The Art of Preserving Poultry by Atlantic Publishing Group Inc – ISBN: B0095Y540S

  • Full Title: The Art of Preserving Poultry: A Little Book Full of All the Information You Need
  • Autor: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc
  • Print Length: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication Date: September 3, 2012
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B0095Y540S
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 1,34 Mb
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This little book is full of all the information you need about the art of preserving different types of poultry through canning, curing, smoking, and freezing. You will learn how to go about the process of storing it for long-term use in a variety of methods, plus easy to follow recipes. There are also sections on the basic understanding of preserving meat, equipment, methods, and general instructions. This all followed by case studies of real stories from real people, along with a list of resources to help you learn more about the art of preserving all types of meat.

 

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ead Design Collective, LLC

Photographs copyright © 2017 by David Fenton

All rights reserved.Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York

www.crownpublishing.com

www.tenspeed.com

Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Bittner, Stefani, 1969- author. | Harampolis, Alethea.

Title: Harvest : unexpected projects using 47 extraordinary garden plants / Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis ; photography by David Fenton.

Description: First edition. | Berkeley : Ten Speed Press, [2017] | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2016029813 (print) | LCCN 2016037529 (ebook)

Subjects: LCSH: Cooking (Herbs) | Flower arrangement. | Herbal cosmetics. | Medicinal plants. | Plant products. | Gardening.

Classification: LCC TX819.H4 B58 2017 (print) | LCC TX819.H4 (ebook) | DDC

641.6/57—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016029813

Hardcover ISBN 9780399578335

Ebook ISBN 9780399578342

v4.1

prh

Foreword

Introduction

EARLY

RHUBARB Small-Batch, Quick-Pickled Rhubarb

BREADSEED POPPY Poppy Seed Dressing

LILAC Lilac Flower Cream

APPLE & CRABAPPLE Branch Arrangement

BACHELOR’S BUTTONS Blooming Butter

SALAD BURNET Early-Season Herb Salad

ARTICHOKE & CARDOON Artichoke Arrangement

PEPPERMINT CANDY FLOWER Edible Flower–Pressed Cheese

ELDERBERRY Elderflower-Infused Honey

BLACK CUMIN Warmed Olives with Black Cumin Seeds

FEVERFEW Feverfew Tea Bundles

APRICOT Apricot Facial Mask

MID

SCENTED GERANIUM Scented Geranium Sugar

OREGANO Edible Flower–Infused Vinegar

LAVENDER Lavender & Mint Tea

ALPINE STRAWBERRY Alpine Strawberry & Friends Posy

PURPLE CONEFLOWER Gardener’s Salve

ANISE HYSSOP Anise Hyssop Iced Tea

BLUEBERRY Blueberry Dye

FLOWERING BASILS Flowering Basil Arrangement

GEM MARIGOLDS Marigold Bitters (Amaro)

LEMONGRASS Lemongrass Salt Scrub

ROSE Rosewater Facial Toner

YARROW Yarrow Herbal Tincture

BLACKBERRY Summer Prunings Arrangement

LEMON BEE BALM Lemon Bee Balm Tea

AMARANTH Midseason Herb Salad

THYME Custom Herb Blends

CALAMINTHA Herb & Hive Lip Balm

HUCKLEBERRY Huckleberry Shrub

DWARF WINTER SAVORY Salt-Preserved Herbs

LATE

QUINCE Quince Paste

ASIAN PERSIMMON Persimmon Wreath

PINEAPPLE GUAVA Pineapple Guava Simple Syrup

‘BERGGARTEN’ SAGE Sage Garland

SHUNGIKU Late-Season Herb Salad

AUSTRALIAN FINGER LIME Papa’s Finger Lime Gin & Tonic

CHILEAN GUAVA Petite Ugni Arrangement

CHINOTTO ORANGE Vin d’Orange

TURMERIC Turmeric Dye

VIOLA Edible Flower–Infused Water

BORAGE Edible Flower Garnish

BAY LAUREL Bay Laurel Kitchen Wreath

ROSEMARY Smudge Sticks

POMEGRANATE Pomegranate Margarita

MASHUA Tuber Mash

CALENDULA Calendula-Infused Essential Oil

Project Ingredient Alternatives

Terms & Techniques

Resources

Acknowledgments

Index

FOREWORD

I once believed that clipping branches and blooms to bring indoors was akin to denuding my garden. But about ten years ago, I began to interview America’s flower farmers and their customers—floral designers devoted to and creatively fueled by domestic and local botanicals. Mesmerized by their uncommon floral crops, I began to regard the incredible beauty of my own backyard for all of its potential. That meant enjoying not just the small quantity of food (berries, herbs, and vegetables) that my kitchen garden produced, but appreciating its abundance by displaying garden greenery and flowers in my vases.

This new-old philosophy of living with my garden’s generous harvest is best learned from true practitioners, such as Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis of Homestead Design Collective. These women are also proponents of good design, and they adhere to the guiding philosophy of choosing plants at once both ornamental and useful. Although not farms by any means, our urban and suburban backyards should be used in their entirety, say Stefani and Alethea. The culinary world has its own “nose-to-tail” way of eating, and Harvest, the book you hold in your hands, introduces the gardener’s version of that idea—call it a “fruit-to-root” way of growing—with an appreciation for all parts of the plant, from the first tender shoots in spring to the pods and hips of late fall.

I’ve learned so much from these two pioneers. Stefani is a role model for landscape designers, inspiring her harvest-minded clients to turn their once-unproductive yards into prolific (and lovely) sources of edible bounty. Alethea is a role model among the farmer-florist crowd, blending edibles with ornamentals, aromatics with the wild foraged, houseplants with weeds—all to create dramatic, moody, seasonal florals for
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e of this region have been completing for centuries, and each in its own time. The actions that once meant the difference between survival and demise are still meaningful to us today because they respect the earth’s natural rhythms. Modern society’s innovation and technology, so crucial to our improved quality of life, have merely proven what our ancestors knew instinctively: a strawberry or tomato grown in hothouses in January and shipped halfway around the world does not smell or taste like it should.

In each chapter in this book we introduce a time, illustrate the tasks associated with that time in a section called “What We’re Doing Now,” and share a few seasonal dishes. For most people, every New Year begins on January 1 and the rest of the year flows forward from that “starting” date. But on a working farm such as Blackberry, everyone lives each part of the year differently, according to his or her own list of tasks. For our gardeners, the start of the new year is planting time in the spring, when the earth is soft enough to accept the sowing of seeds, and this is where we begin our story. The preservationist celebrates his new year about four to six weeks behind the gardener’s, typically when the first strawberries arrive in late spring. For the charcutier, the new year starts at hog-killin’ time in the fall, for that is when the weather turns colder and is best for curing meat in our outdoor smokehouses. And our livestock caretaker and cheese maker celebrate the new year during late winter’s lambing season, when the lambs are born and the ewes produce abundant milk. Please note that wherever we indicate the months during which these events generally take place, we are naturally referring to our own region; you may have to adjust these rough time frames to make them relevant to your own experience.

I was born right here at Blackberry Farm, and I spent my earliest years living in the Main House when it was simply our home. My father’s business brought us to Alabama for eleven years. School, work, and travel have allowed me to see many places, but when it was time for me and my wife, Mary Celeste, to put down roots, there was no other place on earth I wanted to be than here. This is my birth home, my adult home, and the home of my four children. And there are so many more people who make up the Blackberry Farm family. Spend just a few hours down in the Garden Shed or in the Larder and you’re likely to hear someone offer to lend any sort of hand that’s needed. We care for one another’s pets and kids, and we share joys, sorrows, harvests, and more hours in many days than seems possible, because it all comes down to this: Just like our ancestors who bequeathed this land to us, we are bound to it and to one another—across households, across generations, across lifetimes. We hold dear, above all, respect, passion, and commitment to our region, its crafts, and its history.

Whether we have been lucky enough to have already welcomed you here or we can still look forward to your first visit, I hope that these recipes, stories, and photographs will bring to you a little of the splendor of Blackberry Farm and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Our artisans and chefs embody the wisdom and practice the arts of generations of home cooks who worked with what the mountains, fields, and streams gave them. We nurture these crafts so that we may pass them down to our own children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends like you.

[ FROM OUR KITCHEN TO YOURS ]

A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE

Our ambition is to share recipes and stories that reflect the crafts we practice at Blackberry Farm today, just as centuries of native people and settlers have done before us. To ensure the greatest success in your own kitchen, here are our recommendations regarding a few specific ingredients, pieces of equipment, and techniques.

INGREDIENTS

In a few instances we suggest a substitution for an ingredient that may be difficult to locate widely. When using substitutions, please taste the dish frequently as you prepare it and adjust the seasonings before serving to compensate for the variation that a different ingredient may bring.

KOSHER SALT: We have tested all of the recipes here using Morton kosher salt. The other nationally available brand is Diamond Crystal kosher salt. The primary difference between the two is in the size of the individual flakes, which means that equal volumes of each will weigh different amounts. This may not matter much when you’re adding a pinch here and there, but when measuring larger amounts by volume the differences can add up quickly. A cup of Morton weighs about 1½ times what a cup of Diamond Crystal weighs—roughly 7.7 ounces and 5 ounces, respectively. So when making the Red-Eye Brined Smoked Pork Loin, for example, use 1½ cups Diamond Crystal kosher salt in place of the 1 cup Morton kosher salt that is called for.

SUGAR: We use natural cane
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a party. Add some of our fabulous homemade pizzas and a couple of pastas, followed by some gelati, and you have a bona-fide feast!

We have organized the recipes by season for the simple reason that that is how we think about all food, when it is at its most delicious, and most abundant, and least expensive. One of the great things about these vegetable dishes is that you can make just about all of them in advance and let them sit in the fridge overnight, or even for two or three nights (though if you are planning to make them ahead of time, it’s really best if you do not add the acidic component of the dressing—e.g., vinegar, citrus juice, etc.—until shortly before serving them). In fact, most of them will get even better as the flavors marry whilst mingling in the darkness.

Radishes

WITH BUTTER DRESSING

Fresh Fava Beans

WITH RICOTTA SALATA

Shaved Asparagus

WITH PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

Artichokes with Grana Padano

Chickpeas with Leeks

Spring Peas with Mint

Spring Peas with Mint

SERVES 6

2 pounds peas in the pod, shelled, or 2 cups fresh peas

1 medium red onion, cut into dice about the same size as the peas

½ bunch fresh mint, leaves removed and torn into 2 or 3 pieces each

¼ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Combine the peas, onion, and mint in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The peas can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before serving.)

RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

MAKES 1 CUP

¼ cup red wine vinegar, preferably Chianti

¼ cup sparkling water

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian

Whisk the vinegar, water, and olive oil together in a small bowl. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)

Fresh Fava Beans with Ricotta Salata

SERVES 6 · PHOTO VEGETABLE ANTIPASTI

2 pounds young fava beans in the pod, shelled

Scant ¼ cup Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Maldon or other flaky sea salt

A 3-ounce chunk of ricotta salata for grating

Coarsely ground black pepper

If the fava beans are young and tender, there is no need to peel them. It not, blanch the beans in a medium pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds, just to loosen the skins. Drain, transfer to an ice bath to cool, and drain again. To peel the favas, pinch open the skin at one end of each bean and squeeze out the bean.

Toss the fava beans with the vinaigrette in a medium bowl and season with salt. Grate the ricotta over the favas, sprinkle pepper over the top, and serve immediately.

LEMON VINAIGRETTE

MAKES ¾ CUP

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon marmellata (marmalade) or a generous pinch of grated lemon zest

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan

Whisk the lemon juice, marmellata, and olive oil together in a small bowl. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Shaved Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano

SERVES 6 · PHOTO VEGETABLE ANTIPASTI

2 pounds medium asparagus, tough bottom ends snapped off

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons warm water

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Using a Benriner (Japanese mandoline) or other vegetable slicer, or a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the asparagus, making long diagonal shavings.

Put the Parmigiano in a large bowl and whisk in the lemon juice and warm water. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil to make a loose emulsion. Add the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Season with salt if necessary and with pepper and serve.

Artichokes with Grana Padano

SERVES 6 · PHOTO VEGETABLE ANTIPASTI

3 cups water

1 cup dry white wine

Juice of 2 lemons

2 pounds baby artichokes (about 16)

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, stems reserved

1 medium white onion, cut into ¼-inch dice

5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Maldon or other flaky sea salt

Hot red pepper flakes

Tiny fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Thinly sliced red onion for garnish (optional)

A 3-ounce chunk of grana padano cheese for shaving

Combine the water, wine, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Pull off the tough outer leaves from each artichoke, then cut off the top ½ inch of the remaining leaves. Trim the bottom of the artichoke stem, then cut off the top outer layer of the stem with a paring knife. Transfer the artichokes to the lemon juice mixture as you work, to prevent oxidation.

Transfer the artichokes and their liquid to a medium pot; if necessary, add more water to cover the artichokes. Add the basil stems, onion, garli
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s traumatic and not as intimidating as trying to reconstruct your entire diet at once. You could start off by having one or two vegetarian days per week, as you build up your new recipe repertoire and then eventually extend that so you’re not using meat at all. Another approach would be to stop eating red meat first, and then eliminate chicken or fish from your usual menu.

One problem with this method is that it can drag your adjustment period out longer than necessary, which won’t suit all personalities. You can lose track of how many meat-free meals you’ve had in a week, or otherwise slip back into old routines because you are taking the changes too slowly.

Go Cold Turkey: Even with the irony of the phrase, this can be another successful way to get started as a vegetarian. It tends to be daunting when you really think about this big change, which ends up keeping many people from even trying. It can make it simpler because you can focus more closely on your food choices once the change is made, without the gradual back and forth approach.

Experiment with New Foods: In either scenario, your biggest asset is going to be experimentation. If you continue to stick to your usual recipes and just ditch the meat, you’re going to get bored really quickly and probably get too frustrated to continue past a few weeks. Sure, try some of the (many) excellent meat replacement products out there, but also get to know the other healthy foods you can be eating instead of meat. See what new vegetables can be added to your shopping list, and start cooking with more beans or even some tofu. Don’t just focus on what you’re leaving out, and get more interested in all the new things you can put in.

Get Some Support: Lastly, it’s always easier to take on a lifestyle change with some positive support on your side. Find some busy message boards or join a couple of Facebook groups to help get in touch with other like-minded people. You can vent your frustrations, get suggestions and swap recipes.

If the only thing that comes to mind when it comes to animal welfare in the food industry is the slaughter of animals for meat, you have a few more things to learn. The actual killing is just one small piece of the issue, and if you are going to make conscious choices, you need to see the rest of the picture.

In large-scale commercial agricultural settings, animals are commodities and not treated with the compassion or care they deserve, whether they are being kept for meat, eggs, milk or other products.

Meat animals are obviously killed, but their lives up until that point can be miserable due to extremely overcrowded and dirty conditions. They are treated roughly and abusively by farming staff, as seen by countless hidden videos taken over the years.

Hens kept for eggs live in tiny cages, often without enough room to stretch their wings or even stand up. On average, each bird has the same amount of space as a single sheet of computer paper takes up.

It’s not just the egg-layers either. When fertilized eggs are hatched (to keep the population of birds going), the company only needs the hens and so all the male chicks are killed within hours of hatching. Birds can also be de-beaked to prevent injury and fighting, which is still basically due to the overcrowded conditions. It’s an unnecessary and painful procedure that leaves the birds deformed.

Dairy cows are kept pregnant so that their milk supply never lets up, yet they never get to see or bond with their calves. Constant milking by machine can be painful and chafing to the udders over the years, but injuries are hardly ever cared for.

In the milking industry, male animals are just as unnecessary as those poor rooster chicks. Male calves may be kept on for meat purposes but dairy breeds don’t grow large enough for profitable meat production. Instead, they are crated up to be sold as veal. Veal is meat from a very young calf that has been kept in close confinement for its entire short life to keep the muscle tissue soft.

The point here isn’t to turn you off eggs or dairy, but rather to be aware of the reality behind the products so you can make those smart cruelty-free choices. There is nothing fundamentally cruel about collecting eggs or milking a cow, it’s the way the mainstream industry handles it. In upcoming tips, you can find out more about your options.

One big thing that comes to mind when people first start to consider a meat-less life is the cost of all those “special” foods. If money is already tight, can you take on a new responsibility that may cost your family even more money? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is both yes and no.

The Yes: There really isn’t any way to deny it, that customized vegetarian products can be expensive. Tofu dogs, soy burgers and tempeh beef tenders aren’t the cheapest things on the shelves. You may also have to
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end to fade from view, individ-introduction { 5 }

ual practitioners talking much more about the things that set them apart.

As a tradition that dislikes its own cultural status, a tradition that wants everywhere to establish itself at a grassroots and instinctual level, barbecue cannot be approached head-on. It will only give up its historical secrets if we are prepared to read adventurously, and between the lines of the colonial and Republican archives. For here, as we will see, is a cultural phenomenon that reveals most about its distinctive mythology—its mythology of savagery and freedom, of pleasure, masculinity, and strength—when the minds of men and women are turned to other things, from the rebellious murmurings of upstart colonials to the unstoppable rise of Restoration London, and from rumors of native violence to the Republican marriage of democracy and drink. Letters rather than laws, jokes rather than speeches, fragments rather than masterpieces, will accordingly fi ll the archive of this diffi

cult work. Pictures and writing, rather than the more circumscribed fi elds of fi ne art and literature, will dominate its considerations.

Hobsbawm and Ranger also seem to regard the invention of tradition as a phenomenon that occurs within given boundaries, and particularly within given national boundaries. From the growing popularity of kilts in 1750s Scotland to the invention of modern Christmas in Victorian Britain, Hobsbawm and Ranger’s essay collection approaches the invented tradition as a national rather than an international aff air. Again, barbecue presents a substantially diff erent phenomenon. Since its colonial invention, alongside its ability to evoke particular communities of the recent past, barbecue’s mythological range has included an additional ability to evoke a much more distant, much more primitive, past that it has then associated, for good or ill, with American Indians or others not fully inducted into the long pageant of European civilization. To put it more simply, barbecue is not just an invented tradition. It is a very invented tradition. Not only does it construct a largely fi ctitious continuity with the frontier or wild world from which it is said to derive. Beyond this it projects its point of origin outward, writing it onto the traditions and bodies of “savage” America.

Central to this study, indeed, is my contention that, though we tend to assume that the strong assonance between the words barbecue and barbaric is an accident of history, it is in fact nothing of the kind. Instead it is a clue to my larger claim: that barbecue mythology arose, neither from actual Arawakan life nor from any other indigenous culture, but from loaded and fraught colonial representations that sought to present those cultures as the

{ 6 } introduction

barbaric antithesis of European achievement. In this book I argue that, in the original incarnation that lingers to this day, barbecue does little more than naturalize to America an idea of barbarism that European explorers carried with them as part of their transatlantic cargo.

Two snapshots from modern U.S. culture help illustrate the racial factors that even now remain at work in barbecue’s mythology. Here is one: Barbecue’s appeal isn’t hard to fathom and may explain why barbecue cookery seems such a Neanderthal corner of modern gastronomy. It elegantly embraces several stereotypically Guy Th

ings: fi re building, beast

slaughtering, fi ddling with grubby mechanical objects, expensive gear fetishes, afternoon-long beer drinking, and, of course, great heaps of greasy meat at the end of the day. Top this off with the frisson of ritual tribal warfare and you’ve got the mother of all male pastimes.9

Journalist David Dudley’s funny, fruity comments help explain why barbecue cannot fi t into the National Museum of the American Indian’s general commitment to “the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans.” 10 For Dudley, by installing barbecue as just about the most macho food imaginable, reminds us that transatlantic English cultures have long bent and warped the food into shapes altogether more malignant than the roadside sign bbq.

He reminds us that barbecue, as it is understood today and as it has been understood for centuries in the west, evokes a stereotype of savagery that has nothing to do with Native culture and everything to do with white European need. What this book shows is that, behind Dudley’s lighthearted and decidedly nonracist ruminations, is a surprisingly long and hitherto unconsidered history of seeing barbecue as a bestial kind of cookery too close to cannibalism for comfort. Savage Barbecue shows that, at least since the publication in 1661 of Edmund Hickeringill’s Jamaica Viewed: with All the Ports, Harbours, and their Several Soundings, Towns, and Settlements, transatlantic literary culture h
cester. Not that there isn’t concern. When I went to Bascom’s for the first time and met Bruce, we talked about the ALB, and Bruce pointed out some identification cards there for the taking. But he talked about much more and at length, and he showed such a passion for the history, lore, and culture of making maple syrup that I wanted to keep listening.

Bruce gave me his short talk on the history of the maple syrup industry in the United States. It peaked around the time of the Civil War, when maple syrup was associated with the abolitionist movement. “No sugar made by slaves,” went the slogan. Sugarmakers actually made sugar then, dry or partially wet. For most families in those regions maple sugar was the primary sweetener. After the war, when the tariff on white sugar was reduced, dry maple sugar could no longer compete broadly in the marketplace. Still, at the time of the US centennial in 1876 there were 154 “sugar places” in the town of Acworth, which produced 214,000 pounds of dry maple sugar. In the early 1900s Bruce’s grandfather and his brother held “buy days,” when they collected dry maple sugar from other farmers and carried it by horse and wagon to the train station on the other side of the Connecticut River in Bellows Falls, Vermont. Gradually the industry went into decline as the prices fell. Some farmers liquidated their sugar orchards, selling their trees to mills that specialized in rock maple wood. A hurricane in 1938 destroyed many remaining maple groves. By the 1960s, when Bruce was a teenager, the industry had fallen to ten percent of what it had been a century before. But in the 1960s plastic tubing began to be used in maple orchards. Some sugarmakers would never use it, would never suck sap out of their trees, but plastic tubing saved the industry, Bruce said, and made possible a new level of pure maple syrup production.

When we talked that first time, standing in the store, Bruce said something he would repeat: “There is more to the maple industry than people realize.” I wondered whether he was talking to me because of some deep feelings for the industry—it was easy to see he had them. The month was February 2010, and they had just started tapping trees. On the spur of the moment I asked if I could watch. Bruce said, “Show up and see what happens.”

A FEW MONTHS LATER Bruce was inducted into the Maple Hall of Fame—yes, there is such a thing—at the American Maple Museum, in Croghan, New York. The ceremony is held each year in May after the season is over and when the equipment has been put away, and it was held during a pageant for the Maple Queen of New York—yes, there is such a young woman—who goes to agricultural fairs around the state. Bruce’s sales manager, Arnold Coombs, introduced him to the audience. Arnold told of how, when Bruce was in college, his mother pleaded with him not to come back to the farm and to get a job at a corporation instead. Arnold said, “If only she could see you now.” He said that in his reading about successful people, they all shared the characteristic of intense curiosity, and Bruce had that. Arnold said that when he was in the business of trading syrup on the bulk market, he and Bruce met every year to work out terms and signed their contract on a napkin. Arnold talked about the equipment store, said it was the “Walmart of maple equipment stores,” and this brought a few laughs.

I kept returning to Bascom’s, following the crew as they tapped, watching them clean up after storms and as they checked tubing during the sugar season. I was happy to tag along—it provided me with a reason to get out into the woods. I followed the 2010 season, which started off strong during late February but then suddenly turned warm. I talked often with Bruce and occasionally went places with him, mostly to the area of northern Vermont that has the richest maple culture in the United States.

I soon realized that the equipment store at Bascom’s served the function of a normal sugarhouse, in that people came and socialized. I saw that Saturdays, when Bruce worked in the store, was the best time to talk and to meet other sugarmakers.

Customers with large sugarbushes would come to buy barrels or tanks, fittings for tubing or pumps, spouts or containers, or any of the many other esoteric items. Bruce would sometimes greet them jocularly by way of introducing them to me. One Saturday he called out, “Here’s someone with a big sugarbush!” That was Dan Crocker of Sidelands Sugarbush in Westminster, Vermont. Crocker was well known for his expertise and his manic energy and for his evaporation system that ran on reclaimed vegetable oil and smelled like a hamburger joint. “My trees are really good,” Crocker said. And they were, as I later saw when I went to his well-groomed orchard with Bruce. “Everything goes straight into my sugarhouse. I don’t have to do any gathering

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