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VPR Cafe: Pete's Greens Paying It Forward

May 26, 2013, 10:45am  In February, 2011, the barn at Pete's Greens in Craftsbury burned to the ground.  As is the Vermont way, customers and community came together to raise money for Pete Johnson to rebuild the farm.  In the meantime, however, Tropical Storm Irene hit and Johnson saw that he was not the only one in crisis.  He used the money to establish The Vermont Farm Fund to make loans to help farms recover - and - to give other farmers the opportunity to launch new innovative projects. 

Candace Page tells the story of some of these loans and the impact that The Vermont Farm Fund has had on our agricultural community.  Candy writes for the Savorevore Section of the Burlington Free Press, where you can read more about the program and the farms that have benefited, including Sweet Rowan Farm in East Albany.   See below for a recipe for Savory Scones with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese.

Last Month, Pete Johnson was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration.

Savory Scones with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Reporter’s note: On the same day I acquired a container of Sweet Rowen Farm’s fresh sun-dried tomato farmer’s cheese, a recipe for scones with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes floated into my inbox. This, clearly, was meant to be. I substituted the Vermont cheese and the resulting tender scones went beautifully with our dinner of chile and green salad. — Candace Page

Adapted from The Kitchn online blog, Makes approximately 24-30 mini scones, or 8-10 large scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup (1 stick) frozen unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
4 ounces Sweet Rowen Farm sun-dried tomato farmer’s cheese, or substitute 4 ounces crumbled goat’s cheese
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten

Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the butter over the flour and pulse until the butter has become the size of small peas, about 5-6 pulses. Add the cheese, buttermilk, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley, and pulse until the mixture just begins to combine. (It should still look shaggy and dry, but squish together when you press it with your fingers. If it won’t stick together, add up to 2 tablespoons more buttermilk.)

Turn the mixture onto a floured counter. For mini-scones, pat into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough lengthwise into 11/4-inch strips, then cut 11/4 inch strips crosswise to form squares. (If dough is difficult to cut, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up). Cut each square diagonally to make triangles. Pull them apart a bit to allow them to expand. For standard scones, pat the dough into two round discs and cut into wedges. Bake scones on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

(The original Kitchn recipe calls for putting the scones on a parchment-lined pan and freezing them for at least 30 minutes or overnight before baking. I believe this isn’t necessary, though I followed the recommendation since it allowed me to delay baking until just before dinner).

Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush the dough with egg wash and bake until the scones are golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Best the day they are made.


Franny was VPR's Director of Programming & Production.
Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
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