Disclosure: My travel, meals, and accommodation expenses were covered by Cabot. I was not compensated for this post.
This past weekend I had the honor of traveling to Vermont to be a part of this year’s Cabot Fit Team. The team’s mission is to increase awareness about the importance of wellness through nutrition and exercise. As an avid cheese lover and supporter of Cabot’s many delicious products I was psyched to be chosen as part of the Team. The team would experience the local area, take part in a Cabot farm tour, and participate in the Middlebury Maple Run on Sunday.
My team members included (as pictured clockwise starting from far left):
Anne from Fannetastic Food
Roni from Green Lite Bites
Katie from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Amanda from The Wholesome Dish
Danielle from Food Confidence
So much talent in this group- I loved learning from and spending time with all of them! Unfortunately one of our original team members Brianne fractured her foot so Anne joined last minute to complete the team.
Roni, Danielle, and I were the earliest to arrive and Sara Wing (Cabot’s dietitian) picked us up from the Burlington airport and took us the The Farm House Tap and Grill for lunch. I enjoyed some sweet potato soup topped with maple syrup and apple along with a local greens salad. In case you only thought of Vermont of a ski town you are mistaken- it is a huge agricultural state with farms in every area. Sara said that after delicious local meals like this Vermonters say “thank you farmers”.
Everyone was staying at the gorgeous Swift House Inn in Middlebury Vermont, a former governor’s mansion- my room included a fireplace, and tub complete with jets (both of which would prove useful on race day). Once everyone arrived we enjoyed a Cabot cheese plate and some drinks in the bar area (hello local Vermont craft beer- yum) before enjoying dinner at the inn. I think I have a new favorite Cabot cheese, although I did enjoy my old favorite- the Everything Bagel Cheddar (you MUST try this if you’ve never had it before)!
FYI- Cabot has an awesome store locator feature on it’s website that allows you to view all the products at any local grocery store- perfect for making sure your favorite cheese is in stock.
After our drinks and cheese we headed into the dining room of the inn for dinner. I start with a golden beet salad with sautéed spinach and goat cheese (omg sooooo good- must recreate to share with you guys!) For dinner I had the special which was halibut topped with mushrooms and served with a side of asparagus and rice. Since we are healthy living bloggers (and some dietitians) it was only natural to partake in dessert. I loved my inn-made salted caramel ice cream. After dinner and some chatting, we headed up to bed early.
Saturday started with breakfast at the inn I had an omelet, toast, and Cabot yogurt with homemade granola. I think this was my first true bed and breakfast experience and I really loved the ambiance and meal choices! I fueled up since we had an awesome morning planned- a Cabot farm tour at Kayhart farms.
The Cabot Creamery Cooperative has over 1,200 farms through New England and New York and we were lucky enough to visit the Kayhart Farm located in Addison, Vermont. The Kayharts have land on each side of Lake Champlain, in Vermont and New York. Their 700 cows make more than 6,000 gallons of milk per day which is one of the highest volume producers in the state. Two brothers share ownership of the farm and one of them (Steve) was nice enough to give us a tour and share his families story.
Being a city girl I definitely had my eyes opened and was interested to learn more about running a farm. It was really great to see the passion Steve and his workers have for the farm and their girls (the lady cows). One interesting fact I wanted to share was about antibiotics… there is a misconception that if milk isn’t organic it has antibiotics in it. This is totally not the case- when a cow has an infection or medical issue that requires treatment of an antibiotic that milk is thrown out and the cow is isolated. All milk is tested prior to leaving the farm and tested again once stored in truck. In fact if the milk is contaminated the wrongdoing farm must pay for all the milk since it will be unusable, aka a hefty fine. Steve said he thinks about using antibiotics and medicines to treat cows the same way he would think about using them for his children- everyone on the farm cares so much about a cow that when they are sick they want to do what the cow needs to feel better. I thought this was really interesting and enlightening.
Once we asked all our questions we headed out to check on the baby calves. Most of them loved us and hurried over towards us for some nuzzling. My goal was to take a selfie or two- success!! They were so cute and energetic- everyone from the team was pretty much in love.
Spending an awesome morning learning about farm life and petting baby cows definitely makes you hungry so we headed back to the inn for lunch. Cabot had brought in sandwiches from a local deli- Noonie’s. My sandwich had turkey, avocado, sprouts, tomato, havarti with dill cheese and mustard on whole wheat. It was massive but fresh and delicious; I ate a little more than half since I wanted to save room for our early dinner.
Once everyone finished lunch the group headed down to the main street of Middlebury to check out some local shops. It was super fun to shop with a big group of girls- the whole weekend felt like a big party with friends. I refrained from purchasing too much and settled for a Vermont magnet/beer opener, maple lollipop, and chai maple syrup. We also enjoyed the views of Otter Creek- Vermont truly is beautiful.
The Fit Team and Sara spent a little down time in our rooms before dinner at American Flatbread which has locations across the state and makes the flatbreads on a wood fire oven. The group started with the salad and then ordered 4 pizzas (another Cabot employee had joined our group for dinner). Cabot had brought some cheddar to use on one of our pizzas- the apple, bacon, and cheddar. We also tried the New Vermont Sausage (which included maple fennel sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms), Punctuated Equilibrium (which was a Greek style pizza with goat cheese), and the Roasted Tomato Salsa (which was Mexican themed). My favorite was the apple, bacon, cheddar but I was pleasantly surprised about the salsa one- interesting ingredients for a pizza but it worked!
Since the next day was race day we all pretty much turned in early, although I did stay up to watch the first and second periods of the Pens game before lights out by 10:00pm. I slept well and woke up ready for race day! This post is already so long so I will continue our adventures including a race recap later this week!