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Ben and Jerry’s is probably the most commonly sited feel good entrepreneurial story about a Vermont business.  That’s understandable, it’s a great story and one that has done a tremendous amount for the Vermont brand.  (Some will debate whether there’s any value to branding products as Made in Vermont, but that’s an argument for another time.) While Ben and Jerry’s is the story everyone knows, there are hundreds of other Vermont products out there with the potential to be next big thing and certainly dozens that will achieve national standing and recognition.

Salad dressing certainly isn’t on the same plane as ice cream, but the arc Drew’s products have an impressive reach nationwide.  The Sapbucket recently uncorked a bottle of Drew’s Lemon Goddess Dressing for a salad of baby greens.  Despite coming from a professional looking bottle, the dressing has a taste of being homemade and is a  perfect choice for pairing with fish, quiche or other lighter fare.  There’s a lightness to the dressing that belies it’s a creamy (but not too heavy) texture.  A nicely blended flavor of  soy, lemon and tahini makes the dressing a nice addition to a variety of salads and we’ll be curious to see how it works as a dressing for noodles (as suggested by Drew’s).  Drew’s doesn’t rely on it’s Vermont roots for branding purposes, but is one the growing number of nationally recognized products made here.  If we’re truly going to be a leader in eating local, we need more products like Drew’s to be made and consumed in Vermont.

Verdict: A fresh tasting dressing perfect for foods you might cook up in summer Vermont weather. 

Made in Chester, Drew’s dressings are currently on sale at most Co-Ops and natural food stores for $2.19 a bottle (regularly $3.89).  Check out Drew’s full line of “all-natural” dressings and where you can find them from coast to coast

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Pancakes have a way of slowing down a Saturday morning.  It feels that all too often, the morning gets rolling and you head outside.  Before you know it you’ve eaten lunch and are turning the corner towards the evening.  Start the day with some pancakes and you’ve got an instant slow motion button for the morning.   You’ll find time to read the paper, savor rather than mainline your coffee and even talk to your breakfast companions.

If you’re the type to only reach for a box of premixed pancake batters such as Bisquick for a camping trip or vacation, I understand.  I’d encourage you to revisit that stance the next time you are in the store on a Friday and thinking about taking it easy on Saturday.  Grab a bag of Stewart’s Pancake Mix and start your day off right.  The mix is as easy as any other, with a basic recipe and “Stewart’s” recipe that calls for yogurt and apple sauce.  We’ve made it both ways (including subbing kefir for the yogurt) and you can’t go wrong.  Stewart’s version did produce the lighter, fluffier pancake, but then again the Sapbucket household generally favors that type of thicker-fluffy pancake.  The distinguishing factor about Stewart’s mix is the blend of poppy, sunflower and flax seeds.  The seeds add just a hint of crunch and nuttiness, a really nice hearty flavor that conveys a true sense of being homemade.

Verdict: Use this mix to slow down your Saturday with some delicious, creative pancakes.

Made in Williston, we prepped for our Saturday at City Market, picking up this 2lb bag of mix for $5.99.  

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Chocolate Week

For the next week the Sapbucket will be all chocolate all the time.  While there’s a Chocolate Week in the UK this fall (October 8-14) and Atlanta had a 3-Day “Chocolate Week” last December, February just feels like the right time to be focused on chocolate.  Goals of the New Year have started to get a little fuzzy, winter has settled in (well at least in most years), and a little bite of chocolate just seems to make things brighter.  Every month is probably chocolate month for the folks at Hersey, but they’ve captured the spirit of things in the their tourism efforts, marketing this as a Chocolate Covered February. If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, check out this list of American Food and Drink Holidays.  A bit much for us, so we’ll stick to a week of various chocolate based Vermont products.

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Welcome to The Sap Bucket, a blog offering daily reviews of Vermont products that are made and found throughout the Green Mountain State. Our goal is to highlight the vast array of delicious items that are grown, brewed, baked and produced here. We are by no means professional writers, reviewers, or producers, we simply trust what our tastebuds and stomachs tell us. If you like what you read, leave us a comment. Thanks for stopping by.

Want to recommend a product or provide feedback directly?  Email us at thesapbucket@gmail.com 

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