A food review by Daniel B.
Usually local food is conceived to be small food. But sometimes it gets complicated. So today I thought it would be a good idea to bring together two different sides of the local food continuum.
Cabot Creamery Cooperative is huge. Their products are available nationally at places like Wal-Mart. And while the brand’s heritage is in Vermont, as the brand has grown and brought in more member dairies from New England and Upstate New York, Cabot has stopped using The Green Mountain State as part of its logo. These days there are a surprising number of local farms involved in the production of Cabot.
Beth’s Farm Kitchen has been operating for over thirty years in Columbia County out of an old farmhouse, and is dedicated to providing jam, jellies and other foodstuffs made from locally or regionally grown products. In fact in 2011 they purchased more than 63,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables from regional farmers. They are sold at farmers markets and specialty stores around the northeast.
Both make some special things, and both help to support local farmers. So let’s enjoy them, simply, in an appreciation of the cold winter season.
In my lifetime, yogurt has gone from being a fat-free dieter’s delight to another portable form of sugar in our lives. Looking down the yogurt aisle in the supermarket, and reading the names of flavors sounds like you are in a candy shop or an ice cream parlor. Yet still, the vast majority of the yogurts are low fat or fat free. Some are even sugar free and heavily sweetened with unpleasant sugar alternatives.
All of this makes it difficult to think of yogurt as a decadent pleasure.
But that’s exactly what Cabot’s plain Greek-style yogurt is. It’s 10% milk fat. That’s huge. A serving of this yogurt has more saturated fat than a serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And that’s not bad, that’s delicious.
This is thick, heavy, rich and creamy stuff. On its own it tastes surprisingly like a slightly tangier version of cream cheese, and it’s thick enough to spread with a knife. Plus, it’s unadulterated by gums, starches or thickeners, so the yogurt has a nice clean finish in the mouth. Especially when it’s paired with something sweet and tart.
That’s where Beth’s Farm Kitchen comes in with their very elegant red currant jam. This is a beautiful product, made from whole currants, that spoon out of the jar like jewels. It kind of reminds me of salmon roe, especially how they pop on your tongue.
As a whole fruit jam the red currants are packed with their seeds, so those add a little texture. Really almost any of their sweet jellies or jams would provide a good complement to this yogurt. If jam isn’t sweet enough on its own, a little local honey goes a long way too. And combined these make a sweet, fruity and creamy treat for those cold winter months when ice cream has completely lost its appeal. Plus it is great to have the reminder of summer’s fruity bounty in the form of a whole fruit jam, when even the prospect of spring feels like an eternity away.
Big or small, we’re all in this together.
About Daniel B.
A west coast transplant now living in Albany, Daniel Berman is applying his communication strategy background to food writing with the ultimate goal of improving the culinary landscape in the Capital Region. He writes the FUSSYlittleBLOG and contributes regularly to All Over Albany.