At the heart of what you’ll experience at Knoll Farm
Food is fundamental to everything we do at Knoll Farm.
Food is the common thread that runs through all aspects of our work: our practice of organic farming, our passion for bringing community together, and our belief in the power of radical hospitality.
Food does more than sustain life. It supports people emotionally, it represents heritage and culture, it brings people together across difference, and it has the power to to connect all of us to the land, to the people who care for the land, and to our ancestors.
Of course, food can also harm. It can be unhealthy, loaded with chemicals and toxins, be too scarce, and be manipulated to make whole peoples and societies ill. We commit ourselves to reclaiming the most positive, regenerative, body-and-soul nurturing power of food. We seek to grow food in a way that builds the health of our land as well as our bodies for the long haul. And we share good food, simply prepared, to bring people together, to nurture well being, and to practice generosity.
To us, food is ceremony. And food is gratitude.
Food at the Refuge Table
When we started holding retreats at Knoll Farm 15 years ago, we challenged ourselves to serve only food that was grown in Vermont. Back then, this was a HUGE challenge. It was one thing to make sure we featured local produce, but it was another to make granola with local oats and oil. So why, you might ask?
Because we get to support our farming neighbors. Our food has fewer miles to travel so it is fresher, and uses less fossil fuel. It keeps us creative. It tastes amazing.
Come to a workshop, retreat or fellowship at Knoll Farm, catered by our chefs, and you will experience meals at one big long banquet table that are delicious, creative, simple and healthy – featuring our own organic produce as well as local meats, cheeses, grains and fruit.
We are not esoteric about food. We believe in making beautiful, in-season versions of classic dishes from many cultures that anyone can make at home. We are also happy to accommodate special diets, and to share with our guests what we know about nutrition, medicinal herbs and organic growing.
Other Food Events
Most simply, almost every day in July and August, you can come to our farm and pick your own fruit. Being in the orchard with kids, elders and loved ones is an uplifting, peaceful and delicious way to spend part of a day. Some visitors say it’s the highlight of a stay in the valley.
On Sundays we make treats in the outdoor wood-fired oven, and on other occasions we offer pizza or simple picnics under the cottonwood tree. Finally, our Kebab Night dinners are a spectacular way to experience the variety of food that we grow right here on the farm– including Icelandic lamb, lots of produce and herbs and a variety of heirloom fruits – as well as our beautiful setting. Check our Public Events page for these offerings each summer.
Finally, you can plan your own dinner or special retreat! We have chefs who will help you make it extraordinary.
In the Heart of Food Tourism
The local food movement in Vermont has been a huge success. Just in our own rural valley we can buy cured butter, incredible cheese, cured meats, stone-ground tortillas, bread made with locally grown grains, cider vinegar, craft beer and countless other foods that we couldn’t find locally before. Small diversified farms are thriving, and Vermont is now known as a food destination.
Below we have put a little directory together of all the incredible places you can visit nearby if you come and stay with us. We are in the ideal location for a retreat that features local food, craft beer, and organic farms.
Recipe of the Week
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 8 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 3 to 3 1/2 pounds ripe peaches
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (packed) light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
- Prepare the crust: Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse the machine on and off to combine. Add the butter and shortening; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add the ice water, pulsing the machine on and off, until the dough holds together. Divide the dough in half and form into 2 disks; wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or overnight.
- Butter a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate. Remove one disk of the dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to form a round, 1/8-inch thick and 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Work quickly so that the dough doesn’t become sticky. Using a spatula to help lift the dough, fold it loosely in half and then into quarters. Gently transfer it to the center of the pie plate. Open up the dough and press it lightly in the plate to fit. If the dough should tear, just press it lightly together. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Place in the refrigerator to keep cold.
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Remove the other disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out the same way; transfer to the baking sheet and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Place in the refrigerator to keep cold.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Prepare the filling. Using a paring knife, cut an “X” in the bottom of each peach. Drop the peaches into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove to a bowl. When they are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Cut the peaches into 3/4-inch slices and place in a large bowl. Toss with the lemon juice to prevent discoloring.
- Add the blueberries, vanilla, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the flour; toss well.
- Lightly brush the bottom crust all over with the egg white; spoon in the filling and dot with the butter.
- Cut the top crust into strips 3/4-inch wide and make a lattice cover over the filling. Trim the overhang to 1 inch. Moisten the edges of the crusts where they meet with a little water, then press them together lightly and turn them under. Crimp the edges decoratively.
- Brush the lattice crust and the rim with the cream. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake until it is golden and the juices are bubbling, about 50 to 60 minutes. If the top is getting too brown, tent the pie with foil after about 30 minutes. Let the pie cool on a wire rack before serving.
Create your own food tour
Some of the farms and food producers we most admire are doing incredible work right a few miles from us. You can take tours, learn about craft beer, sample local cheese, and eat at restaurants growing some of their own food. For local-food restaurants check out American Flatbread, Mad Taco, and Worthy Burger. At times you will see Knoll Farm lamb and berries on their menus.
Sample craft beer at Lawson’s Finest Liquids; taste award-winning cheeses and artisan meats at the Taste Place, take a tour of a hydroponic and organic farm at Hartshorn Farm and find many more incredible food creations at the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market every Saturday from May to October.
By joining our community, you become part of the story of this land.
Be the first to know when the berries are ripe, workshops are scheduled, or leadership fellowships are announced.