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News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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The Butterworks Farm Terroir
In France, Jack and Anne Lazor of Butterworks Farm would be cult figures, the object of veneration by people enamored of extraordinary food, and the subject of books by Americans fascinated by traditional agriculture. In Westfield, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, they are just farmers, albeit ones well ahead of their time.
The Lazors came to my attention when a friend brought over some Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt and I could not understand why it tasted so awful compared to our usual yogurt. It turns out that Stonyfield yogurt, made by a subsidiary of the multinational Danone, contains inulin, a sweetener and pectin, a powdered thickener extracted from citrus fruits. These two additives change the texture and mask, at least for me, the real flavor of yogurt. Yogurt from Butterworks Farm, our regular brand, contains only organic whole Jersey milk, and acidophilus and other live yogurt cultures.
But that is only half the story. In France it is an article of faith that true produits de terroir are products that express a sense of place: the soil, the climate, the air, the spirit of the land and the people who live there. Wine critics often deride poor wine as having no terroir, i.e. no identity. “It does not come from somewhere,” they will say, and once you taste examples of the two side by side, you will remember forever what this means.
Butterworks makes a range of products, but my favorite is their Whole Jersey Milk Yogurt. It is simultaeously rich and tart — the same pleasing combination of qualities found in the best sweet wines (and Coca-Cola, too, as a winemaker in Alsace once pointed out to me). The milk used in it is unhomogenized, so the thick cream rises to the top of the container and has to be stirred back into the whole.
All the feed that Butterworks’ Jersey cows eat is raised on the farm; in fact, the entire operation is a closed system, right down to the not inconsequential detail that all of the Lazors’ cows were born there, too. But beyond that, the Lazors seems to add a special element of attention to detail and caring to what they do. Their website lays out their healthy farm practices, but don’t trust the web for that. You can taste the result in their yogurt. It tastes like it comes from somewhere — because it really does.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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