Author: Laura Carbonneau
If you’re traveling along Kipling Road in Dummerston, VT you may happen upon Scott Farm Orchard. The picturesque views of the orchard and farm buildings seem to take you back in time. And rightfully so. Scott Farm is owned by the Landmark Trust USA and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places—farmers have actively farmed the land there since 1791. We chatted with Simon Renault, Scott Farm Orchard’s new General Manager, who was very excited to share with us what’s been happening on the farm this season.
If you didn’t already know, the orchard boasts 130 different varieties of heirloom apples. It is incredible to imagine 130 different types of apples when our typical grocery stores may only carry up to 15 varieties! They also grow all kinds of interesting fruits like gooseberries, pawpaws, persimmons, delicious Japanese plums, peaches, pears, medlars—you name it! Their dedication to biodiversity and care for these heirloom varieties makes them stand apart.
And we can’t imagine having to pick a favorite, either for cooking or eating! “Calville Blanc is a favorite cooking apple, made famous by Julia Child’s who recommended it in her Tarte Tatin (a french apple tart),” says Simon. “Reinne de Reinette is also a favorite. The delights of a Blue Pearmain were described with such poetry by Thoreau. Black Oxford is an old Maine heirloom with a mild flavor, hard as rock which helps it store well; its flavors enhance over the winter. “ There are just too many to choose from!
And we know that our community loves their heirloom products. “More than 80% of our crop stays with a 75 miles radius,’“ says Simon. “Scott Farm has a deep commitment to our local community. Providing our neighbors with healthy fruit is our main concern and motivation. Food Connects helps us by distributing some of our fruit and getting us in touch with many local institutions with whom we do not already have a working relationship.”
With new leadership, the farm is focusing on a few new initiatives. “One of the very interesting things we have been working on is taking a closer look at is the antioxidant properties of heirloom apples. Apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol. Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants. We have sent some of our oldest heirloom apples to labs to try to show the particular health properties of some of our apples. Particularly in this time of health crisis, it is very relevant for us to take a health lens on the work we do and consider that our number one priority.”
Not only are they expanding on their research efforts but their farm store is growing as well. “Our Farm Market has a much wider range of products this year. The current COVID-19 crisis pushed us to understand our market as a real service to our local community and we are delighted to be meeting that need.” Scott Farm Orchard, like many other farms we work with at Food Connects, is responding to the community need and demand for fresh, local food.
And they expanded their fall fruit CSA offering. “For 13 weeks, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving, CSA members will go home with a half peck of heirloom apples and other fruits. Every week they get to discover 2 different varieties of heirloom apples. Picking up a basket directly from the orchard (or at our other two pick up locations in Brattleboro and Putney) is a great way for people to shop for healthy nutritious food while staying safe.”
Scott Farm Orchard Is participating in Dig In Vermont’s Open Farm Week. Join them on August 13 and 15 for a virtual Hard Cider Tasting They are partnering with Eden Cider, a cidery based in Newport, Vermont that gets a lot of heirloom apples from us to make its harvest artisanal ciders.
So how do you do a virtual tasting? The way it works is that guests order a tasting kit from Eden Specialty Ciders (3 375ml bottles and a Scott farm glass) on their website and register for the tasting, then a zoom link will be sent via email. They encourage people to invite some friends or family and make it an event. The tasting will be guided by Eleanore, owner of Eden Specialty Ciders. Tastings include their dry cider (Brut Nature), an ice cider, and Siren Song Demi-sec. It promises to be really fun and a great voyage into the world of hard cider, for both the novice and the connoisseur.
This story by Food Connects originally appeared at https://www.foodconnects.org/fh-news-hub/2020/2020/8/5/producer-spotlight-scott-farm-orchard