VT: USA Finally, We Get to the Fiddleheads (Day Three)!
Updated: Feb 22, 2020
ROAD TRIPPING IN NEW ENGLAND
For Phyl's cooking section of this website, she tries to recreate local specialities from all of the places we travel. If you Google local food in Vermont, New England, you will find bison burgers, venison, cheeses of all sorts and anything and everything made with maple syrup including maple creamee ice creams and maple snow (literal snow). Clearly, the oddest thing on the list are fiddleheads, and we made it our cause de jour of day three to find them.
Fiddleheads are ferns before they become ferns, specifically the Ostrich fern. They are common in New England and Canada, sprout naturally in damp, wet areas and can only be foraged by individuals. This, as well as an extremely short growing period, is why they are considered a delicacy and can be quite pricy.
We set off on our third day of our Vermont adventure with a hike in search of Sterling Falls Gorge and Emily's Covered Bridge. As we had so far failed to find fiddleheads on any menu, perhaps we could forage our own. Eventually, we trekked closer to town and serendipitously came across the Stowe Farmer's Market. What better place to find the elusive fiddlehead than already harvested for us in a farmer's market?
The Stowe Farmer's Market, located on the Mountain Road next to the Blue Donkey, is open every Sunday from May to October, rain or shine, from 10 am -3pm. Vermont leads the USA in farmer's markets, organic producers, dollars spent on organic products and CSA's. You can find the vendors that trade at the market on www.stowefarmersmarket.com and you can bet that a large portion of those vendors sell food products that involve maple.
Although the weather wasn't perfect, there was a country band playing and lots of families with kids and dogs. After a dollar's worth sample of maple vodka, we sampled maple popcorn, maple soda, maple chipotle syrup, maple chipotle nuts and ...pot stickers. There were several green grocers, but alas, not fiddleheads.
Near the pot stickers, we found a pickler who might possibly have had jarred fiddleheads. She'd been sold out for months, but she did at least inform us that fiddleheads only come out early spring and would not be available anywhere fresh until 2019. The search for fiddleheads was over, so we sampled the next best thing: tongue pickles. These pickles are made from overgrown and yellow cucumbers and look like, well, pieces of tongue.
Now we needed something to search for, so we jumped in the car and went off in search of covered bridges. Covered bridges always make me think of prairie dresses, geriatric sex and steamy car windows, but The Bridges of Madison County was set in Iowa. Even still, there are 100 authentic covered bridges in Vermont, more than any other state. A covered bridge is considered authentic due to its trussed construction. Most are elusive, some lead to no where, and they are all very beautiful.
Lamoille County, close to Stowe should have had 13 bridges. Out of those 13, we located about five.
A quick stop to Pie-casso for some pizza and it was another day done and dusted. Back to our beautiful suite for laundry and packing.
Sadly, after three days in the car, our cannoli from Mikes Pastry had to go in the bin along with the second half of the turkey sandwich. Don't worry, we will pick up on the cannoli in the next post.
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