CHASING (WHITE) TAIL
In his big-game article [“Antler Archive,” March 11], Mike Ives failed to mention that whitetail deer are not native to Vermont. The Fish and Wildlife Department’s efforts to increase the state’s whitetail deer population are nothing more than further subsidies to an already subsidized species.
The whitetail deer is famous for being far more numerous in North America today than it was at the time of European settlement, but it is a southern species. Vermont hunters are so worried about “deer yards” because without humans, whitetails cannot survive the northern winter. Some whitetail deer lived in the human-altered landscapes of aboriginal Connecticut and Massachusetts, and, with native farmers, penetrated along rivers further north, but it was only after the clearing of the forests in the 1800s that suitable whitetail habitat was created in northern Vermont. Whitetails do best around people and their lawns, office parks and farms.
The Fish and Wildlife Department should focus more energy on our native deer: moose and caribou. Both species were extirpated from Vermont during the 1800s. Moose returned as the forests grew back in the 20th century. The nearest caribou live in northern Québec. A return of caribou would require a reintroduction, but in a state that prides itself on its commitment to the environment, perhaps it is possible.
Peter Du Brul
In [“Drug Deals,” March 18], how did you leave out the option of going to Montréal, finding someone who writes prescriptions for travelers and getting prescriptions filled with brand-name drugs incredibly cheap? Montréal is 112 miles from Charlotte. I used this option all the time.
Thank you for the great article on the art of espresso and for sharing what sounds like a wonderful day with Elizabeth in her shop [“Hot Shot,” March 4]. Overall, I want to acknowledge and congratulate author Suzanne Podhaizer for taking a complex craft and making it understandable and enjoyable to readers who are not familiar with the art of being a barista.
Having been in the specialty coffee business for 28 years, and having dedicated my career to training baristas, I am a stickler for details about espresso beverage preparation techniques.
The only little thing I wanted to correct was the comment about how one of Elizabeth’s staff tamped “four times” and the suggestion that this was a “transgression” and “a crime against cappuccino.” When Elizabeth was preparing for her first N.E. competition, I had the opportunity to coach her, and would have shown her the “quadrant tamp” — my preferred method of tamping. I believe it yields the best extraction from the puck because of its completeness in coverage. I would like to optimistically interpret that the “four times” tamp Suzanne witnessed was actually a best practice being performed and not a transgression.
Congratulations to Elizabeth for the success of her shop in Barre. She is a model for the dedicated craftsperson who unites her passion and skill into a service and inspiration for her community.
Holly is director of Corporate Quality & Materials at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
Just want to add that Bennington and the southwest are also represented in the art zine by Matt Perry of Vermont Arts Exchange and reviews by me, Bret Chenkin [“New Online Mag Aims to Be Forum for Vermont Artists,” February 25]. Please keep us in mind, too — the forgotten corner of Vermont! We have a vibrant art scene, and a long tradition of supporting the arts. Soon we will be adding interviews with artists of the area, including Pat Adams, Kevin Bubriski and Daniel Richmond.
Having eaten at both The Skinny Pancake and Kismet recently, I felt it was almost necessary to respond to this potential conflict with deftness and dispatch [“Oh, Crêpe!” Side Dishes, March 11]. The Skinny Pancake is a good restaurant. The food is reasonable fare at a fair price. I had an OK experience there. Perhaps this was because in the back of my mind, I was comparing it to Kismet, where I eat regularly. In a word, Kismet is a treasure — arguably the best restaurant in central Vermont, definitely the best in our little city. While reasonably priced, the food is simultaneously simple, sumptuous and sublime. It is one of Montpelier’s divine little secrets, and folks down these parts protect their own. Benjy Adler may regret not having done a little more research before expanding to the state capital. The Skinny Pancake doesn’t know what it’s walking into.
There were two mistakes in last week’s food story about Essex Farm, “Back to the Land — Again.” Kristin Kimball’s first name was misspelled; and a couple pays $5200, not $3200, for a farm share.