VPR Cafe: Niche Foods

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young farmers and food producers are finding new niches in the local,
sustainable food landscape.  Melissa
Pasanen, who writes for the Savorevore Series in the Burlington Free Press,
fills us in on super delicious sweet potatoes, trout farming in a grain silo
and maple crunchies.

VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press, where you
can read more about niche food endeavors.

Support for The VPR Café comes from The Vermont Community Foundation’s
food and farm initiative, supporting farmers and helping all families access
nutritious local food. VERMONT C-F DOT-ORG.

Here are Melissa’s stories about Justin Rich and the sweet potatoes at
Burnt Rock Farm
and Tonewood Maple.

Maple-Ginger Sweet Potato

1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour, or half regular whole wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon fine salt
2 eggs
½ cup canola oil
½ maple syrup, preferably Grade B or Grade A dark amber
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, sour cream, or 1/3 cup milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar stirred in)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease well. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and then whisk in oil, maple syrup, buttermilk, vanilla extract, brown sugar and sweet potato until blended. (Tip: if brown sugar is clumpy, rub it between your fingers as you add it to break up lumps.) Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir in just until well combined. Stir in crystallized ginger, if using. Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and put muffins in the oven. Bake 19-21 minutes until domed and golden and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before eating. Makes 12 muffins.

~ recipe developed and tested by Melissa Pasanen, Free Press correspondent

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