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Fall 2012 a publication of the Merck Forest and Farmland Center

“Teaching, demonstrating, and sustaining a working landscape” In This Issue page 1

Boosting Sustainability at MFFC with all things mushroom: a look at growing, restoring and building with mushrooms By Sue Van Hook

Boosting Sustainability at MFFC with all Things Mushroom 2012 Sheep Dog Trial & Farm Festival Sponsors

page 2 Note from the Director’s Desk Perspectives from 2,000 Feet

page 3 Plein Air Artist Paints at Merck Forest Thank You Summer Volunteers

page 4 Intern Corner: Fledgling Recipe from the Lodge: Pork Stew Now at the Visitor Center

pages 5 & 6 Order Form for Merck Meat

page 7 About Us & Memberships

page 8 Fall Calendar Merck Forest & Farmland Center 3270 Route 315 PO Box 86 Rupert, Vermont 05768 p. 802.394.7836

www.merckforest.org

Sue Van Hook, mycologist, gave the keynote speech at Merck Forest and Farmland Center’s annual meeting this year. She provided an overview of mycoforestry, mycofiltration, mycoagriculture and mycoproducts, explaining ways in which the Kingdom of Fungi naturally enhance the growth of forest trees, agricultural crops, and filter farm waste. Van Hook also suggested species of fungi to grow for the farmer’s markets and for sustainable practices at MFFC. In addition to supplementing forest and farm soils with mycorrhizal fungi to boost yields through a symbiotic plant/root association, Sue described how fungi could easily restore vegetation within one year, which could stabilize the logging roads created during on-site timber harvests.

The truly interesting part of the talk began when Van Hook spoke to the audience about mycoproducts grown to replace plastic foams. In her role as Chief Mycologist at Ecovative Design in Green Island, NY, Sue has cultured wood-decomposing strains from the wild and brought them into the lab for testing growth on numerous agricultural crop wastes. These particular fungi are responsible for degrading cellulose and lignin. By using agricultural waste as food for the fungi, Ecovative is able to grow the mixture into any shape. The company has already replaced polystyrene foam protective packaging for companies such as Dell, Steelcase, Puma and Crate & Barrel. MFFC could ship its maple syrup in Ecovative’s 100% homecompostable EcoCradle® packaging, a more sustainable alternative than currently used recycled foam peanuts. Merck Forest looks forward to trying this material soon! On a side note, Executive Director Tom Ward asked Sue if mycoproducts could solve porcupine damage to the cabins and outhouses on the property. Tom set out a dozen samples of Ecovative’s replacement for medium density fiberboard in April, and to date the porcupines have left them alone. It is the hope that one day, a new cabin can be built entirely from mushrooms!

2012 Sheep Dog Trial and Farm Festival Sponsors The 2012 Sheep Dog Trial and Farm Festival are right around the corner! Merck Forest would like to thank the following companies for helping support this two day event, which will be held on September 8 and 9, 2012. For more information on the trials and festival, please check out our website: www.merckforest.org. Hope to see you there!


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2

Note From the Director’s Desk

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By Tom Ward, Executive Director I’ve had the opportunity to work on The Lodge and Viewpoint Cabin over the last few weeks. The trim and soffits on The Lodge are now scraped, caulked, and painted, and the shingles, stairs, and latches have been repaired or replaced at the Viewpoint cabin. In the midst of the sweat and labor, I found the most striking part of the experience to be the solitude. Given time and awareness, you can feel the pulse of life around you. The breeze moves through the white spruce plantation, white throated sparrows make their plaintive calls as they forage, while monarch butterflies cruise over milkweeds in the “hundred acre meadow”.

I encourage you to visit and see for yourself the progress the staff, interns, and volunteers are making on improving the access to our 3,100 acres in the Taconic highlands. In the past three months we have benefitted from having over 80 volunteers donate more than 500 hours clearing roads, making new trail treads and working in the Visitor Center. Conservatively, this gift is worth more than $5,000. The positive energy and substantial progress are self-evident to me, but there is no substitute for experiencing the benefits of this labor of love. If you become inspired you can even opt-in as a volunteer yourself. I acknowledge that I have a rare privilege in working here, but you also have an opportunity to partner with us and share the journey. However you choose to partake of what we have to offer, I look forward to seeing you here. Peace, Tom

Teachers get their feet wet as they test water quality at Birch Pond during a weeklong course in place-based environmental science education.

Perspectives from 2000 feet By Sarah Ullman, Director of Education Venture past the barns, the wind turbine and the blueberries and you’ll be at 2,000 feet, the highest point on Stonelot Road. Standing here, you find your place within the Taconic Mountains; your role within green grasses pouring into green trees and green, rolling hillsides. Here, you stand at the top of two watersheds. Rain falling slightly to the east will flow down into the Mettawee River, and if it falls slightly to the west, it’s bound for Mill Brook. Given Vermont’s dense forests it’s often hard to visualize how water flows across and through the land. Standing in this spot, you get a rare perspective and new appreciation of how earth and water work together to shape our landscapes. This past July, Dr. Tim Schroeder of Bennington College and I co-taught a week-long course called “Methods in Place-Based Environmental Science Education” for teachers. On the first day, we armed these teachers with topographic maps of Merck and set out on Stonelot Road to explore this watershed perspective. The conversations and insights that followed provided a powerful context for investigations we conducted later in the week. As we tested water quality, gauged stream flow, cracked open rocks and dug soil, we connected back to a greater understanding of Merck’s physical resources and how they have influenced humans’ relationship with the land over time. This course was offered as part of a Math and Science Partnership grant through the Southwest Vermont Curriculum Coordinators’ Collaborative, and participants earned 3 graduate credits from Castleton State College. Teachers joined us from Rutland, Dorset, Poultney, Arlington, Castleton, Fair Haven, South Hero and Swanton.

Two members of the 2012 Trail Crew for Teens learned to use a cross-cut saw to remove downed trees that blocked sections of Lourie and Beebe Pond Trails. Group members spent five days using hand tools to do trail clean up this summer.

As a follow-up to this course, teachers are tasked with developing their own place-based investigation to use with students in their school or out in the community. In early November, we’ll come back together and teachers will have the chance to share, and reflect on, these lessons. My hope is that the time they spent studying Merck’s landscape, as a student, will continue to encourage them as teachers to explore new perspectives on the environment and humans’ place within it, now and into the future.


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Plein Air Artist Paints at Merck Forest By Melissa Carll, Education Apprentice When the spring leaves were just beginning to give a hint of their brilliant green to the hillsides at Merck Forest, nationally-renowned painter George Van Hook was capturing their color on canvas. For a week in early April of this year, MFFC was proud to host the famous American Impressionist painter. By day, George set up his easel and canvas at various locations around the farm, including the trees, pastures, Harwood Barn, and the Sap House as the objects of his work. In the evenings, he enjoyed being on the property, and his nights were spent at the Barn cabin. Visitors and staff alike were interested in Van Hook’s work; at times it was all activity—the flurry of his paint brushes reproducing the landscape before his easel; other times he would stand and chat for a while before returning to work. George returned this past August for several days to finish painting landscapes around the farm, excited to be able to take advantage of cooler weather and clear vistas off toward the Adirondack mountains. He will return once more in September to paint several woodland landscapes as well.

Top: George Van Hook steps back from his easel for a moment, as he paints a view across Old Town Road pasture. Bottom: One of Van Hook’s finished paintings, representing the south view of the Frank Hatch Sap House. This painting will be displayed during the exhibit in October.

During the first visit, Van Hook painted seven landscapes, which, together with the August and September works, will be shown at an art exhibit at the Frank Hatch Sap House on Saturday, October 6th, 2012. Reception will open at 5pm and last until 7pm. All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served. Proceeds from event go towards MFFC school programs, which are free through 2012.

Thank You to our Summer Volunteers Merck Forest would like to applaud the hard work and dedication of our volunteers from this past summer. Names listed below are both long-time and new volunteers, school groups and individuals. Each person is indispensible in helping Merck staff with trail work, farm work, improvements to our facilities, and maintenance. Thank you all! Bedford High School Bennington College Bennington School Burr & Burton Academy Castleton State College Bruce and Marion Carll Tyler Dallas Ria F irth Ed Griffith

Logan Long Trail School

Maple Street School

Margaret Mertz Larry and Pam Newcombe

Paul Smith’s College Devin Straley Trail Crew for Teens 2012 Allie Wildman

Top left: Bruce Carll (pictured) and Marion Carll helped the staff pick raspberries for the Dorset Farmers Market in late June. Top Right: Devin S. spent over forty hours rehabilitating trails with Trail Maintenance Coordinator, Chris Wall. He earned his own hard hat for all his work. Bottom: Larry Newcombe drove his horse team this spring to plow ground for our potatoes, and this summer to spread manure over the hayfields.


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Merck Forest and Farmland Center is

an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. We also offer recreational opportunities for individuals and families, encouraging people to become good stewards of the land. Donations are appreciated and members are encouraged. Kathleen Achor

Bob Gasperetti

Jon Mathewson

Judy Buechner

Bambi Hatch

Axel Neubohn

Donald Campbell

Richard Hittle

John Pless

Sue Ceglowski

Anne Houser

Liz Putnam

Ann Cosgrove

Emily Hunter

Bob Taggart

Ed Cotter

Ann Jackson

Patty Winpenny

Bob Ferguson

Deirdre Kinney-Brennan

Hint: This origami swan flies over a “ridge”.

Board of Trustees Axel Blomberg

Victoria McInerney

Jean Ceglowski

Margaret Mertz

Phil Chapman, Treasurer

Bruce Putnam

Austin Chinn, Vice President

Madeline Rockwell, Secretary

Jeromy Gardner

Phil Warren

Gerrit Kouwenhoven, President

Corinna Wildman

Visit us online:

Staff

Chris Wall, Trail Maintenance Coordinator

Vance Griffith, Resource Technician

Tom Ward, Executive Director

Tim Hughes-Muse, Farm Programs Manager

Summer Interns

Annette Nielsen, Communications Director Dan Sullivan, Assistant Farm Manager Sarah Ullman, Director of Education

www.merckforest.org

Follow us on:

Melissa Carll, Education Apprentice

Kathryn Lawrence, Assistant to the Director

?

Answer: Folded swan hangs in window at Ridge Cabin. Photograph taken through glass with fall foliage reflected in the background.

Advisory Council

is h t is e r e Wh

by Aaron Lamp PhotographPhotograph by Jennie Nichols

About Us

Member benefits include:

Jeff Anderson Julietta Cole Christine Gall

RidgeLine layout, illustrations, and graphic design by Melissa Carll

20% discount on cabin rentals and camping 10% discount on Merck’s Certified Organic Maple Syrup 10% discount on select Visitor Center merchandise 10% discount on workshops Copies of our seasonal newsletter, the Ridge Line

Membership at Merck: Join or Renew Today! Please fill out and mail: Merck Forest & Farmland Center PO Box 86, Rupert, VT 05768

Please, help us continue to serve our mission of teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. As a member, you support our educational programs and maintain over 3,100 acres of land and 36 miles of trails. Thank you for your help!

Membership:

$50.00

Date: Title: Name(s):

Additional Contribution:

Address: Total Amount Enclosed: Payment: Cash/Check/Visa or MasterCard Card #: Signature:

Electronic Copy: Exp:

Email: Phone:

yes/no


Intern Corner

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4

Fledgling By Julietta Cole, Summer 2012 Intern

Having finished a thorough mucking of the box stall in the barn this morning, I was about to design a new paddock for the horses when Jeff, my fellow intern, mysteriously motioned me into the pig barn. Intrigued, I crossed the threshold into the dim coolness and was about to ask what was up when Jeff pointed to a dark corner. Huddled there was a small mass of grey emitting soft, poignant peeps. Slowly and gently, Jeff curled his fingers around the bird and held it aloft for me to see. It was a young pigeon barely old enough to fly, its slatecolored head still bearing several tufts of yellow down. I was delighted when Jeff passed it to me - to hold such a delicate creature! Cradling it gingerly in my cupped hands, I could feel it shivering, its small, racing heart beating persistently against my fingers. I examined its smooth feathers, its scaly, reptilian legs, and its sharp, protruding beak. These are just the features that endear me to the chickens: such parts that seem so juxtaposed on a creature so awkward to behold. Yet when this pigeon learns to fly, I thought, it will stun the earthbound with its aerial grace. At that moment, I noticed a toddler and her mother walking towards me on Stonelot road. What a perfect opportunity to share Jeff’s discovery! Since he had gone back to work, I greeted them myself, pigeon in hands, and crouched down to the little girl’s height. Her sweet face brightened with wonder and happiness at the sight of the fledgling. I let her touch its soft back and taught her not to ruffle its feathers by stroking it from head to tail. She was so enthused about the bird that she insisted her grandmother, who was bringing up the rear, come and see. I am always overjoyed to see children excited by wild things just like I was when I was their age. I only hope that nature will continue to play such a role in the education of children despite the trends towards technology and sedentary activities indoors. After the family had moved on to another source of wonderment, I took the fledgling back into the pig barn and released it onto a ledge on the far wall, away from the pig pen. The pigs are notorious for munching on baby birds particularly barn swallows - who do not yet have a means for escape, for they are voracious omnivores. I watched the nervous pigeon for a few minutes as it adjusted to the footing on the wood. Hopefully it would figure it all out: how its wings worked, how to forage for food, how to find shelter and eventually a mate. Leaving the barn, I bid it well then went off to eat my lunch.

ip c e R

e

Pork Stew with Apple Cider and Maple Syrup contributed by MFFC member Katharine Wall

Ingredients:

1 lb. pork loin, cut into 1 inch cubes 1 TBS oil 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 TBS maple syrup

1 cup apple cider ½ cup water Salt & Pepper to taste 1 tsp. crushed marjoram 2 TBS flour ¼ cup water

Directions: 1. Brown pork in hot oil in Dutch oven. 2. Remove pork from pan and set aside. 3. Add onions and garlic, sauté till soft but not quite browned. 4. Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup to deglaze pan. 5. Return pork to pot; add 1 cup cider, water, and seasonings. 6. Simmer 1 -1 ½ hours till meat is tender. 7. Combine flour and remaining cider to a smooth paste. Add to liquid for gravy. Stir till thick and bubbling. 8. Serve with noodles or potato pancakes.

Now at the Visitor Center New ornaments are a perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas this year. The wooden decorations include maple leaves, cows, tracks (pictured), as well as moose, dragonflies, snowflakes, painted designs and more. They are handmade in Middlebury, Vermont from tiger maple ($3.00 - $8.50).

Don’t forget to order some of our Certified Organic Maple Syrup for you or friends and family. Great on pancakes, as a substitute for sugar in recipes or in your coffee. Liter size available in glass containers! The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook is also available in the Visitor Center ($2.50).


Order Form

Whole or Half Lamb New this season: customers can pre-order lamb meat from our farm! The farm will send the lambs to market at the end of September. Customers can expect a hot hanging weight between 35 - 50 lbs for the lambs. One lamb should yield about 20 lbs of meat, depending on your butchering preferences.

Please fill out information:

Lamb is sold at $8.50 per pound hot hanging weight, plus a $60.00 processing and handling fee. Merck Forest asks for the handling fee as a deposit (please send in with this paperwork). After processing, we will inform you of the total charge, which can be delivered upon pick-up. Forms are also available in the Visitor Center, or at www. merckforest.org. You can order online or through the mail.

Address:

Date: Name: Email: Phone: Deposit enclosed: y/n

Cash/ Check/Visa/Mastercard

CC number:

LOIN (choose 1 option)

SHOULDER (choose 1 option) option one

option two

option three

option one

option two

option three

chops thickness: 1” 1 1/2” other:

roast

ground meat

rack of lamb (bone-in roast)

boneless roast

loin chops thickness: 1” 1 1/2” other:

LEG

SHANKS (check to include in order) foreshanks

(choose 1 option)

option one

hindshanks

option two

whole roast

half roast

Where does that meat cut come from?

bone-in

bone-in

semi-boneless

semi-boneless

picnic

sirloin

ck

leg

loin Boston butt

ne

Different meat styles are cut from various parts of a pig or lamb’s body, and a customer’s butchering preferences determine which cuts are available, especially for orders of a whole or half pig. loin

ham flank

spareribs bacon

hindshank

rib

shoulder

breast foreshank

jowl

Diagrams illustrate which areas on the animals the different meat cuts are taken.


Order Form

Whole or Half Pig New this season: customers can order a whole or a half pig from our farm! The farm will send the pigs to market in mid-September. Pigs typically dress out at 180 lbs hot hanging weight. Customers can expect 140 lbs of pork depending on butchering preferences. Pork is sold at $5.50 per pound for whole or half pig (hot hanging weight), and there is an additional $85 processing and handling

Please fill out information:

fee. Merck Forest asks for the handling fee as a deposit (please send in with this paperwork). After processing, we will inform you of the total charge, which can be delivered upon pick-up. Availability is limited. Please send in order prior to September 11, 2012. Orders will be available for pick-up at the Visitor Center the last week of September. Forms are also available in the Visitor Center, or at www. merckforest.org. You can order online or through the mail.

Address:

Date: Name: Email: Phone: Deposit enclosed: y/n

CC number:

Cash/ Check/Visa/Mastercard

BELLY

FRONT SHOULDERS half pig (choose 1 option from this column)

whole pig (2 options, 1 from each column)

picnic ham

picnic ham

or

and

1 large roast or

2 smaller roasts

or

ground meat

boston butt and

1 large roast

or

2 smaller roasts or

ground meat

option one

whole rack baby back ribs

whole rack baby back ribs

boneless loin - whole

and

whole tenderloin or

boneless loin - whole

or

or

or

or

or

or

2 loin roasts boneless cutlets: cutlets per package 4 8 12 boneless chops: thickness of chops 1/2” 3/4” 1” chops per package 2 4 6 8

or

or

option two

whole rack meaty spare ribs

or

option three

smoked bacon

1 large roast

2 smaller roasts

2 smaller roasts

ground meat

ground meat

(2 options, 1 from each column)

option one

or

whole rack spare ribs and fresh pork belly

or

whole pig (2 options, 1 from each column)

half pig (this column) whole pig

and

option one

boston butt and

and

1 large roast

LOIN

whole tenderloin

or

half pig (1 option from this column)

2 loin roasts boneless cutlets: cutlets per package 4 8 12 boneless chops: thickness of chops 1/2” 3/4” 1” chops per package 2 4 6 8

option two

option two

whole loin cut into bone-in chops thickness of chops 1/2” 3/4” 1” chops per package 2 4 6 8

whole loin cut into bone-in chops thickness of chops 1/2” 3/4” 1” chops per package 2 4 6 8

option one

SAUSAGE/GROUND PORK

whole rack spare ribs and fresh pork belly

Ground pork amounts vary option depending on other cut choices, whole rack meaty spare ribs two and pig size. Half pig averages 7.5 lbs of ground meat, and one package option of the below choices. Whole pig smoked bacon three averages 15 lbs. with combination of below choices. Specify amounts. hot italian fresh ground mild breakfast sweet italian chorizo sausage pork sausage sausage ground lbs. ground lbs. ground lbs. ground lbs. ground lbs.

BACK LEG half pig (1 option from this column) option one

1 very large leg roast (12+ lbs.) fresh smoked

option two

2 leg roasts & 1 hock fresh smoked

option three

leg steaks & 1 hock fresh smoked thickness: 1/2” 3/4” 1” steak quantity: 2 4 6 8

option four

all ground

whole pig (2 options, 1 from each column) option one

option two

1 very large leg roast (12+ lbs.) fresh smoked

2 leg roasts & 1 hock fresh smoked

option three

leg steaks & 1 hock fresh smoked thickness: 1/2” 3/4” 1” steak quantity: 2 4 6 8

option four

all ground


PO Box 86, Rupert, Vermont 05768

Daily Activities

Printed on 100% recycled paper

Sheep Dog Trials, Sept. 8 & 9 Saturday & Sunday, 8am-4pm Sheep Dog Competition 8am-4pm Sheep Dog Trial Open Competition Noon & 2pm Young Dog Demonstration 4pm-5pm Nursery Class Competition (Sat. only)

Farm Demonstrations

11:30am & 1:30pm Blacksmithing (times to be determined) Sheep Sheering

F iber Arts Demonstrations

All Day: Spinning, Weaving, Carding, Skirting & Knitting

Farm Games & Activities All Day: Potato Printing and Wagon Wheel Weaving 10:30am Penny Hunt (10 and under) 12:30pm Sack Races (10 and under) 3pm Egg Toss (10 and under)

Fall Events & Workshops Here are a sample of Merck Forest’s fall events and workshops. For a more detialed list about daily and weekend activities, please check our website, facebook, or twitter.

Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden September 15th, 1pm-4pm Join former Skidmore professor and local mycologist, Sue Van Hook, for a hands-on workshop to make your own oyster, shiitake and wine cap spawn, bags and logs. Please register. $35/person and $50/couples

George Van Hook Open House October 6th, 5pm-7pm Plein air artist, George Van Hook, will show his American Impressionist style landscape paintings of Merck Forest. Reception will be held in Frank Hatch Sap House. Open to all. Light refreshments will be served. Proceeds benefit MFFC’s school programs.

Ridgeline Fall 2012  

MFFC's quarterly newsletter has articles detailing current, upcoming and past events; educational articles; apprentice updates, and more. R...

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