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Recipe of the Month- Pumpkin Bean Soup

Winter squash curing in the new Activity Center basement

Winter squash curing in the new Activity Center basement. Delicata squash in the front, butternut in the back, and pumpkins underneath!

The news from the Craftsbury Outdoor Center garden/kitchen: we just harvested over 1,300 squash and pumpkins! You read that correctly, that is over one thousand little orange, green, and yellow balls of fall goodness. Let the winter squash cooking frenzy begin. Of course, we love all manner of pumpkin desserts, but sometimes you have to think outside the box and go the savory route. We think you’ll love warming up with a bowl of this pumpkin and bean soup on a cool fall day.

Serves 8
2 cups cooked white beans or chickpeas
6 cups pumpkin purée
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
6-8 cups water

In a soup pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion, celery, ginger, and garlic, stirring occasionally. When tender and beginning to brown, add beans, salt, pepper, parsley, and pumpkin purée. Add 6 cups of water and simmer 15 to 25 minutes, uncovered. Add more water as necessary until the right consistency is achieved.

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Eye-Popping Colors and Buttery Sunshine: Final Running Camp

End of September. Jewel colored leaves. Sunshine pouring down like honey. 15 happy runners. Our final running camp of 2014. It seemed none of us could recall an autumn display as drop dead gorgeous as this weekend. Everything we did was tinged with vibrant reds, oranges and yellows surrounding us. The kitchen knocked us out with superb food. We had a clutch of new faces, 4 rollicking Canadian women, 4 returning runners, 3 college buddies 2 old pals and 1 sculler who defected to running camp: a terrific group for the weekend.

Scenes from the non-stop beauty of Foliage and Running weekend camp:

The Ridge the way all Craftsbury runners think of it – misty and beautiful

Lane, Alex and Dan were college teammates who got together for running camp

Irene shows the Matterhorn who’s the boss

Old friends Bill and Mike bend to Coach Melissa’s stretching instruction

Heather is bendy

Mt. Pisgah peak baggers

Elena and Coach Mike savored the hike together

It was so warm we went for a swim after this photo

Returning athlete Patsy runs in from the Ridge Run with Coach Laurie

Coach Melissa with Dave and Ashley after the Ridge Run. This was Dave’s longest run since the Nixon Administration!

Heather, Marcie and Lin are all chirked up after the Ridge Run

Elena takes no prisoners during running camp and she challenged the leaves with her vibrant running kit

Thank you to all the runners who made this summer’s camps so terrific. Lots in store for 2015 – see you then!

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Autumn Running

A monarch butterfly at Lake Willoughby was in torpor, she needed warmer temps to fly

Laura and Nancy are fast friends and came to running camp for a shared holiday

Long time pals, Leon and Sue returned to Craftsbury for the first time in 4 years. Sure was good to see them!

Sweaters and jackets were necessary for coaches Jennings and Larsen-Strecker on Pisgah

Smiling runners on Pisgah

The protected sliver of a beach at the south end of Lake Willoughby was the perfect out of the wind spot for our lunch post-hike

Leon composes a haiku while contemplating the red boat on Willoughby

We had a gorgeous morning for the Ridge Run and Sarah and Anya charged to the finish line

Bernd and Sean stop the Sunday morning traffic on Lost Nation Road after the Ridge Run while Towhee keeps an eye on them

Sandy and Sue are glowing after the Ridge Run 10 miler

Marty and Coach Mike roll in after a sunny 10 miles

Our first autumn weekend running camp had a bunch of new faces, some old friends who returned and Dr. Bernd Heinrich who read to us from “Why We Run,” his classic book on running and evolution.

We felt like primal creatures as we departed from Cedar Lounge in near darkness just a bit after 6:00am for our Ridge Run sojourn. To ascend the Ridge as the sun was rising, to run amidst the mists, to toil up King Farm hill with the sun glinting on our backs was an exercise in simplicity and devotion.  The water stop was self-service this morning – we all ran the loop and Hugo added on another 5 miles for a total of 15.

In classic autumn fashion, we needed tights, hats and mittens on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday morning we were in shorts and t-shirts.

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Videos from our favorite Bulgarian Cinematographer

PM vidsPepa has passed along some of the footage from the Glacier trip. Get a bit of sense of what the GRPers were up to the past month.

Skate Day
Classic Day

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Deconstructing Wilbur’s

A shell of its former self – a partially deconstructed Wilbur’s on August 27th, 2014

If you’ve been around the Outdoor Center much this summer you may have noticed the slow disappearance of Wilbur’s, the building near the hoop houses at the end of Lemon’s Haunt. Wilbur’s is being deconstructed by ReSource and some of the salvaged material will be used by the Center while the remaining material will be sold to the ReSource Store, which provides families and individuals in crisis with building materials and reduces the amount of waste placed in landfills.

The Center purchased the building three years ago and reviewed options for its future. Ultimately, it was decided the building had issues that were hard to remediate: an outdated and energy inefficient construction style, it would have been difficult, and not cost-effective to upgrade to meet our needs.

The Wilbur’s site will not be vacant for long as the Center plans to start building cluster of 6 cabins there next spring. These cabins will be built to replace the accommodations currently offered by Tamarack. The cabins will be simple and energy-efficient and will support a variety of guest needs with single, double, and triple units currently planned for construction.

So what about Tamarack? With a bad foundation, inefficient heating system, and poor insulation, Tamarack is not in good condition. While Tamarack could be renovated, this very expensive proposition would still not address its location in the natural drainage path of the skating pond and the swamp feeding the pond. Thus, once the cabins are finished, Tamarack will also be deconstructed.

When you’re at the Center please feel free to stop by the Wilbur’s site and check out the changes taking place!

Wilbur’s one week later from the opening picture – just the foundation remains!

 

Some salvaged windows.

 

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Recipe of the Month- Almond Orchard Apple Crisp

That nip in the morning (and afternoon, and evening) air can only mean only thing:  fall is coming! Luckily fall brings some of our favorite things: foliage, pumpkins and squash, cozy sweaters, and most importantly, apples. The trees around the Center are loaded with them, so it’s the perfect opportunity to make a classic dessert dish, apple crisp. This version gets a slight twist with almonds in the crisp layer, but retains all the crunchy sweet goodness of the original.

Oven 375°
Yield- 9”x13”

3 lbs. sliced apples (with our without skin)
½ cup flour
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 lemon (juice)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

Almond Topping
1 ½ cup rolled oats
2 ¼ cup flour
2 ¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup chopped almonds
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 lb. butter + 2 Tbsp

Butter hotel pan. In pan, mix drained apples, flour, and cinnamon. Toss to coat. Then add sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss to coat.

Mix topping in a large bowl and mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Melt butter, pour over top and mix well until mixture becomes coarse crumbs.

Put mixture on top of apples, gently press topping down. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes -1 hour.

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Garden Harvests

The previous garden post focused on the garden plants and layout, in pictures, but intentionally omitted an important part of the garden – the harvesters!  As mentioned in that post, the garden workers are a crucial part of the gardening operation.  Tending plants and harvesting vegetables takes no small amount of work – here is a series of photos of garden workers around the Outdoor Center this summer. And a few photos of particularly nice flowers too!

Skier Liz Guiney with a beautiful bin of tomatoes

Skier Liz Guiney with a beautiful bin of tomatoes

Pam, Amy and Liz survey the tomatoes earlier in the summer.  By now the vines reach the roof.

Pam, Amy and Liz survey the tomatoes earlier in the summer. By now the vines reach the roof.

Liz in the tomato jungle

Liz in the tomato jungle

Weeding and pulling out old scallions. From left: Mary (SBTC rower), Pam (garden guru), Maggie (GRP rower)

Weeding and pulling out old scallions. From left: Mary (SBTC rower), Pam (garden guru), Maggie (GRP rower)

Kaitlynn (GRP skier) and Mary (SBTC rower) weed beyond the onion patch

Kaitlynn (GRP skier) and Mary (SBTC rower) weed beyond the onion patch

Rowers Mary and Maggie clean vegetables at the sink

Rowers Mary and Maggie clean vegetables at the sink

Picking kale

Picking kale

Onions!

Onions!

Beautiful colors of swiss chard

Beautiful colors of swiss chard

Green and yellow zucchini and summer squash, boxed and heading towards the kitchen

Green and yellow zucchini and summer squash, boxed and heading towards the kitchen

GRP skier Ida with a big bunch of parsley and garlic scapes

GRP skier Ida with a big bunch of parsley and garlic scapes

We have a large patch of flowers for making arrangements and decorations

We have a large patch of flowers for making arrangements and decorations

Brilliant red flowers

Brilliant red flowers

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

Echinacea flowers

Echinacea flowers

Posing with our flowers. GRP skier Caitlin (author), on left, GRP rower Jamie on the right, on a particularly hot and humid day in the garden

Posing with our flowers. Myself, Caitlin, on left, GRP rower Jamie on the right

Flower arrangements! Pam and Amy gave most of us gardening girls lessons in flower arranging, which is a fun way to keep the COC looking great!

Flower arrangements! Pam and Amy gave most of us gardening girls lessons in flower arranging, which is fun!

 

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Recipe of the Month- Garden Fresh Caprese Salad

There is technically still one day left in the month of August, so we figure it’s not too late to post our Recipe of the Month. It’s especially not too late to post a recipe this good; it’s all about simple, quality ingredients here. The greenhouses here at the Center are bursting with vine-ripened tomatoes, and the basil is flourishing behind the garden fence, so what better than to combine those two fresh ingredients with a little mozzarella, and create the perfect summer salad? Caprese makes an ideal light lunch or a delicious appetizer and the visual appeal can’t be beat. It’s also so easy that it won’t take longer than 10 minutes to make, and probably even less time to eat!

Yield- however much you want!

Local vine-ripened tomatoes (preferably from a farmer’s market or a nearby garden)
Fresh cow’s milk or buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes ¼ inch thick, repeat with the mozzarella. Wash and dry the fresh basil. On a platter, arrange the tomato slices, top with mozzarella and garnish with basil. Optional: Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Buon appetito!

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2014 COC Gardens in Full Swing

The Outdoor Center gardens are bigger and better than ever this summer!

There are two main vegetable gardens around the COC campus in addition to a few smaller areas with edibles, and numerous flower beds surrounding most buildings. The main vegetable garden is located behind the office, with another garden in an upper field beyond our woodshed and garage.  Growing vegetables and herbs on-site keeps us directly involved with the food chain, from seed to plate – it’s a way to help keep our operation as local and sustainable as possible.

Rows of pepper and squash plants overlooking Big Hosmer

Rows of pepper and squash plants overlooking Big Hosmer

While our gardens don’t account for nearly all of the produce served in the dining hall (much of the rest is from Pete’s Greens and other local farmers!), every day during the summer at Craftsbury you’re bound to be eating a few things grown within hundreds of feet of the dining hall!

This year, we are growing the following:

Herbs: basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano, thyme, tarragon, chives, mint, lavender

Vegetables and various other edibles: Peas, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, kale, swiss chard, beets, onions, scallions, garlic, green and purple beans, nasturtiums, strawberries  ….and probably some others that I’m forgetting at the moment!

Ominous skies over one of the two tomato greenhouses

Ominous skies over one of the two tomato greenhouses

Green peppers

Green peppers

Marigolds at the end of a row of parsley. Marigolds help discourage bugs.

Marigolds at the end of a row of parsley. Marigolds help discourage bugs.

Swiss chard in with more marigolds

Swiss chard in with more marigolds

Purple kale and basil beyond it

Purple kale and basil beyond it

Basil

Basil

GRP skier Liz Guiney in the middle of the pea patch in July

GRP skier Liz Guiney in the middle of the pea patch in July

We grew purple snow peas this year, in addition to yellow ones and the more-normal green variety

We grew purple snow peas this year, in addition to yellow ones and the more-normal green variety

Mystery volunteer squash plants growing on a compost pile near the gardens

Mystery volunteer squash plants growing on a compost pile near the gardens

A green squash growing within the mystery vines

A green squash growing within the mystery vines

Hiding within the mystery pile, something orange

Hiding within the mystery pile, something orange

PizzaGarden

The “Pizza Garden” near the dining hall contains pizza ingredients like basil and peppers, as well as herbs including lavender and various thymes

Gardening takes constant work throughout the spring summer and fall, and planning ahead of time as well as prioritizing the work to do each day. Luckily we have a dedicated and experienced gardening team, headed by gardeners extraordinaire Amy and Pam.  A rotating cast of regular garden helpers includes GRP skiers and rowers, as well as SBTC rowers, and various friends and visitors. Especially in the busy growing season months of July in August, we harvest vegetables or herbs about 3-4 times a week, coordinating with the kitchen based on their meal plans and garden produce availability.

While the gardens are not “certified organic” they are effectively organic – we value a chemical-free and holistic approach, aiming to grow food that is full of nutrients and good for the people eating it.  Amy and Pam have extensive experience growing things but are never afraid to try new methods to keep pests away or enrich the soil with nutrients, so we have a combination of tried-and-true and more creative approaches.  Garden soil is somewhat of a “living organism” itself, composed of numerous minerals, organic material, microbes, insects, and many other critters.  Thus we feed it with compost, generated on-site from kitchen scraps, weeds and other detritus, as well as some more unusual things.  This year we’ve been giving all of the gardens an occasional dose of fish, molasses, and sea minerals.

[Numeric sidenote: According to www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com, "in one teaspoon of living soil there are 100 million to 1 billion bacteria,1 mile to 40 miles of fungal hyphae, and 1,000-100,000 protozoa." Incredible! The details of the immensely complex connections between these microbes and plants is not fully understood, but it's been shown that fish and molasses  provide nutrients and sugars to make the microbes and the overall soil happy, so it makes us happy to apply them! Healthy soil --> healthy plants --> healthy people!]

Jugs of fish puree and molasses, next to the watering can used to apply the nutrients to the soil

Jugs of fish puree and molasses, next to the watering can used to apply the nutrients to the soil

On the topic of larger critters, the rabbits and deer have been particularly voracious and plentiful this year, so we have fences surrounding much of the vegetable garden.  Crops that didn’t get planted within the fence, such as the pole beans, have become a snack for the roaming deer.  Luckily for us human consumers, the beans are still growing and the deer seem to be most interested in the leaves!

Pole beans growing over an old greenhouse frame, before the deer stopped by for a snack

Pole beans growing over an old greenhouse frame, before the deer stopped by for a snack

Ideally these pole beans would have leaves all the way up their stalks, but the deer ate them!

Ideally these pole beans would have leaves all the way up their stalks, but the deer ate them!

Earlier this summer the deer nibbled some unprotected kale.  Now it's all growing within a fence.

Earlier this summer the deer nibbled some unprotected kale. Now it’s all growing within a fence.

Amy next to one of our impromptu deer fences, the white cloth is protecting cucumber plants

Amy next to one of our impromptu deer fences, the white cloth is protecting cucumber plants

Welcome garden visitor - a bee pollinating a squash flower

A welcome garden visitor – a bee pollinating a squash flower

Unwelcome visitor - snails chew holes into the kale and other plants, so we pick them off by hand at every chance

Unwelcome visitor – snails chew holes into the kale and other plants, so we pick them off by hand at every chance

We're happy to see earthworms, which aerate the soil

We’re happy to see earthworms, which aerate the soil

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Videos from Evan Scales

scales blogWant to relive some of the summer of 2014? Craftsbury Runner Evan Scales shared two cool edits with us, one of Masters week, the other more general. Find them both on YouTube:

Masters 2014
Craftsbury 2014 Scenes

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