Turnip dinner celebrates the state vegetable

Annual event raises funds for library friends

NEWFANE — For one night only, on Friday, Dec. 6, the Four Columns Artisan Restaurant and the Friends of the Wardsboro Library invite everyone to celebrate the season of the Gilfeather turnip, Vermont's state vegetable, with three special dishes added to the restaurant's regular dinner menu.

The dinner is, in part, a benefit for the Friends of the Wardsboro Library, which recently hosted the Gilfeather Turnip Festival.

The funds support the upkeep of the 1840s farmhouse and attached barn that house the Wardsboro Public Library; the facility is owned and maintained by the Friends.

The dinner menu specials for this one event all include Gilfeathers from Dutton Farm.

The inn will match donations made that night, suggested at $5 per check.

'A remarkable vegetable'

“The Gilfeather turnip is a remarkable vegetable in that it lends itself to both sweet and savory applications, and that it is so versatile, yielding a variety of different taste experiences depending on treatment,” Chef de Cuisine Erin Bevan says.

Starters will include a warm Gilfeather sformato, with wild mushrooms, flax crisps, cider crème fraîche, pickled Gilfeather, and petit mustard green salad. A sformato is an Italian version of a soufflé.

For those who claim to shun the flavor of turnips, the Gilfeather has creamy texture, and because it stays in the ground until after a series of hard frosts, it is sweet and mild, without the typical bitter taste.

Bevan has used this sweetness to its best advantage in each of the dishes she has created.

For the main course, diners may try Gilfeather gnocchi, lightly sauced in an oxtail ragù made from local beef, over a Trout River Stout Trout beer and Gilfeather puree, served with Dutton Farm kale, Parish Hill Reverie cheese and, for a bite of crisp, Gilfeather chips.

For dessert, Bevan will make Gilfeather napoleons with Vermont maple and Gilfeather crème and Scott Farm heirloom apple gelée, in a spiced puff pastry, garnished with bourbon-caramel and dark chocolate.

The Third Edition of the Gilfeather Turnip Cookbook, published by the Friends, contains more than 100 ways to prepare the state vegetable. Some unique handmade turnip ornaments will also be sold at the event.

Diners will have two options for ordering from the menu. They may choose the prix fixe menu as a three-course meal for $45, not including tax and gratuity, or order one or two of the turnip dishes.

The restaurant is at 21 West St., on the town green. Dinner hours are 5:30–8:30 p.m. For reservations, call 802-365-7713, or at fourcolumnsvt.com/reservations/.

Learn more about the lore, cultivation, and gastronomy of the Gilfeather turnip at wardsborovermont.com.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates