Bright green sprouts, shoots and baby greens may be the first local produce you look for in spring, but the true first harvest (after maple, of course) has been ripening and sweetening in the ground all winter. The extreme temperatures of our northern Vermont winters convert the starches in the parsnips to sugar and allow the parsnips' flavor to mellow. The result is a magically sweet, tender root. Chefs rejoice when the ground thaws and these parsnips surface - sweet enough for dessert and earthy enough for savory applications. To find local, spring-dug parsnips at a farm near you - look here.
Here's where you can find them on the menu...
Williamsville Eatery, Williamsville VT
"My wife (and business partner, along with our son, Dylan) is responsible for all of the Eatery's desserts. The past couple of weeks have featured her parsnip cake with organic parsnips from our dear friends Dan DeWalt & Marcia Hyland of South Newfane, Vermont. The cake has been wildly popular and sells out quickly.
The cake has over 2.5 cups of shredded parsnips, and uses organic whole spelt flour from Champlain Milling (upstate N.Y.), fresh local eggs, and is very gently sweetened with brown sugar. the top of the cake has "Lauri-foraged" local wild wintergreen berries and their leaves, and a dusting of organic toasted coconut." - Glenn Richardson, Owner
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe VT
The new spring menu at Trapp Family Lodge features, you guessed it, spring-dug parsnips from Jericho Settlers Farm!
Pictured is Chef Cody Vasek's Savory parsnip custard, fresh vanilla, chive blossoms and smoked trout!
Michael's on the Hill, Waterbury Center VT
Chef Michael Kloeti has been patiently waiting for the parsnip harvest from Pete's Greens.
He features Spring Dug Parsnip Soup with House Made Bourbon Bacon & Mostarda on his menu at Michael's on Hill.
Hen of The Wood, Burlington & Waterbury VT
"I am so in love with spring-dug parsnips! They allow me to keep loving my rich root veg dishes while pretending it's spring! Ours are mostly from Jericho Settlers and sometimes from Pete's. In this dish some are roasted and some are creamed with butter - with currants and brown butter crumble" - Eric Warnstedt, Chef/Owner