Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy New Year

Local Food: Whether you're ready to say goodbye to 2009 or eager to welcome 2010, we all can invest in the New Year. When you celebrate with us this New Year's Eve, you can trust that 79 cents of every food dollar we spend will go to local farmers and artisan producers. A meal with us is in investment in our community, in your friends and neighbors, for the year ahead. Come in and enjoy a few appetizing appetizers, select one of Steven's enticing entrees, or share a sense-ational sweet. His New Year's Eve menu offers an assortment of classic comforts with some special treats. Dinner reservations are available from 5 to 9, and dancing after 10 with Rachael Rice and the Cosmic Americans.

And we are pleased that your holiday giving generated more than $400 from us for the NOFA Farm Share program, thanks to all the gift cards purchased in December.

Local Events: Jeudevine Memorial Library hosts a free viewing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at 3:00 on Wednesday, December 30.

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosts the Craftsbury Classic, with a race for all ages on Sunday, January 3rd. Details available here.

Local News: We've heard the episode of Emeril Green featuring Hardwick will air on Planet Green January 4th at 8:00. We'll keep you posted.

We will be closed January 4th though the 13th. We reopen for dinner on Thursday, January 14, refreshed and ready for a great new year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Local Food: Just in time for those last harried days before Christmas, the perfect dish to match our bar specials every Monday. Starting this week, Steven presents the ultimate comfort food - grilled cheese with Grafton cheddar on bread baked by Charlie at Patchwork Farm, served with fries and a pint of Switchback, all for $7.00. Pint, wine, and cocktail specials are available every Sunday and Monday. Or bring in a receipt from a local merchant or artist Monday or Tuesday between 2:30 and 5:00, and we'll buy you a cup of coffee or tea.

Local Farms on New Year's Eve: In just over a week, we have the pleasure of sending off a year that offered some historic moments amidst troubling times. As 2009 comes to a close, we hope for an all around better year ahead. Start off on the right foot by welcoming the New Year and investing in 2010. With 79 percent of our food dollars going to local farms and artisans, when you celebrate with us, you're investing in your friends and neighbors for the New Year. Join us for dinner, or come in for the party with Rachael Rice and the Cosmic Americans. Dinner reservations are available from 5-9, and we'll dance in the New Year from 10-12:30.

Gift Cards & Holiday Hours: Give the gift of local food - our gift cards make delicious stocking stuffers. On Wednesday and Thursday, you can purchase Claire's Cards at the Galaxy Bookshop, cash and check only.

We are closed Wednesday, December 23, through Friday December 25 to be with our families. We look forward to welcoming you back on the 26th.

Local Events: Highland Lodge & Ski Touring Center will open for their 36th year of cross country skiing December 24th. Learn more here. Also stop by their Annual Gift Shop Sale through January 4th.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice at 12:47 p.m. on Monday the 21st. Read about the connection between plants, agriculture and humans on the solstice here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Local Food: With all the snow that's finally falling, nothing will chase the chill away like a piping hot pot pie. Filled with a variety of earthy root vegetables including potatoes, carrots, and rutabagas, a splash of Shelburne Vineyard's Cayuga wine, and topped with a buttery, flaky crust made with cornmeal from Butterworks Farm, you can add to Steven's vegetarian pot pie with tofu from Vermont Soy, or turkey from Agape Hill Farm. This homey dish is a great way to take the bite out of a frigid day.

New Year's Eve is just around the corner and we'd love to celebrate with you at Claire's. Dinner reservations available from 5-9, and Rachael Rice and the Cosmic Americans will begin at 10:00 and play through the New Year. It promises to be a fun filled evening. Make your reservation today.

Celebrate the Season: There is still time to plan a holiday party with your friends at work or a family celebration. We can work with you for many different types of events, and our gift certificates are a popular gift that your loved ones can enjoy all year. We donate $10 to the NOFA Farm Share Program for each purchase of $100 in gift certificates for the Holidays.

Around the Galaxy: Thanks to everyone who came to enjoy our Judith Jones event last Tuesday. We were lucky to get a few more copies of Judith's book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One from our friends at Norwich Bookstore. You can also find other books from past Our Kitchen Bookshelf events that make great gifts for the food lover and cooks on your list. Our extended holiday hours give you more time to shop before dinner at Claire's - details on the web at

Local Art: Check out our new winter window decorations, courtesy of local artist Sarah Mutrux.

Music Notes: New to Vermont and Sterling College, folk singer/songwriter Chris Dorman joins us Thursday at 7:00.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Celebrating Local Food During the Holidays

From our Kitchen Bookshelf: The Galaxy Bookshop will welcome book editor and author Judith Jones Tuesday, December 8 at 7:00 to read from her new book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, and talk about her life in food. In addition to her own cookbooks and memoir, Judith was the editor best known for her early work with Julia Child, followed by a career of working with some of the most celebrated chefs and cookbook authors since. Claire's is honored to host a reception following the book signing with the author, with complimentary hors d'oeuvres Steven has prepared from recipes in the book. You can purchase The Pleasures of Cooking for One in advance or on Tuesday for yourself or as a gift.

Gift Certificates: The gift of food says you care, about your loved ones and our community, as nothing could be better than the best local produce and artisan products. We donate $10 to the NOFA Farm Share Program for each purchase of $100 in gift certificates for the Holidays.

Shopping Break: We open afternoons at 2:30 for coffee, bar service, and sweet snacks, with unlimited free wifi, everyday but Wednesday. During the holiday season, bring a receipt from a local merchant or artist, and the coffee or tea will be our gift to you.

Music Notes: Cosa Buena joins us this Thursday December 10 at 7:30 with their Latin-Jazzy acoustic music. This unique quartet weaves the fabric of many different cultures through a careful, creative, playful & artistic ensemble.

Local Food: The Sustainable Jobs Fund, through the new Farm to Plate Initiative, is holding a series of Food Summits around the state on food and the rural economy. Building toward a 10 year strategic plan, Farm to Plate is designed to identify innovative ways to support local food markets, farms, and food related businesses. After a succesful Summit last weak in Orleans, this week's Summit will be held on Thursday in Montpelier - you can find the details at Farm to Plate. We've submitted a letter about our experience, what we've learned in opening and operating a community supported restaurant, and our approach to supporting local food, which we've already posted.

Vermont Farm to Plate Summits

Earlier this year, Vermont House of Representatives members Jason Lorber and Christopher Bray won passage of the new Farm to Plate initiative, designed to build on the "buy local" movement and foster jobs creation and a sustainable rural economy. Now housed within the Sustainable Jobs Fund, state and community leaders are developing a 10 year strategic plan through a series of regional summits, last week in the Northeast Kingdom, and in Montpelier this coming week. For more information about the program, summits, and to take a survey, go to Farm to Plate.

Reports are that the summit in Orleans last Thursday was a success. Since it coincided with our typically busy Thursday night music, we were unable to attend. However, we do have thoughts about our experience and concerns especially about affordability and availability that we wanted to share, so we sent the letter we've included below. As well, we hope to open up a conversation with other Vermont restaurants on cooking local and support for our communities as part of the Farm to Plate planning process. And we'd certainly love to hear what you think - you can email us or share your comments here.

December 2, 2009

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
Farm to Plate Initiative Regional Food Summits
Northeast Kingdom

Dear Friends,

As owners and operators of Claire’s Restaurant and Bar in Hardwick, we write with enthusiasm to support the Farm to Plate initiative, planning for a 10 year strategy, and to commend all involved in this work. We also wanted to take this opportunity to encourage both short term and long term planning for cooperative market development to ensure profitability for farm business, availability of local foods, and affordability for Vermonters.

When we began planning for Claire’s in early 2005, we were committed to a mission focused on two goals. The first is to provide a “third place” between home and work, on Main Street, to foster community, provide a gathering space, and promote the Hardwick downtown core. This aspect of our effort has received the enthusiastic support of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, which envisions cafés, restaurants, and food-related business as key ingredients in the revitalization of small town economic and social activity focused on historic downtowns. We open in the afternoon for coffee and bar service, free internet access, and as a space for business and social activity. We have hosted meetings on agriculture policy, book related events, holiday parties, and tours as well as serving lunch for private parties and informational events such as the USDA and NECI tours. We host art on our walls, providing much needed gallery space as well as an opening reception for the artists. We serve “blunch” on Sundays, and dinner 6 nights per week. We decided to close only on Wednesdays, giving both our neighbors and others who work in restaurants a place to dine on Monday and Tuesday nights, when most other establishments in the region are closed.

The second aspect of our mission is closely related to the first, and the most challenging for a restaurant. From the very start, we have been committed to purchasing as much of our ingredients from local farms and artisans as possible, while providing affordable meals to our neighbors. It is an understatement to say that no model exists within the restaurant business for this mission, and so restaurants like our face a variety of challenges. Two examples illustrate:

· Industry standards for food cost and labor ratios are based on large supplier and processed food models, which reduce kitchen labor and inventory costs.

· Standard business practice in terms of ordering and purchasing is based on long run supply for storable goods without regard to season, with increasing efficiency coming from internet ordering and tracking systems as well as quarterly (at most) menu development instead of daily market dependent menus.

Since we planned to purchase only basic dry goods and pantry items such as flour and spices from distributors for our kitchen, we knew we would need a different business model. We estimated higher food and labor ratios to reflect the cost of goods as well as the need for increased labor to transform raw produce directly from the soil into ingredients for a restaurant menu. We anticipated difficulty in sourcing sufficient quantities of food despite the relative bounty produced around Hardwick, and that daily sourcing would require daily menu development. All of this has an impact on the bottom line – the difference between costs and revenues – in a business notorious for slim margins.

We have learned four inter-related facts during our first 18 months of operation.

First, local restaurants are always sourcing ingredients and revising menus. This is a labor intensive process, as it might involve from 15 to 20 farmers and artisans at any given time. All of this is done directly on the phone or in person rather than through the internet, though some price and product sheets are now available via email. This is a boon to our business model, as our focus is on these relationships that promote cooperation and a mutually beneficial approach to the local market, and it has actually resulted in new products or adjustment in the availability of certain types of produce or products. But it is also time consuming for the farms and for the restaurant, and thus increases costs.

Second, sourcing is not always fruitful. By the end of our first winter last year, we were pulling from nearly the bottom of every root cellar within our market. And when a certain crop or product is not available, it is simply not on the menu. This does not include the kinds of products we anticipated ordering from other regions because they are never available locally, including cooking oils and certain grains.

Third, staff is a key ingredient for success. At Claire’s, we are fortunate to have experienced servers who share our enthusiasms, and a team of young trainees in the kitchen we started with little or no culinary experience and are now developing career skills.

Fourth, it will be difficult to transition to canning and storing summer produce for winter use, as this will require a larger upfront investment for the purchase of produce, the rental of industrial kitchen space, the development of recipes, and the hiring of staff, and such a commitment of resources is not readily available.

Overall, we have spent 79 cents of every dollar of our food purchases within 15 miles of the restaurant, with the bulk of the remaining purchases to farms and artisans within Vermont. To date, this has generated $196,480 in direct purchases from producers in our community, and including labor, totaled an economic impact in our community of $493,080. Certainly, for some producers in and around Hardwick, Claire’s is the number one purchaser or near the top. We are not alone in this effort. Hen of the Woods in Waterbury, Blue Bird Tavern and Sugar Snap in South Burlington, Kismet in Montpelier, On the Rise in Richmond, Bee’s Knees in Morrisville, and the Skinny Pancake in Burlington and Montpelier have made similar commitments.

All this is to suggest that a farm to plate model needs to be carefully planned on the basis of three principles: profitability for farmers and food businesses, affordability for Vermonters, and availability of product. State and other investors should carefully consider and plan strategically along these three dimensions.

Profitability is a difficult measure to assess. With a community-centered business and investment model, our goal is to sustain a business in the long term that serves the community and the economy. We believe strongly in the principles of mutual support and cooperative growth, as well as the need and right of each community to set its own priorities and support its own economy. Any measure of profitability must ensure a return to the business as well as the community that provides for sustainability in the long term.

As a principle, affordability is always a challenge when measured against profitability. Our goal is to provide local food that both sustains our farmers economically and feeds them nutritionally. Any planning must ensure that Vermonters of all means have access to local foods for the bulk of their nutritional needs, whether they are dining at home or dining out.

Availability must balance taste, climate, and cost in determining what crops and products can be grown in Vermont, what value can be added to such products, and how this relates to the nutritional needs of our residents. We do not hesitate to cooperate with other regions when doing so is efficient, when the product is necessary to the plate, and when our relationships outside our community are based on the same principles of cooperation and mutuality as within or community. As well, we recognize the vital economic contribution of products grown within our region primarily for export to other markets, as doing so produces jobs and brings resources. However, we would encourage state support to go to those efforts that do not displace the availability of local food in our market for Vermonters and do not undermine the ability of other markets to feed themselves with their own resources.

These three principles of profitability, affordability, and availability are the three pillars of sustainable local food markets. Unlike the national or regional agribusiness model, local sustainable markets are cooperative, mutually beneficial, and look to the long term. Strategic planning is part of this process, as is an accurate census of current farming operations, value added facilities, markets and restaurants, market needs, affordability and availability, as well as imports into our regions and exports from them.

Given the particular challenges facing restaurants outlined above, we consider three things important in terms of new resources for restaurant operations:

· The development of a new business model and cooperative mechanisms so that start ups and existing operators can share knowledge and share in developing solutions;

· Resources for business development to expand access to local food, in particular for the storage of summer crops over the winter, and the training of staff.

· Cooperative mechanisms to ensure long term planning for availability among farmers, markets, and restaurants.

Again, we support the Farm to Plate initiative and look forward to continuing to work on implementation of a long term plan for sustainable food markets in Vermont.


Steven Obranovich
Chef and Owner

Michael Bosia

Linda Ramsdell

Veronica Medwid

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pies for People Recipes

Pies for People: Local Food and Collaborative Efforts Feed a Community
Butternut squash from High Mowing Seeds, harvested by University of Vermont (UVM) students, transported to Craftsbury’s Pete’s Greens for processing, baked into pies in the Sterling College Kitchen, and delivered to the Hardwick Food Bank. November's second annual Pies for the People set the simple but flavorful squash on a remarkable path from test crop to a holiday feast. You can read more here. And we'd like to share with you our contribution - Steven's recipes for the project.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Soup
3 Cups black beans, soaked in a gallon of water overnight
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed
10 bay leaves, ground up in spice grinder
1/4 cup of ground cumin, paprika and black pepper
1/8 cup of ground allspice and clove
1T grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon
1 cup of oil of choice or butter
5 onions, peeled and chopped
2 heads of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 quart of butternut squash puree
12 cups chicken stock
salt to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil or butter. Add the 5 onions and sweat for 10 minutes. Next add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Then add all the spices and ground bay leaf and cook for a few minutes more. Drain the black beans and add to the onion garlic mixture, along with the squash puree and the chicken stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat and cook to low/medium and cook for 1 hour. Season with salt to taste and add more stock if desired.

Butternut Squash Pie
Yield filling for 1 9" pie
Preheat oven to 350
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar or evap. cane juice
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger and cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground black pepper, cardamom and star anise
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups squash puree
1 1/4 cups cream

Combine eggs, vanilla, sugars, salt and spices in mixer, and process until smooth. Add squash puree, and process until smooth. With machine running, pour in heavy cream, and process to combine. Scrape filling into prebaked shell, and bake until filling is set 2/3 in from perimeter and center still jiggles, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool to room temperature on rack.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Local Food: Beets will brighten many salads this winter, but when Steven combines chioggias in a salad with apples and the last spinach of the season, you're enjoying a rare gift. With luck, Harvest Hill Farm in Walden supplies spinach for just a bit longer. Paired with Champlain Orchard apples, the ruby red beets taste even sweeter after a brush with the cold weather. Topped with celery root remoulade and a crumble of Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen blue cheese and walnuts, this crisp salad is a vivid start to your dinner.

Celebrate the Holidays: Whether you're planning a holiday party with your friends at work or a family celebration, or looking for that special gift, remember to think local food. We can work with you for many different types of events, and our gift certificates are a popular gift that your loved ones can enjoy all year.

Around the Galaxy: We are thrilled to welcome legendary editor and author Judith Jones in celebration of her new book The Pleasures of Cooking for One on Tuesday, December 8th. Judith will speak and sign books beginning at 7PM at The Galaxy Bookshop and join us at Claire's for an informal reception following the event at the bookstore. The book is a treasure trove of Judith Jones' favorite recipes, from light salads to desserts. Buy it now and try out a few recipes before her visit! And you can read about Judith's experience raising cattle in Walden here.

Local Art: Stop by on Monday, November 30 from 4-6 for Janet Van Fleet's art opening. Enjoy our bar specials and hors d'oeuvres while you admire her often provocative compositions. Get a preview here.

Music Notes: Thursday night regular Jeremy Raboin is back December 3 at 7:30.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Local Food: Warm, crispy and sweet, Crab Cakes are the perfect start to your meal. Steven combines Maine crab meat with his own version of Old Bay Spices, as well as bread crumbs from spelt, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard and a dusting of cornmeal. Served atop lightly sauteed shaved Brussels sprouts and lentil sprouts, with a touch of tart cider syrup and a dollop of mustard dressing, and a tantalizing bite of smokey bacon. Adding to the textures of the dish are juicy fried green tomatoes. Steven finishes his version of this classic dish with a tartar sauce he's cooked up.

Claire's is happy to host your holiday party. Call Veronica at 472-7053 to book your business or pleasure celebration.

Around the Galaxy: Our Judith Jones event has been moved to Tuesday, December 8th. This gives you more time to buy the book and try out the recipes before our visit with Judith!

Music Notes: Claire's will be closed this Thursday. We will be open for business Friday at 2:30 for coffee and bar service as well as sweets, dinner starting at 5:00

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Local Food: A dry cure is the secret to Steven's tender pork chop. He brings the distinctiveness of Maine Sea Salt to pork loin from Winding Brook Farm, and then lets the two hang out for a couple of days before they hit the grill. The tangy and complex chutney is the perfect juxtaposition, with a dozen spices, caramelized red onions, garlic, cider, apples, green tomatoes and raspberries. Roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts round out the dish. Try it with a glass of award winning Marquette, a dry red wine from Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven, VT.

Around the Galaxy: Allison Hooper's book In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen has finally arrived. We had a special preview event at Claire's featuring recipes from the book in August to celebrate 25 years of the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company. This beautiful and affordable book emphasizes cooking with simple ingredients and tells the story of a wonderful company that has achieved success through a vital link with local farms.

Music Notes: Thursday night we welcome Town Wide Yard Sale, and what some have called their "freak folk" stylings, for a return visit.

Local Events: Saturday from 9-3 is the annual Alternative Giving Fair at the UCC in Greensboro, featuring artisan products to benefit the Four Seasons of Early Learning.

The Jeudevine Library features a showing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the children's room at 3 pm on Monday.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Local Food: With winter officially only a few weeks away, Steven helps keep it at bay with a few of summer's jewels out of the deep freeze. His Strawberry Dark Chocolate Pudding Cake sets a gooey center inside a rich chocolate cake. Studded with chunks of strawberries, it's topped with a scoop of Strafford Organic Creamery strawberry ice cream and finished with a drizzle of strawberry caramel sauce.

Around the Galaxy: Food writer and editor Judith Jones has been featured in a variety of articles since the publication of her new book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One. The New York Times Sunday magazine recently explored her farm in Stannard, where she raises cattle, and the Burlington Free Press adds details about the book, Judith's life, and recipes. The Galaxy and Claire's welcome Judith for a special reading and book event on December 1. Watch for details!

Music Notes: This Thursday, Dave Keller joins us for his first return engagement since the initial days of summer. Come in to enjoy his soulful, sweetly gritty and intense music - he reports he had a blast last time.

Local Events: Join the Hardwick Area Transition Towns on Sunday from 2-5 at the Green Mountain Tech & Career Center for a Brainstorming Community Get-Together to create an Energy Descent Action Plan. For more info contact Mary Gagnon at or Gagnon's Video, or visit Transition Vermont to learn more about the efforts around Vermont.

Also on Sunday, Chip Troiano screens Viet Nam: The Reconciliation at 7PM at St. John Episcopal Church in Hardwick. Call Chip at 533-7712 for more information.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Local Food: As native to Vermont, cranberries offer the crispest sweet and tart flavors available. Ours come from Vermont Cranberry Company in East Fairfield, who grow full flavored berries that brighten any dish. Steven accents savory dishes with a tart cranberry apple chutney and uses their breezy sharpness to balance sweet desserts. Cranberries also have their place in our bar, where we feature cranberry margaritas made with VT Cranberry Company's cranberry juice.

Music Notes: Our good friend Jeremy Raboin is back this Thursday night at 7:30. Check out his webpage at

Local Events: Wednesday, the Greensboro Free Library celebrates Vermont Reads with an afternoon of Japanese children's songs designed for parents and children alike.

Maggie Neale brings her insights into art as well as her inspirations and techniques to the Art House Gallery in Craftsbury Common as part of their Artist Talks on Art, Friday from 6:30 to 7:30, with a reception to follow. For more information, call 586-2545.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Local Food: You don't have to be from the South to love green tomatoes! Steven taps into the flavors of this not-yet-ripe gem to feature it in a spicy soup with tomatillos, and in a chutney that provides a little tart sweetness to accompany the pâté made from chicken liver and duck rillettes. He even has fried green tomatoes served alongside crab cake.

Around the Galaxy: Thursday afternoon from 1:15 to 2:30, Hazen Union's poetry class hosts a reading of student work. Local poets are invited to join in as well. Poetry moves to Stardust in Craftsbury for a Friday night Ghoulish Poe-try Slam from 7 to 8:30.

Music Notes: Welcome the Rustbucket Brothers, an accoustic version of Vermont's own Rusty Romance, this Thursday night for their first visit. Learn more about their blend of honky tonk and old school rock'n'roll at

Local Events: Halloween is the 10th Annual Haunted Library at the Jeudevine Library, from 5 until 8 and featuring mythical animals, treats, and games.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Local food: Steven's find this week is the husk cherry, which he adds to sweet and savory dishes. Related to the tomatillo, it has been described as a cross between the sweet tartness of strawberries and the mellow acidity of tomatoes. Try this unique fruit in the raspberry pear upside down cake or in a chutney served with the pork chop with maple mustard glaze, roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts. Later in the week, you'll find husk cherries in the chicken molé.

Around the Galaxy: Amy Kolb Noyes is in the house! Tuesday night at 7 the Vermont writer and photographer will talk about her new book, Nontoxic Housecleaning, as well as demonstrate how to make one of the cleaning products. Bring your own spray bottle or container!

Music Notes: Come by Thursday after 7:30 to welcome the return of local back porch music favorites Copper Kettle, with their fiddle, dobro, washtub base, kazoo and guitar.

Local Events: Jeudevine Music School benefit concert this Friday evening at the Hardwick Townhouse features David Budbill's poetry, jazz, steel drums, and the Bleuttes Sauvage quartet. More information is available at 472-5913.

Hardwick Area Transition Towns opens the doors of four energy innovating homes on Saturday, including solar, straw bale construction, masonry stoves, wind and more. Tours start at 8:45 am. For more information, call 472-6185 or email

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Local Food: Apples can be found throughout the menu this time of year. Steven uses the versatile fruit in sweet and savory dishes including Moroccan spiced butternut squash soup with apples and leeks; beet, apple, pear and arugula salad; chicken roasted with apples and bacon and a cider blue cheese sauce. Don't forget the gingerbread with caramel apples, hot cider and Vermont's Pomme de Vie apple brandy.

Around the Galaxy: The 24 Hour Read-a-Thon starts Friday at 4 pm and continues through Saturday. Pick up a registration sheet and pledge sheet before Thursday at the bookstore.

Music Notes: Blue Fox, Montpelier's well traveled blues man, journeys to Hardwick so we can enjoy what Seven Days calls his "deep-lazy-growly-sexy" vocals and guitar work described as "ultra strength." Find Blue Fox on myspace.

Local Events: Sunday, October 18, is a busy day! Enjoy an evening pumpkin walk on the Hardwick Trails, lined with 350 lighted pumpkins carved by students at the elementary school. There will be a bonfire, donuts and cider, and a friendly witch. Bring your flashlight to the Hazen School parking lot at 6 pm. Or, if your interests involve energy efficiency, come the the Button Up Vermont workshop at the Craftsbury Library at 6:30, and learn how to improve your home's energy efficiency.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Local Food: Leaves are falling, and so we have pears and the elusive fall raspberry. Steven brings them together with Butterworks Early Riser Cornmeal as a flavorful upside down cake. Jen Boucher raspberries, Bosc pears from Pete's Greens (also in the beet salad), and Butterworks yogurt combine for the perfect end to a fall dinner, topped with a little something extra - whipped cream and berry sauce. Have a forkful of fall and warm your soul.

The vase is the work of Harry and Wendy Besett of Hardwick. Visit their website

Around the Galaxy: Mystery author Don Bredes is at The Galaxy Bookshop Tuesday night at 7 pm to read from the third installment of his Hector Bellevance series.

Music Notes: Singer songwriter Kim Davidson comes by with her "sexy black Martin Guitar" for a performance of what she calls "emo-icana." Learn more and listen to her music at Kim's myspace page.

Local Art: Cheryl Betz creates abstract paintings reminiscent of Turner landscapes. Cheryl's paintings possess an ethereal mystical quality that works to draw the viewer into the picture. She will have 17 oil paintings on view from September 29 through Monday, November 23, 2009.

Local Events: Our friends the Wacky Worm Sisters want to help you learn about indoor composting, Sunday October 11 at 1 pm. For more information or to register, call 533-9836 or email

And while you enjoy the fall foliage and crisp days, remember to come by any afternoon after 2:30 for sweets, coffee and bar service, or for our specials on draft, wine, and cocktails every Sunday and Monday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Local Food: Fall is officially here and Steven is highlighting the flavors of pumpkin and maple on the menu. What could be better than maple crème brûlée with Riverside Farm pumpkin? Roasted Pumpkins also accompany the grilled trout from Mountain Foot Farm. And it's not fall without pumpkin soup, this time with a twist of curry.

Make a reservation for dinner this Thursday, October 1st and help support NOFA's Share the Harvest, a fundraiser for limited income Vermonters. Learn more at NOFA.

Around the Galaxy: Perennial favorite Archer Mayor returns to The Galaxy Bookshop Tuesday at 7PM to celebrate the publication of his latest Joe Gunther novel, The Price of Malice. All are welcome and the event at Galaxy is free. After the reading he'll dine at Claire's with a lucky contest winner who has bought the book in advance.

Local Music: Jeremy Raboin stops in Thursday night to serenade us with his guitar work and vocals.

Local Art: Look for new art on our walls. The abstract work of Cheryl Betz will be on display beginning Tuesday, with a reception Monday, October 4th from 4-6.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Local Food: Steven brings back his famously spicy gingerbread cake, baked with maple syrup and molasses, served with caramel apples, Strafford vanilla ice-cream, and maple fluff.

The Burlington Free Press executive editor wrote about his recent visit to the Hardwick area and to Claire's as part of his own localvore challenge. You can read his diary entry from Saturday, September 5 at Townsend Takes Eat Local Challenge. He was a little early for the gingerbread.

Around the Galaxy: Charles Sabukewicz brings poetry inspired by 22 summers spent at Coles Pond to The Galaxy Bookshop on Tuesday at 7:00. He will read from his recent chapbook Rowing in Twilight. And get ready for Archer Mayor on the 29th - pre-buy the book at Galaxy and be entered in a drawing for dinner with Archer at Claire's!

Local Events: This week, the Jeudevine Library hosts a special sneak peak at the new Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. The Sunday night screening is followed by a discussion.

The Highland Lodge hosts a Wallace Stegner Centennial all weekend beginning on Friday. The schedule is available at

And don't forget the Montpelier Art Walk, showcasing local artists, this Friday from 4-8 pm. More information is available here.

Music Notes: Country outlaws Rachael Rice and the Cosmic Americans return this Thursday at 7:30. Enjoy her transformative sensibility and a unique blend of rockabilly, country, and Americana. For more information, visit

New on Main Street: Our sign! Come by and take a look.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Local Food Coming in from the Cold: With the cooler and shorter days of fall in the air, we'll be harvesting all the different basils, sorrel, thyme, sage, parsley, and cilantro from Steven's kitchen garden. Look for pestos, sauces, herbaceous braises and fragrant pastas on the menu, as well as some of our stunning cocktails from the bar. Steven is also drying cayenne and jalapeño peppers from Pete's Greens, strung on ristras in the cabinet above the kitchen.

Around the Galaxy: No event this week,but get ready for Archer Mayor's visit on the 29th. Each year, when Archer visits Hardwick, we usually get together for dinner before or after the book signing. This year, we would like to invite one of our customers to join us: every customer who pre-orders a copy of The Price of Malice, online or at the store, will be entered in a drawing to win dinner at Claire's with Archer. Details at

Music Notes: Thursday at 7:30, Jay Ekis brings back his world-influenced music, ranging from the dark and melodic to the optimistic. If you haven't had an opportunity to see Jay perform, you can check out his music at

Local Events: Sunday and Monday, our cocktail, beer, and wine specials continue into the Fall. Come in and enjoy your favorite drink and watch the game.

After School: We open daily at 2:30, except Wednesdays, for sweets, coffee, sodas and bar service. Stop in to visit with friends, have a meeting, access our free wifi to do your homework or catch up with the world's news or sports on our flatscreen.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Local Food: Sunflowers and sunchokes signal the cool and short days of late summer, an earthly mirror reflecting the sun just as the first maple leaves begin to turn to deeper reds and golds. Imagine our surprise to find that Harvest Hill Farm has a crop of later summer artichokes ready to harvest. Different from their more familiar rooted cousins-in-flavor, these artichokes are deep green edible blooms prized for their fleshy petals and well-protected hearts. Steven serves them as an edible bowl, stuffed with Chèvre from Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, Bayley Hazen Blue and Constant Bliss, and Grafton Cheddar, baked with a crispy topping. Pluck a leaf and use it to scoop up the sharp and nutty fondue.

Thursday Music: Radio Rangers founder and frontman Mark Struhsacker is back to entertain us with traditional bluegrass and fiddle tunes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Local Food: From sweet to hot, peppers add complex flavors and depth to almost any dish - even chocolate! They are also one of Steven's favorite end-of-summer vegetables, starting to peak in his own kitchen garden as well farms throughout northern Vermont. Look for a little more heat, a hint of spice, some earthy crispness and depth in soups and sauces over the next few weeks. Some dishes will celebrate the pepper, others might add just a hint for a crisp bite, and of course there will be items on the menu without peppers.

Back to (After) School: Bar service, coffee and sweets are available every day at Claire's except Wednesday, along with free wifi. The perfect place for an afterschool meeting, to catch up on homework or a research project, or to just talk with friends.

Thursday Music: Jeremy Raboin is back, performing at 8 pm. Check out his distinct blend of rock and folk with a bit of country, brought together by his soulful clear voice. His music is available on myspace.

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Local Food: Translating the bounty and flavors of hot and dry Provence to the damp summers of Vermont, Steven emphasizes the clean, rich earthiness and fragrant herbs of a traditional ratatouille (from touiller, a food term meaning "to toss"). Northeast Kingdom garlic, basil, tomatoes and eggplant combine in a French-style vegetable stew from Nice. It's one amazing celebration of August on a plate, which Steven serves alongside herb roasted chicken.

Around the Galaxy: Cheese expert Liz Thorpe will discuss her brand new book, The Cheese Chronicles, Tuesday at 7 pm at The Galaxy Bookshop, followed by a guided cheese tasting. The Cheese Chronicles offers an insider's look at the world of American cheese from the second in command at New York's renowned Murray's Cheese, drawing from notes and converstaions around hundreds of cheese tastings over nearly a decade. For more information, visit The Galaxy Bookshop.

Music Thursday: Local farmer/singer/songwriter Alan Greenleaf teams up with his piano playing sidekick Jonathan Kaplan, also known as the Doctor. For a sample, just click over to

Local Food 2: The Center for an Agricultural Economy kicks off its first Open House and film night this Thursday from 3-6:30 pm at their South Main Street office. The Center's president, Tom Stearns, hosts a showing of the film Red Wagon, about hunger in Vermont. The series will continue with films and discussion the last Thursday of the month through the fall.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Free Twist on the Tax Holiday

Saturday is the Vermont Tax Holiday, so stop by Claire's in the afternoon between 2 and 4 pm for a special free tasting of mead wines with Dana Matthews of Honey Gardens Apiaries and Caledonia Spirits, and you can learn more about the relocation of their distillery to Hardwick in the months ahead. The wines are made from yeast, water, and honey as the basic ingredients, and range from sweet to dry. You'll have an opportunity to try their Traditional mead, dry and crisp in the style of chablis, straw in color with citrus and apple notes. Also on hand will be the medium bodied Black Currant rosé style mead, and the complex Melody dessert wine, combining floral notes with the complexity of honey and butterscotch flavors. If you can't make it Saturday, the meads are available from our bar menu.

This event is part of the Route 15 Festival organized by the Lamoille Valley Chamber of Commerce and featuring shops and businesses from Cambridge to Hardwick. To find a list of participants, visit their website.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cool Down at Claire's

Our Kitchen Bookshelf: Steven is putting his final touches on the menu for Monday’s dinner with Allison Hooper, co-hosted with The Galaxy Bookshop. Allison, co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company and author of In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen, will be at Claire’s from 6-8 as our special guest for a three course cheese tasting menu, inspired by our farms and Allison’s recipes. Join Allison for dinner and enjoy a sneak peak at the book, with signed copies available for purchase at Claire’s, though it will not be officially published until November. Steven’s menu will feature some of the best Vermont cheeses in savory and sweet dishes, and you can expect a few surprise cheese courses along the way. For a reservation and to purchase a ticket, email The Galaxy Bookshop at, stop by or call them (closed on Sunday), and bring your appetite. Ticket price includes all taxes and gratuity.

Around the Galaxy: Naturalist Bernd Heinrich talks about the activities of animals, plants, and insects during a New England Summer, and signs copies of his book, Summer World, at The Galaxy Bookshop on Tuesday at 7 pm.

Thursday Music: A new project from a well-know local, Dan Haley and the Developments bring their inspired Americana to Hardwick at 8 pm.

Escape the heat! Cool cocktails, crisp wine, cold beer on tap, chilled gazpacho and frozen nougat for dessert. Just what you need to really enjoy a hot summer sunset. Oh, and air conditioning. Bar specials every Sunday and Monday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Diary of a Foodie - Hardwick Edition - Now Online

If you missed the segment of Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie on the Hardwick food system when it was broadcast on VPT earlier in the year, you now can watch the entire episode online.

Called "The Collective," the episode hightlights farmers and chefs whose work contributes to society. The show begins in Vietnam, where a restaurant trains young people in restaurant cooking and transforms their lives for the better. You can also visit a village in Mexico to learn how shared responsibilities demonstrate the effectiveness of cooperative communities. In Hardwick, the focus is on an emerging infrascture based on cooperation and not competition.

To watch the episode, visit Diary of a Foodie or just click on the image.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Local Food: Beans off the bush, just plucked from the vine, pulled off the pole, and prepared by Steven with just the right flavors, can’t help but grab the spotlight on any main course. This week, we welcome the best beans our farmers grow, setting them alongside a rack of lamb as a salad with red wine and herb vinaigrette, or sautéed with Romesco braised chicken. These hearty flavors deserve a good pint of beer or robust organic Argentine Cabernet. But first, start with the crisp earthy sweetness of beets right out of the ground, tossed with peppery arugula, Bayley Hazen Blue, and a dash of maple balsamic – which would be perfectly paired with a glass of Shelburne’s Riesling style Lake View White. Finish your dinner with a cold and creamy Nougat frozen Soufflé, with raspberries

Around the Galaxy: Tuesday at 7 pm, author and chef Linda Furiya will be at the Galaxy Bookshop to discuss How to Cook a Dragon, her second memoir. As an Asian American woman living in China, Furiya found a gulf between herself and the people with whom she shared a common heritage. In her new book, Furiya writes of her experiences of isolation and friendship, loneliness and love, and of preparing and eating authentic Chinese cuisine – a continuous thread that runs throughout her narrative.

Thursday Music: New Hampshire singer-songwriter Ian Galipeau brings his modest and sincere original music to Hardwick this week at 8 pm. Listen to a sample of his intimate performance style and songwriting at

Reserve for Monday: August 17 dinner and preview book signing at Claire’s with Allison Hooper, author of In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen and co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company. Hooper’s beautiful cookbook showcases the artisan products of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company and highlights the craft of modern American cheesemakers. Though the book will not be published officially until November, the Galaxy Bookshop will have copies available at the dinner. Tickets for the three course menu featuring recipes from the book are on sale at the Galaxy Bookshop. Please purchase in advance.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Local Food: If the rain has you yearning for summer, a few days of sun this week might do the trick, especially when you think about the arrival of summer beans and peas. Steven has just the thing to remind you that it’s the season’s peak. A salad of heirloom tomatoes, sprouts, and just off the stalk fava beans from Mystic Morning Farm in Greensboro, with sheep’s milk cheese and maple balsamic vinaigrette. To finish your dinner, try a summery Chocolate Raspberry Brownie with ice cream and salted caramel sauce, or a “Neapolitan” Ice Cream Sandwich with Praline and Pecan cookie and chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream.

Local Beverages: Summer Sunday and Monday bar specials, and every day coffee and bar service after 2:30. And the Red Sox games live from NESN. Stop by Tuesday to toast President Obama’s 48th Birthday.

Thursday Music: Joy and New Orleans Honky-Tonk bring some old school jazz to Claire’s this week.

Around the Galaxy: Journalist and storyteller Paul Lefebvre will be at The Galaxy Bookshop Tuesday at 7:00 pm, reading from his book, Perimeter Check. Collected here are essays from Lefebvre's column in The Chronicle "Yours from the perimeter," plus a few pieces written before he began the column.

Coming Up: Reserve your table for a special August 17 dinner and preview book signing at Claire’s with Allison Hooper, author of In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen and co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company. Hooper’s beautiful cookbook showcases the artisan products of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company and highlights the craft of modern American cheesemakers. Though the book will not be published officially until November, the Galaxy Bookshop will have copies available at the dinner. Tickets for the three course menu featuring recipes from the book are on sale at the Galaxy Bookshop. Please purchase in advance.

The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival is this weekend, August 7 & 8 at the Chilly Ranch in Albany. Visit their website at For our friends to the south, Sunday is the annual Summer Social of the Vermont Beef Producers Association, with two farm visits and pasture walks in Waitsfield and Brookfield, and good food.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Food and News

Local Food: The first Walla Walla onions have arrived, and Steven features them with a trio of Miller Farm Rabbit. One portion of the rabbit is grilled and then slow roasted with a housemade maple barbeque sauce. The loin is wrapped in bacon and roasted with cilantro pesto. Finally, there’s a buttermilk fried leg. The dish includes local black beans from Butterworks Farm, the onions, and a piquant jalapeño and a Napa cabbage slaw with just enough mint and cilantro to cool it down a bit.

Earlier this summer, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund launched the Farm-to-Plate initiative, the result of legislation authored by State Representatives Jason Lorber and Christopher Bray in collaboration with Rural Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. The goal of the initiative is to secure a viable local food system by promoting rural economic development. More information about the initiative is available at Farm to Plate.

Sign up for one of the Vegetable Growers’ Walks at High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott. Though designed for experienced growers, new growers and those just starting are welcome. The three two-hour sessions will focus on different crop groups, starting with zucchini, cucumbers, and heat tolerant greens on August 5 from 5-7 pm. For details, directions, and additional dates, visit High Mowing Seeds or call 802 472 6174.

Local Beverages: Summer Sunday and Monday bar specials, and every day coffee and bar service after 2:30. And the Red Sox games live from NESN.

Thursday Music: We’re excited to have “country outlaw” Rachael Rice and the Cosmic Americans offer their unique blend of vintage country, rockabilly, and Americana on Main Street in Hardwick. If you’re not yet familiar with the band, and Rachael’s commitment to transformative possibilities, visit

Around the Galaxy: Barre novelist Jennifer McMahon visits The Galaxy Bookshop Tuesday at 7 pm to talk about her latest novel, Dismantled, a suspenseful story of a group of friends who are haunted by long-buried secrets.

Local Events: The Craftsbury Chamber Players’ Thursday night schedule is available on their website, as well as information about their children’s concert series at the Town House, East Craftsbury Presbyterian Church, and Greensboro Fellowship Hall.

For information about Summer Music in Greensboro at the United Church of Christ, visit

Unadilla Theatre’s repertory schedule is available at

The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival is next week, August 7 & 8 at the Chilly Ranch in Albany. For a complete schedule and preview of the film about the festival, check out their website

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Take Note: Change in Music Tonight

Our young friends from NH, Affirmative Jackson, were forced to cancel their performance tonight because of a family emergency. Instead, we welcome local musicians Ben Appel, Tom Nudell and Noah Young for their premier at Claire's. Come show your support and be among the first to enjoy their mardi gras and urban infused jazz sounds tonight after 8:00 pm.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Local Food: Steven brings the summer flavors of southern France to the produce from our region with a fragrant Chicken Bouillabaisse, based on the classic Mediterranean fish stew, rich with fennel and tomatoes, and in our version, garlic scapes and scallions. The stew has a distinctive golden color that comes from saffron.

And have some strawberries while they last!

Local Beverages: Summer Sunday and Monday bar specials, and every day coffee and bar service after 2:30. And the Red Sox games live from NESN.

Around the Galaxy: The Buffalo Mountain Food Co-op and The Galaxy Bookshop welcome Ron Krupp for a discussion of his new book on Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. Ron Krupp, known for The Woodchuck's Guide to Gardening is now the author of Lifting the Yoke: Local Solutions to America's Farm and Food Crisis. Krupp has a long history of involvement with Vermont's local farm and food issues, beginning with founding one of the first farmer's markets in the early 70s in Brattleboro.

In other book news, New York Times reporter and author Marian Burros comes to the Lakeview Inn this Wednesday for a tasting menu and talk entitled “The New White House Kitchen Garden and Michelle Obama.” Advance purchase tickets for the event are $60 each, and the Galaxy Bookshop will be on hand with signed copies of Marian’s book for sale at an additional price. Contact: or

Thursday Music: This week, we welcome Affirmative Jackson, an emerging band from across the Connecticut River. The Keene Equinox describes the band as a “real music experience” that encapsulates “the whole life and soul of an area.” Come by after 8:00 pm to hear what Keene music is all about. You can sample their tunes at

The Craftsbury Chamber Players continue their Thursday night performance series at the Hardwick Town House. They are also hosting free children’s concerts at 2:00 pm on July 23 & 30 at the Town House, August 6 at the East Craftsbury Presbyterian Church, and at the Greensboro Fellowship Hall on August 13 and 20. Their complete schedule is available

Summer Music in Greensboro launched their Tuesday night series at the United Church of Christ, a short 10 minute drive from Claire’s. Their complete schedule is available at

Also a short drive from Main Street in Hardwick, Unadilla Theatre in East Calais is performing 6 plays in repertory until August 20. Curtain time is 7:30 and for more information, visit

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time for a Food Revolution

Celebrate Bastille Day with Local Food: Tuesday July 14, the French “fête” the 220th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, which was the turning point in the Revolution. At Claire’s, we’ll mark the French national holiday with our own localvore Revolution à la française. Enjoy classic Steak Frites with pastured beef from Snug Valley Farm, a glass of Shelburne Vineyard’s crisp Rosé, followed by Steven’s creamy maple crème brûlee. At the bar, follow the Tour de France on the flatscreen, as a French competitor is expected to win the day.

Local Beverages: Summer Sunday and Monday bar specials, and every day coffee and bar service after 2:30. In addition to the Tour de France, we run Red Sox games live from NECN.

Around the Galaxy: Mark Rudd, leader of the 1968 student uprising at Columbia University, will visit The Galaxy Bookshop on Wednesday, July 15 to share his story, as told in his book, Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen.

Local Food Art: Marie LePre’ Grabon launched her new chocolate bonbons with a facebook page recently, and now you can buy the sweets at Buffalo Mountain. You’ll definitely want a few.

Thursday Music: Jeremy Raboin is back by popular demand. Come by to see why he has been one of our favorites. You can check out his music on myspace.

Starting this week, the Craftsbury Chamber players are back for their Thursday night performance series at the Hardwick Town House. Their complete schedule is available at their website.

Midsummer is upon us. Stop by to cool down with some good food and drink for those dog days.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Local Food: Native Brown Trout have made their way over from Mount Foot Farm in Wheelock. Steven is grilling them whole from snout to tail, served with greens, sweet cherry tomatoes, zucchini and herbed brown butter.

Local Beverages:
With Sunday’s new dinner hours, we’re bringing back Summer Sunday Specials on draft beer, cocktail, and wine. Monday bar specials will continue as well. Come down for a pint of Vermont’s finest or a cocktail shaken up from local ingredients. Until July 26, you can also follow the Tour de France or the Red Sox every day after 2:30 on our flatscreen TV while you enjoy your favorite thirst quencher.

Thursday Music:
We are pleased to have East Hardwick favorite Jacob Clark back for a return engagement. You can preview his music and enjoy his hypnotic voice at

Local Events:
The Galaxy Bookshop welcomes novelist Jim Lynch on Friday, July 10, at 7 pm, to celebrate his new work, Border Songs. The Galaxy staff recommends this read as one of their all-time favorite books.

This Saturday, July 11, at 9:30, naturalist, artist, and teacher Susan Sawyer leads a “Non-flowering Plant Walk” along the Hardwick Trails. For more information, contact Norma Wiesen at 472 6517.

After you enjoy the lush foliage, head up to Craftsbury Common to walk among the Antiques and Uniques, and maybe pick up a few choice items. The 39th Annual festival runs from 10-4, benefiting the fire department and local services for children and families.

Summer’s swinging. Is there a better way to end a busy weekend than with a cocktail or pint, and a bowl of calamari at Claire’s?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Summer Sundays bring three ways to have a good time at Claire’s! We’re open for our popular “Blunch” from 11 to 2. Come by after 2 and enjoy coffee and a sweet snack, or a glass of your favorite cook beverage from the bar. From 5-8, we’re open for dinner. Catch up with friends, relax over a good meal, watch a summer day roll by through our windows.

Local Food is Popping: Jalapeños from Pete’s Greens are coming in, and Steven is thrilled about a stuffing and batter to fry them into Poppers. Leeks are also on their way, and the tomatoes are particularly sweet and aromatic this year. Look for them with roasted chicken.

Thursday Music: We’re thrilled to welcome the Bottomshelf Bootleggers, who are inspired by Old Timey Americana, featuring washboard bass, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and vocal harmonies. Come by to enjoy the music and maybe dance.

Local Events: Tuesday night, the Hardwick Area Transition Town committee is meeting at 7 pm at the Center for an Agricultural Economy. Learn more about Transition Towns at

Thursday night, Bike Hardwick from 7-8 pm. A leisurely bicycle ride starting at the Buffalo Mountain Coop open to all ages. Please register by contacting Perry Heller at 917-224-7216, Tom Brown at 802-472-5509, or email at

Open House at the Greensboro Free Library, Saturday at 10 am – 3 pm. Come see the renovated library, shop the Book Sale 10:00-2:00, also a Tee-Shirt Tye-dying for children at11:30, poetry reading with Galway Kinnell at 11:30, and a watercolor demonstration with Lynn Davidson at 1:00. The library will be dedicated at 2 pm.

Also on Saturday: The Fourth of July - Happy Independence Day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What's Cooking at Claire's and around Hardwick

Local Food: Zucchini! Our secret source has early deliveries of one of summer’s most admired and easily overlooked vegetables. Come by for a taste.

Farmers Markets are held every Thursday in Greensboro 3-6; Friday in Hardwick 3-6; Saturday in Craftsbury 10-1 on the Common. Farm stands are open across the region, and Perennial Pleasures again offers afternoon tea.

New Sunday Hours: We’re now open Sundays for dinner from 5-8. We also offer our much appreciated “Blunch” from 11-2.

Local Fun: Enjoy Circus Smirkus Sunday in Greensboro at 1:00 or 6:00. Stop by the Galaxy Bookshop for tickets, and take a look at the Food Inc. book, based on the movie and featuring essays by Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Joel Salatin, Gary Hirshberg, and others.

Linda Ramsdell from the Galaxy and Claire’s will be on VPR 12-1 Tuesday talking about summer reading.

Local Music: Welcome the Michele Fay Band on Thursday at 7:30, and enjoy their unique mix of traditional, swing, and bluegrass music, rich female harmonies, and original songs inspired by Vermont. You can learn more and listen at their website.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Say "American Cheeses"! Come by Tuesday evening to meet author and James Beard Foundation Inductee Clark Wolf, in celebration of his book American Cheeses. The reception includes a cheese tasting that Steven has prepared with some of the most intriguing selections juxtaposing Vermont producers with other Americans, and Clark will include anecdotes and insights from his book about the cheeses. At 7 pm, Clark will be at the Galaxy Bookshop to discuss his book in greater detail and sign copies. The cheese tasting at Claire’s is $10 at the door, and the talk at the Galaxy is free.

Watch for our cheese quiz today and tomorrow on twitter - - and find out about the tasting selection

Local Food:
Head up to the Rural Heritage Institute at Sterling College Tuesday-Thursday for Food, Farms, and Community: Rural American’s Local Food Renaissance. Participants include local and national leaders in the local food movement, with discussions, field trips, and workshops. Steven joins Eric Warnstedt from Hen of the Wood, Jeff Egan from the Bee’s Knees, and Elena Gustavson from Sterling for a chefs’ panel on local food Wednesday evening. The panel starts at 7:15, after the 6 pm local foods banquet in Simpson Hall. The talk is free, and the dinner is $30. For more information, visit the Sterling College website.

Music Thursday:
Local back porch music favorites Copper Kettle will join us this week, offering what they describe as an “almost all girl band with influences from Gillian Welch, The Biscuit Burners and others.”

For CSR holders, don’t forget to pick up your new cards – they start this month. And we’re now open on Tuesdays.