How many people does your fridge need to feed?
Gail: Usually two.
Dan: But on Sunday mornings, ten: Gail and I, our two children and each of their two children, and their spouses.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
Dan: Gail and I eat homemade granola every day except Sunday, when the kiddos all come down for pancakes.
Is there anything you eat every day?
Gail: Granola and milk; coffee and tea; our own bread; peanut butter; crackers for a snack.
Dan: We’re lucky, we get our milk from a local farm. It’s fresh, whole milk—in Vermont you’re still allowed to sell that directly from the farm. We also eat a lot of cheese.
Dan: We eat a fair amount of local meat. We buy a cow from a neighbor. And this year, the whole extended family raised pigs
Avah: And that’s sad, because we had to kill them.
Gail: We have chicken that is locally raised. And our own eggs. And we have pancakes once a week. During the summer when the farmstand is going we have coffee and scones that Avah’s mom and dad make and sell. And we make maple syrup. We have maple trees growing on our land, so it makes sense to use them, and it also makes sense to be improving our wood lot.
Dan: Much of the wood that we use for boiling the syrup at the sugarhouse is from trees we cull from our wood lot. So you’re improving your sugar lot at the same time that you’re generating the heat to boil the maple syrup and heat our house. We sell the syrup directly from the sugarhouse or from the farmstand.
Gail: We consider it a good year if we make about 225 gallons. We keep about four for ourselves.
What item are you forbidden from purchasing right now?
Dan: We don’t buy foods manufactured by companies that are owned by the Koch brothers.
Gail: We don’t ever buy soda. About the only packaged things we buy are crackers and corn chips. We make our own jam and pickles so we don’t buy those. We grow and put up a lot food so we don’t have to buy it. And we don’t buy frozen food. We do buy clementines, apples, coffee, tea…
What’s the most delicious thing in here?
Avah: The orange juice.
Dan: We found out that Florida’s Natural is grown and made by a cooperative. I’d say the pesto that Gail made is the most delicious thing.
Gail: The ice cream. I’m quite addicted.
The most disgusting?
Gail: I’d say the old head of lettuce.
Avah: The old bagel, but that’s not in the fridge.
Dan: Last year we spilled a bunch of ashes out onto the floor of the sugarhouse at the end of the season and somehow we covered up a half a bagel (we like to toast them on the evaporator). Then cleaning up this spring we found it. It was still pliable, and it wasn’t moldy or anything; it was preserved perfectly! This morning we saw the dog lugging it up the driveway.
Gail: The Cuban cigars in the freezer.
Dan: I go to Cuba once a year and early on I started bring cigars back. But I don’t smoke cigars, and I don’t know anybody who does. It just felt like the thing you’re supposed to bring back from Cuba. These have been here a dozen years or longer.
Anything you regret buying?
Dan: Maybe the Cuban cigars.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Dan: The Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Dan: Well there’s a lot of fat and sugar in it and it’s made by a company which is owned by Unilever, which is a huge mega-corporation and one we do not particularly relish supporting.
Avah: But everybody likes ice cream!
Where do you do most of your food shopping?
Gail: Brattleboro Food Co-op.
How much do you spend on groceries each week?
Gail: $40-80 a week.
How often do you go grocery shopping?
Gail: Once a week.
What percentage of your meals do you prepare at home?
Is there anything in here that we would have found in your childhood fridge?
Dan: Homemade bread. My mom made all the bread when we were growing up and now Gail’s made bread our whole life together. Also Vermont cheese—I grew up just up the road.
Gail: Milk and eggs. You don’t see eggs in our fridge but that’s because we use other parts of our house as our fridge, especially at this time of year. We put leftovers in the woodshed, which is frozen six months a year. The pantry is cold because we keep the door shut and we don’t have central heating: eggs are out there. Sweet potatoes, squash, and onions are upstairs in a room that stays pretty cold. And then we have a cold cellar where there are carrots, leeks, potatoes, beets, rutabagas, and turnips. We also have a deep freezer in the woodshed.
Dan: Gail sells eggs so the pantry is always full of boxes of them ready to go out to customers.
Gail: When eggs are laid they have a protective coating, so as long as they’re not washed and kept reasonably cool, they don’t go bad.
What do you wish you had in here?
Avah: Hot dogs. I don’t have any hot dogs even though we raise pigs.
Gail: More fresh vegetables.
Dan: I second the fresh vegetables.
Dan and Gail run Whetstone Ledges Farm and farmstand. Dan is also the proprietor of their construction business, Macarthur Construction. He’s holding Gail’s homemade pesto from 2011, recently defrosted. Gail is the bookkeeper and manager for the construction business as well as a school bus driver and coordinator. She’s holding a block of Cabot extra-sharp cheddar. Avah is a granddaughter and a first-grader and she’s holding a carton of orange juice. They live in Marlboro, Vermont.