Monday, May 25, 2009

News from Claire's and around Hardwick

Anniversary Party: Please join us at Claire’s Tuesday evening from 6-8 pm to celebrate a successful first year, and to thank our investors, supporters, producers, staff, guests, and friends who have eased us through the challenges and celebrated our accomplishments. Please also come to meet and welcome our new dining room manager, Veronica Medwid.

Music Notes: Welcome our friend and neighbor Tracy Wolters Thursday, 7:30 pm for his first gig at Claire’s.

News and (Re)Views: Tom Stearns from our Center for an Agricultural Economy was a big player at the national conference of the Business Alliance for Local Livable Economies this past weekend in Denver. You can read coverage of his keynote address at BALLE.

Also check out the new 7 Nights magazine supplement for 7 Days – highlighting Claire’s for a profile in the Northeast Kingdom. Take a look at 7 Days.

From the kitchen: Steven is planning for grilled rabbit from Miller Farm this week, with rhubarb, mustard and maple. We’re also thrilled by the arrival of herbs – mint, parsley and chives, and Steven is eagerly awaiting his favorite, cilantro!

With all the talk and questions about Steven’s Ramp Pesto at our booth for the Sustainability Fair at Atkins Field Saturday, we realized that everyone loves pesto, but no one had thought about ramps! Steven uses any leafy green herbage in pesto – especially earthy ramps or lemony sorrel. With spring ramps still available in cool microclimates (take care not to overharvest!) and sorrel starting to thrive, here’s Steven’s recipe for the pesto.

Yield: 1 quart


4 bunches Ramps or Sorrel, adjust quantity for size of bunch, pick and wash if needed. Remove the white bulb from the Ramps, using only the green portions. Use the bulbs for salads or cooking. You can mix any leafy green herb over the summer based on availability.

12 cloves Garlic, peeled, adjust quantity for size of each clove
1 cup Almonds or Pine Nuts, sliced, toasted and cooled
1 cup Romano cheese or similarly hard and dry cheese like clothbound cheddar
1 cup Sunflower or extra virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 lemon, juiced


1. In food processor or blender combine garlic, nuts, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
2. Add Ramps or Sorrel or mixed herbs and some of the oil and process.
3. Add lemon juice and with machine running add remaining oil.
4. Add cheese, process just to incorporate and check seasoning.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Big Weekend in and around Hardwick!

First Anniversary: Thank you for making our first year a success! Come by while you’re on Main Street for the parade this Saturday, say “Hi” and enjoy a cup of coffee and one of Steven’s scrumptious muffins. Our open house is from 10 am to 2 pm.

As well, join us Tuesday, May 26 from 6-8 for a reception at Claire’s to thank you for all your support, encouragement, constructive criticism, and eating and eating.

Atkins Field: This year, the Sustainability Fair moves to Atkins Field to join the Spring Family Carnival on Saturday. Later in the evening, Claire’s offers one of the best views of the fireworks. Come by for dinner or a drink, and stay to enjoy the show. Check out for a full list of Spring Festival events.

Music Notes: Thursday at 7:30, please join us for a heartfelt Hardwick welcome to Mark Struhsacker, who founded and fronts Radio Rangers on WDEV each Saturday morning. Mark’s solo performances highlight traditional fiddle tunes and bluegrass.

Local Art: The Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio Weekend is also May 23 & 24, with many artists participating in and around Hardwick. For more information, maps and a list of participants, visit

Bring your receipt from a purchase to Claire’s and enjoy one free dessert to share with your dinner.

In Hardwick, you’ll find: Harry and Wendy Besett at Vermont Glass Studio, who provided us with our wonderful bistro-style wine glasses and table lamps; blacksmith Lucien Avery noted for his artful and practical ironwork for the home and for creating the unique iron-work fence along the river on South Main Street; Ruby Leslie’s Charuby Studio, well known for unique designs and expert weaving, will open her doors at 244 Carey Road in Hardwick.

In Craftsbury and Greensboro, check out: Elinor Osborn’s keen eye for nature in her photographs, Mill Village Pottery’s functional and decorative items, Dave Brown’s wonderful turned wooden bowls and plates, Marion Stegner’s hand crafted jewelry, and the naturally inspired ceramics of Jennifer Ranz. Just south of Craftsbury, stop by Muddy Creek Pottery for Heather Stearns’ distinctive work and maybe sign up for a class!

Open Studio Links and contacts:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happening at Claire's and around Hardwick

Remember When? It was almost a year ago. We opened the doors at Claire’s and invited everyone to pay us a visit just before the Spring Festival parade, offering our first dinner service that same night. In less than two weeks we’ll be celebrating our first anniversary, so come by the morning of Saturday May 23 to say “hi,” enjoy a cup of coffee and stay to watch the parade. Later, follow the parade down to Atkins Field for the Sustainability Fair. And don’t forget that the Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio Weekend is also May 23 & 24, with many artists participating in and around Hardwick. For more information, maps and a list or participants, visit

Then come back for dinner at Claire’s, just named a Yankee Magazine Best of New England Editor’s Choice as Best Community Concept.

Music Notes: Thursday at 7:30, Singer songwriter Jay Ekis is back to play his world-influenced rock. Jay released his latest CD, "Touched by War," late last year – a compilation of songs exploring human conflict that range from dark and melodic to optimistic. You can learn a bit more about Jay and listen to his music at

Afternoon Break: Starting at 2:30 pm, come by for a cup of coffee, a beer, or glass of wine, and catch up with friends, or take note of the day’s event via our free Wifi or the daily papers. Enjoy an intensely chocolate treat or the bright flavors of one of Steven’s famous sweets in a jar.

Don’t forget our Poutine ‘n’ Tini Mondays, with pint, wine, and cocktail specials.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joel Salatin Comes to Sterling College and Claire's in Hardwick

Joel Salatin, the noted environmentally friendly farmer, author, and lecturer featured in The Omnivore's Dilemma, will stop by the bar at Claire's this Saturday, May 9, at 7 pm for conversation and a bite to eat. Joel has been brought to our area by Sterling College to participate in their 2009 commencement. In addition to receiving an honorary degree, Joel is the College's commencement speaker. After the ceremonies on campus in Craftsbury Common, Joel will head into Hardwick and he looks forward to meeting our farmers, environmentalists, and farming enthusiasts. Join him at the bar and enjoy something to drink or eat as well as a good discussion.

Joel is the author of Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front, and we are pleased to have this opportunity for conversation with him, co-sponsored by Sterling College. Visit the website of his family's Polyface Farm to learn more about their mission: “We are in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thank you, Moms! Celebrate your mom and all our moms this Sunday at Claire’s. You can make reservations anytime between 11 am and 3 pm for our popular Blunch, inspired by Mother Earth and the work of our farmers. Steven’s menu will feature downy whole wheat and Flint corn pancakes, which are sweetly spiced and served with blueberries and maple syrup, a savory cheese tart with the first produce of spring, and his popular buttermilk, ramp and cheddar biscuits with eggs, served with a full bodied red wine, shallot, and bacon sauce. From the bar, mom might enjoy a spicy Bloody Mary or a bubbly Mimosa or Blueberry Bellini, or perhaps a Blueberry Mint Julep.

Music Notes: This Thursday at 7:30, we are pleased to welcome folk artist Jacob Clark for a first time performance. Jacob has performed locally at the Bee’s Knees and Langdon Street. Listen to some of his music at

Hanging out: Our exhibit of landscapes by Marie Le Pré Grabon continues. Afternoons are a good time to stop by to take a look, have a cup of coffee, a beer, or glass of wine, and then catch up with friends, or take note of the days event via our free wifi or the daily papers. We open at 2:30 Monday and Thursday-Saturday. Don’t forget our Poutine ‘n’ Tini Mondays, with pint, wine, and cocktail specials. Steven now offers a white wine and mushroom gravy on the poutine.