Susie Crowther

Finding abundance in Vermont winters

A trip to northern California stands in stark contrast to the Yankee credo ‘Waste not, want not’

Last month, my husband Mark and I took a trip out West. We landed in Sacramento and drove a scenic loop through Oregon and Washington state, stopping along the way to promote our newly-hatched book.

I hadn't visited in about 20 years and missed it so. The Northwest reminds me of a slightly nicer version of the Northeast: progressive,-active,-and friendly-er.

Maybe it's the wide skies and gentle weather, but there is an openness about the landscape and its people that leaves me expansive and nostalgic.

But there was one thing that was not nicer. Let's call it “the rotting.”...

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Our thriving, kindred community is no longer in Vermont

A search for a more hospitable climate and economy led two Brattleboro expatriates to a new home: Tennessee

I'm here in my kitchen baking gluten-free goodies for this week's farmers' market. I use homegrown garden squash, eggs from our neighbors, and raw milk from a goat we co-own with the market manager - a sweet little Nigerian named Molasses (the goat, not the manager. The manager is...

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Honoring a thriving local weed

The strong and stubborn dandelion is also versatile and nourishing

Pau d'Arco from the Amazon rainforest. Korean Ginseng. Norwegian Angelica. Exotic herbs from distant lands create a romantic allure. Their properties of longevity beguile us and create demands half a world away. Yet right here in our own backyard grows an herb equally as magical. Our humble dandelion packs...

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Roasting bridges the seasons

Knock, knock. -Who's there? -Spring. -Spring who? Ahh, springtime in Vermont. 'Round here, “In like a lion, out like a lamb,” applies to April; March heads out as a slightly smaller lion. Forget climate change; this winter resembled climate derange. Vermont spring is messy: white snow becomes brown mud; icy roads convert to cratered potholes; melting roofs cause soggy Sheetrock. Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find even a grumpy New Englander complaining about these first signs of spring after the...

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A fresh start to 2015

The New Year is a wonderful time to get started - sourdough started, that is. A tradition in many cultures, as old as baking itself, sourdough starter is the magic that converts flour, water, and salt into chewy, crusty bread. Starter is the first step in the fermenting process of grains. Fermenting is a fancy way of saying “breaking down,” and breaking down is a layman's way of saying pre-digesting. Grain is eaten by bacteria. As they digest the grain,

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Free spirit

When you think of baking for the holidays, what comes to mind? Sugar cookies? Gingerbread houses? What comes to my mind is Patricia Austin. Patricia, a local Vermonter, has nurtured a passion for baking her entire life. Trained in classical French pastry techniques, she began her trade apprenticing under local icons Chuck Hornsby and Jeff Hamelman. She then ventured out, honing her skills over many years of passionate work. She traveled the world - including visiting Paris - only to...

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Antidote to stress

As the weather turns cold and wet, our immune system is more in demand, fending off colds and flu. Damp rains block out the sun, increasing seasonal affective disorder - aptly abbreviated SAD. A major culprit to our immune system is the holidays, which bring stress. Stress, by its simplest definition, is change in our bodies and minds. Whether good (eustress) or bad (distress), stress changes us by releasing powerful chemicals - cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone - that deal with...

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Getting back to roots

Recently, I held my first culinary class, which featured herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Oh, and sorrel. Food is medicine, and cooking with herbs improves health and reduces disease symptoms. We explored each herb's healing benefits: Parsley purifies the blood, sage invigorates and strengths the system, rosemary stimulates and clarifies the mind, thyme cleanses and tones the respiratory system, and sorrel provides a nutritious source of minerals and enzymes. These herbs all grow vigorously in our New England climate.

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