a kid.
Walking the neighborhood where I am staying, the lush yard gardens aim to lift one’s spirit by offering extraordinary selections of green ground cover in front yards shaded by silver maple, butternut, and birch; carpeted by deep green grasses and carefully chosen flowers.
Rutland homes are quite beautifully kept. White paint prevails, but there is an occasional dissenter with gray, or moss green paint, even a house painted burgundy with porch columns wrapped lightly with yellow silk forsythias (makes me think of Salem and the witch trials).
Vermonters are a hearty people withstanding cold, cold winters and wonderfully temperate summers; unpredictable spring and fall weather patterns; and winter mountain roads sidling by frozen bogs and marshes. Thunderstorms on hot summer days blow down huge trees, telephone and electrical poles as well as wash the streets, clean-out gutters, swamp rain drains; generally create the green that makes Vermont: The Green Mountain state.
So come on up for a spell. Enjoy country living and beautiful Lake Champlain. Hear some down-home music in the square, watch crafters spin webs of fine products from tin, wood, glass, marble, and fiber; farmers who can grow the finest vegetables, even on a rock ledge, and artisans with a keen sense of design and color. Who knows: you might even see a GUYASCUTAS comin’ roun’ the mountain!