- Matthew Thorsen
- Courtney Contos talking to a class
Saturday, May 21, marks the return of chef Courtney Contos' pop-up dinners, a series of monthly feasts served at the large farmhouse table at Chef Contos Kitchen & Store in Shelburne.
Though her main focus is cooking instruction, Contos says she relishes the creative catharsis of the pop-up series. "It's fun to get these ideas out of my system and just cook ... like I'm cooking for friends," she tells Seven Days. "I'm not instructing. I'm just feeding people."
Each menu will highlight a different world cuisine. This weekend's Mexican-focused meal features braised chicken with Yucatan black chile sauce, traditional sopes and coconut rice pudding. Upcoming dinners will explore cuisines such as Cuban and Greek, sometimes with guest chefs cohosting.
In Panton, Agricola Farm is building on the success of its monthly dinner club series with two new weekend lunch series. Last Sunday, May 15, the farm hosted its first Pranzi, a family-style, multicourse luncheon recalling a languid Italian afternoon spent enjoying food and drink.
And this Saturday, May 21, Agricola will launch a farm-to-grill barbecue series with flame-kissed meats, bruschetta and Italian vegetables. Can't make it this weekend? Starting June 5, the Pranzi and farm-to-grill series will alternate most Sundays this summer.
Last Saturday, May 14, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets consumer protection section chief Henry Marckres was inducted into the North American Maple Hall of Fame.
The induction honored the chief's 30-year career in the maple industry. During that time, Marckres has served on two international maple boards and cofounded theMaple Grading School. The latter has trained hundreds of regulators, producers, packers and consumers on maple grading since 2002. For this work, Marckres has become the industry's go-to guy for issues regarding maple flavor and overall quality.
In a phone call on Monday, though, he was humble about his status. "It was quite an honor," he told Seven Days. "Part of the way I try to do my job is to educate and train people."
On May 12, Cabot Creamery received a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for its work in renewable energy production at Barstow's Longview Farm in Hadley, Mass. There, a $2.8 million anaerobic biodigester converts manure, food scraps and production waste into 2,200 megawatt-hours of energy annually.
That's enough energy to power some 250 homes for a year, or to make a year's supply — 50 million pounds — of Cabot butter.