Appreciating Local Labors

I grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York, and I make it a point to enjoy all the area has to offer whenever I can. Recently I visited Madava Farms in Dutchess County, the home of Crown Maple Syrup. While there, we toured their state-of-the-art sugarhouse where they bottle organic, pure maple syrup. It is one of the best things I have ever tasted, and weeks later I am still fighting the urge to drizzle it on everything I eat. Find a bottle and add some to your morning coffee, you won’t regret it.

Just when my maple syrup rush was starting to subside, I learned that Crown Maple had teamed up with Newburgh Brewing Company, my favorite local watering hole. Together they have created a new beer: the RiverBREW, a Crown Maple Irish Red. First coffee, and now beer?! Crown Maple knows the way to my heart.

While I especially loved the environmentally conscious and artisanal practices of Madava Farms, I was thrilled to be supporting a local venture. Crown Maple Syrup is currently available in gourmet grocers throughout the northeast and for purchase online. Newburgh Brewing Company Beers can be found in bars and restaurants throughout the tri-state area, and many places offer to fill growlers so you can keep enjoying the fruits of NBC’s labors at home.

I urge you to check out some of the manufacturers in your area. Talk to the proprietors, cheesemongers, brewmasters, flavor experts, etc. and find out exactly where your food is coming from and get to know the people behind the scenes. At Newburgh Brewing Company, the brewmaster and company president can frequently be found behind the bar filling pints and pitchers.

Most importantly, area retailers make these products available to the masses. I always find myself checking out what’s new in the local section of area grocery store, and more often than not, one of those items makes it into my basket. I recommend you do the same, and then follow up with the manufacturers in person. It can be an eye-opening experience.

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