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Welcome to Massacheesetts: Cricket Creek Farm

Behind the charming wood doors at Cricket Creek farm is the home of a herd of around 30 grass-fed Brown Swiss and Jersey cows. Though it wasn’t always so – 60 years ago, the 500-acre farm was home to an industrious 300 milking cows and a large, grain based operation. Between 2001-2004 the Sabot family purchased the land and instituted a more animal friendly and environmentally friendly farm. With assistance from cheese consultant Peter Dixon of Parish Hill creamery, they developed their first cheese recipe for what would become Maggie’s Round.

On the most upper left corner of a map of Massachusetts you’ll find Williamstown – part of the Berkshires, and the home of Cricket Creek farm. Down a long dirt road, past fields of rolling pastures, and a view of the Berkshire mountains in the distance – you may see some cows grazing the fields, and watch out for chickens – there’s a farm open to exploration. Other than cows and chickens, Cricket Creek is also home to a few pigs, named Ophelia and Lady Macbeth.

The Cricket Creek farm store is open to the public from 7am-7pm, 7 days a week. It runs off the honors system, but staff are usually nearby to help, whether they’re working in the office, making cheese, or washing dishes. The store not only houses the artisan cheeses that we at AP know them for, but also: raw milk by the glass jug, Sidehill yogurt, and beef and pork products from the animals they raise.

Teri Rutherford is Operations Manager and comes to the farm by way of an Americorps position that helped her discover her passion for farm managing. She realized she loved the work and connecting to a specific farm would also use her experience with engaging communities, event planning, and outdoor recreation.

“Our mission is to produce nourishing food that honors the animals with respect to the community. We also want to be an example of sustainable small farm viability,” Rutherford said. “Bringing people here allows them to see what we’re doing, see how we’re treating our animals, and see how we’re making our quality food products.”

For fans of the farm that don’t have the resources to make it out to the Berkshires very often, they can track goings-on through Instagram and Facebook. “We have people making trips out to the farm because of seeing us on Instagram, it helps get the word out there and build a fan base and share what we’re doing,” Rutherford said.

However, realities of small farm life can be lost in translation through social media. “We romanticize the farm and therefore other people do that. I think that people understand that farming is hard work but I don’t think that people fully understand the financial struggle that small farmers go through. They see the beautiful pictures of where we are and the animals that are super happy and healthy and we care for them deeply. But we’re on razor thin margins here,” Rutherford adds. “The other aspect is that it’s not all happy animals all the time; there is a lot of death in farming and we don’t post pictures like that.”

For the conscious consumer, these facts are disheartening but it all the more makes us appreciate the sacrifice of the animals and the people who care for them, who milk them, and yes, send them to slaughter. It’s difficult, but it’s part of what makes a farm tick. At Cricket Creek, usually less than half of the herd is for milking, and a lot of their calves end up going for veal. Their cheeses use veal rennet – and have very few other ingredients. A by-product of the cheese-making is whey, which is fed to the pigs. The pigs also act as natural trash eaters, as they also get any cheese and other products that are not quite fit for human consumption. Like most farms, they also compost and spread manure to keep the grass growing so that the cows can keep eating.

To help keep those razor thin profit margins at bay, the cheese makers work year round. In the wintertime, they feed the cows baleage (pronounce bay-ledge), which comes with it’s own quirks in it’s effect on cheese development. Baleage is fermented hay. It makes winter milk higher fat, and lower yield.

Calista Tarnuskas is one of those cheese makers that stays hard at work. She says, “We do have issues with it sometimes in our raw milk cheeses. There’s a lot of variation in the bales, so if you get a bad one it can seriously affect the flavor, or even the smell.” There are ways it can be finessed. Tarnuskas said, “It’s definitely good to make a washed rind cheese or anything that does well with high fat in the winter.”

Tarnuskas has worked as a cheesemaker since 2009, and started her career at another local farm we know and love, Lazy Lady goat farm. “Recipes are like an ongoing endeavor for cheese making,” She said. “We write it all down and have make sheets so I know the lot number of the culture and how much I used – exactly.” She logs the temperature, time, and PH, so she can track the tweaks she makes with the resulting cheese.

Another big draw of the farm is the newly renovated barn that sits right between the beautiful overlook of the mountains and the farm store. Cricket Creek, with the help of a 2014 Kickstarter campaign, got the barn renovated for events and weddings. Though it’s another source of revenue for the farm and it doesn’t magically solve financial struggles, it is helping them to more securely break even.

Cricket Creek farm fills their corner of Massachusetts with community potlucks, letting the public see the daily ins and outs of their operations, and all the work that maintaining a farm requires. It’s hard to explain or pinpoint what makes them do what they do, but it is most soundly a labor of love for all that are involved. The rewards may not manifest themselves in actual riches, but the quality of their cheese is certainly indicative of how much care and heart they put into their operation.

All pictures and words by the author.

Bantam Cider: An Apple a Day…

Tucked on a tiny side street about a five-minute walk from the heart of Somerville’s Union Square is Bantam Cider. Thankfully, signs mark the way in, as it is an industrial-style space that might otherwise shy away the less adventurous. It is here that Bantam conducts their production facility Monday through Friday, churning out unique and delicious ciders that they distribute throughout Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York City, Chicago, and Massachusetts. Lining the outer wall, big steel drums hold huge batches of their flagship ciders, awaiting canning. Oak barrels are pushed against the back wall, aging experimental batches within. A worker precisely handles an interesting filtering device that looks like a bunch of folders in need of filing. But this space isn’t purely production – Bantam is an urban facility, but they also function as a taproom on weekends. Which is why much of that equipment sprawled out in the space by day is on wheels — it gets rolled away to make room for an urban cider oasis.

Manager Christina Bencivenni is my guide, and serves me up a cider in a tulip shaped glass. I choose “Hopped Scrumpy,” due to the description that includes Mosaic, Amarillo, and Centennial hops. Coming from someone who has been more on the cider & sour train as opposed to the hop hype, I find it delicate, refreshing, and palate pleasing. For the last three years, Bencivenni’s been Bantam’s sales manager and has been in the interesting position of seeing not only Bantam grow, but also witnessing the shift in the increasing involvement of women in the micro-brewing workplace. Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva are the founders of Bantam, and according to Bencivenni, “to say they are involved is the biggest understatement of the century.” She goes on to say, “They’re the hardest working women I’ve ever met and they’re pretty inspiring with how dedicated they are to the quality of our product.”

After five days of full-time production and getting product out to distributors who will then get them to the consumers, you’d think they’d want to take a break, right? Nope; at 5 p.m. on Friday when most Bostonites are heading home for some R&R, Bantam is setting up their taproom. They move out the equipment and move in the tables, complete with jars of complimentary pretzels. Guests can grab a draught for $6 or a flight of 5 for $10, and enjoy a free tour while there. I assumed Bencivenni was exaggerating when she said Masterpolo and da Silva “literally live here” but maybe she isn’t so far off.

If you live in Boston and are interested in cider, or know someone who is, you may be able to recognize Bantam’s cans on sight. The sharp design and bright, primary colors draw your eye. It’s simple, but chic. The transition to cans, like many other local producers, was a no-brainer. They’re easily transportable, suffer from less light pollution, and are better for the environment. If you can’t get to the taproom, these are a great option for you to enjoy the cider. But if you can – go growler! Or should I say, growlette -not only are the glass 32 oz bottles adorable, they also have several other uses – water bottles, flower vase, spice storage – the list goes on. Not to mention, these mini growlers open the possibilities to sampling every kind of cider that Bantam offers without fear of waste.Perhaps the best thing about the wide variety of Bantam’s ciders is that you can find a unique cider to pair with almost any of your favorite cheeses. Check out some of our favorites below.

Pairing Possibilities

Wunderkind
Crisp, clean, & bubbly due to sparkling wine yeast and a touch of flower blossom honey.
Pair with: local VT brie Jasper Hill’s Moses Sleeper or french triple cream Delice de Bourgogne

Rojo
Tart and semi-dry fermented with an ale yeast, sour cherries, and black peppercorns.
Pair with: ash ripened goat cheese Ruggles Hill Brother’s Walk

The Americain
Liquid apple pie. Still dry but slightly sweeter than the rest with rose petals, green cardamom, coriander, clove, and cinnamon.
Pair with: Parish Hill’s cider washed Hermit or Daphne’s Snowy Cheddar

Find the three aforementioned ciders on our shelves at AP, or head to the taproom at 55 Merriam St in Somerville for Hopped Scrumpy and more.

All pictures and words by the author.

Claire Cheney’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Note by the author:
This interview with Claire Cheney from Curio Spice Co. will be the first
in a series of a spotlight on woman owned & operated businesses.

Curio Spice Co. is a tiny spice shop owned by Claire Cheney on Mass Ave in Cambridge. Just down the road from Davis & Porter Squares, it has a sanctuary-esque feeling. An avid traveler and collector of curiosities, Cheney has a way of blending both spices and ambiance. Old fashioned looking instruments, animal skulls, and a copy of the Drunken Botanist frame her spice blend and salt offerings. Curated to be an aromatic experience, each shelf has a row of clear jars so you can see and smell the spices. It’s one thing to talk the talk of being a small sustainable business but she really does walk the walk – 99% of the spices on her shelves are fair trade, organic, and/or from small sustainable farms.

Cheney grew up in Massachusetts and spent an impressionable part of her childhood in a shipbuilding town on the coast of Maine. She credits her first solo-abroad trip to Ghana as one event that spurred her interest in botany. She says, “People don’t have access to western style doctors, so there’s a lot of tribal medicine and using the plants in their environment, and I was curious about that.”

Curiouser and curiouser….

She went on to study at Oberlin, a small liberal arts college in Ohio, where she majored in creative writing and environmental studies. As far as her studies contribution to her business acumen, Cheney attributes more the critical thinking and creative skills she acquired at school with bringing her success than her actual degree. She jokes, “I sometimes will mix it up and say I was a creative studies major, cause it sometimes felt like that. Very, very interdisciplinary.”

At Oberlin, she worked as the Local Foods Coordinator at an 800-person food and living co-op. That meant she traveled to Amish farms in Ohio to source vegetables and eggs direct from the farms. Being a woman, the farmers would not make eye contact when she spoke to them, and would only speak to the male she was working with. Also impactful was her senior thesis on wild foods, which started as a project on the wild blueberry industry in Maine, but expanded wildly. She talks about interviewing Alice Waters as part of her project, who is a proponent of the slow food movement, food activist, and all around badass; as I would talk about meeting Beyonce (but with less hyperventilating). She credits her project as being very beneficial to defining her passion for local, organic, and sustainable food practices. You can tell she’s brought her interests full circle: she informs me of her newest spice blend offering named Herbes de Romance contains wild oregano from her folk’s farm up in Maine.

Cheney’s current business model is fashioned around becoming a certified B Corp, short for benefit corporation. A benefit corporation has a mission statement that goes beyond just profit. Other businesses that have achieved B Corp status include Kickstarter, and Cheney’s friends at the company Susty Party, who sell compostable party supplies. To be certified, you need to create a set of achievable goals to fulfill your mission, which vary depending on the business. Curio Spice Co.’s mission is rooted in environmental responsibility and gender equality.

Cheney points out, “it’s a little bit tricky for consumers, because there’s so much language on packaging. Whether it’s organic, now it’s non-GMO, there’s fair trade, then there’s words like sustainable and natural.” As more and more people are becoming aware, “natural” is often used to make a packaged food seem less processed – that doesn’t mean it’s true. While for-profit corporations only have a responsibility to how they can achieve financial success, B Corps also consider environmental and social factors.

If you look closely at the label, you can see the silhouette of a bear. That, according to Cheney, is because bears are super sniffers. After a little bit of my own research, I discovered bears have a sense of smell seven times greater than that of a bloodhound. That, together with Cheney’s affinity for perfumes gives an inkling as to how much sourcing spices direct has to with picking up scents. “It’s a similar process to spice blending, using your nose and finding cool combinations. I’ve studied some natural perfume and it’s helped develop my sensory abilities.”

Cheney has put those sensory abilities she’s gained to work; she seems to always be going on spice hunting trips, her latest of which being a vanilla quest in Madagascar which you can read about in her new blog post. Her social media accounts certainly capture her passion for spices and are a wonderful way to feel like you’re on an adventure right alongside her. As she says, “I think it makes people enjoy the food more when you have the story behind it.”

As for her spice blends, they are very exact, “down to the gram,” Cheney assures me. Her scales also have to be certified by the city because of weights and measures regulations. When I was considering Curio, and wondering about, of all the things I could ask Cheney, about her cool products and amazing travels, the phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts” by Aristotle came briefly to mind. When I asked Cheney if she agreed with that assessment, she said, “That’s what’s cool about blending – and you could say the same about cooking. When you combine certain things and it creates a balance, it transcends all the individual ingredients.”

Some of Claire Cheney’s favorite flavor combinations:
Southeast Asian: lemongrass, makrut lime, and long pepper
Greek & Mediterranean: Oregano, saffron, lemon, and thyme

Find Curio Spices at American Provisions in the spice section.

All photos and article by Hillary Anderson.

April Beer & Wine of the Month Club

Spring is finally here, but it has not been an easy journey. The length of this winter has been brutal, not only on our cars and commutes, but also on our spirits. It is time to shed layers and sit outside in the grass or maybe even by the ocean! With spring comes fresh possibilities and rejuvenation. What better way to celebrate spring than with beers & wines chock full of bright flavors that will awaken our senses from their long winter slumber??

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With spring comes plans for patio sipping, picnic basket vinos, & all around outdoor drinking. We are craving sunshine to drink rose in, warm temperatures to cool off with crisp whites, & fresh foods to pair lively reds with. We’d like to believe that this box has met all of these expectations and more. We showcase two domestic superstars, who give their foreign counterparts a run for their money. As well as a classic Italian red with fruit that is begging to be shared and paired. The wine box will help you welcome spring with all the excitement and finery that it deserves.

To commemorate the bizarreness that was this winter and the transition into spring, we found beers that are a little out of the ordinary. These beers are invigorating for sure, but they also put your senses to the test, making sure you are fully awake and ready for this season. Lingering flavors of smoke and funk are a common theme, melding alongside of a whole bunch of tartness and fresh citrus!

The Libations

Siren Craft Brew Collaboration Limoncello IPAFrom three different breweries, this collaboration beer has bridged the divide between beer and liquor. Siren Craft Brew in the UK has called upon gypsy brewer Mikkeller from Denmark & Vermont local Hill Farmstead Brewery, to rethink the classic Italian beverage, Limoncello. Wanting to recreate the bright lemon citrus flavors & smooth mouth feel of Limoncello, this trio put the base beer through a 24 hr sour process, after which they added lactose for sweetness. Aggressive dry hoping of Sorachi Ace & Citra hops gives the beer its carbonation & skunky hop bitterness. This daringly citrus beer is begging to be sipped outside under the sun, but watch out for the carefully disguised alcohol percent. ABV {9.1%}

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Dollnitzer Ritterguts Original GoseA traditional German style beer, goses have been brewed for over a thousand years, originating in Goslar, Germany. This is a top fermenting beer; brewed with coriander & salt, as well as lactose bacteria that is added after the boil. With the rising popularity of the sour movement, the gose style is seen more frequently, but as the name states, Ritterguts’ Gose is an original; a solid example of the gose style that you will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Funky notes of mildew & sea salt will greet your nose upon opening this bottle. A hazy golden pour will boast flavors of lemon, herbs, & toasty grains. Low alcohol & funky tartness will certainly win you over, if the reliable balance & complexity of German brews hasn’t already! ABV {4.2%}

Birrifico del Ducato Brett Peat DaydreamYou might think you’re dreaming when you sip this concoction from the Italian microbrewery Del Ducato. Get your taste buds ready to be seriously confused, as well as delightfully surprised. Daydream is a mix of three different brews: a peated barley style ale, a rauch marzen partially aged in Scotch whisky barrels, & a Brett fermented ale. With that many factors coming into play, it is amazing how wonderfully balanced, complex, & simply tasty this beer is. On the nose there is smoke from the peat, funky earthy spice from the Brett, & a curious musky scent. From the first sip to the last there is a continuous collision of sour & smoky, tart & sweet, & fruit & funk. This is seriously one of the strangest beers we have ever come across, but we love it!  ABV {7%}

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Teutonic Sprockets White 2014From Portland, Oregon we have a white blend consisting of 50% Scheurebe, 25% Huxelrebe & 25% Pinot Noir. Teutonic Wine Company is the successful result of an intrepid couple, Barnaby & Olga Tuttle. Inspired by Riesling wines from the Mosel region, the Tuttle duo took the leap to start their own vineyard in Oregon in 2005, in order to recreate their beloved Germanic wine styles but with expressions of the local terroir. The long & cool growing season in Portland gives a great complexity to Teutonic’s vines. Complex & full of rich minerality, Sprockets will enchant you with fruity notes of orange zest, apricot, & spice all wrapped in a honey like texture.

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Matthiasson Rose 2014We couldn’t not include a rose in the wine box this month, as come spring, so comes ROSE season! Our shelves will soon be overflowing with rose wine, but this enticing bottle is in a class of its own. Matthiasson vineyard out of Napa Valley, CA is a family business run by Steve & Jill Klein Matthiasson & their two sons. With their sustainable approach to viticulture & traditional wine making methods, they have created some of the most graceful Rhone style wines in California. Their rose is a classic Rhone blend of grenache, syrah, mouvedre, & counoise. From this barely pink wine floats wispy notes of grapefruit & white peach, before washing over you with delicate acidity, bright floral blossom flavors, & a refined elegance. You don’t need sunshine to enjoy this gem, but of course we won’t say no to some rays.

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Cantina Del Clicine La Dormiosa 2008Rounding out the wine box, we wanted to find a red that would mirror the fresh possibilities that spring brings, as well as pair deliciously with our April offerings. A classic Italian grape, Barbera D’Alba is excellent for pairing with a wide range of food. From the small town of Neive, winemaker Roberto Bruno has created a Barbera that is vigorous in flavor, dry, & pleasantly tart. Following old local traditions, Cantina Del Clicine adds about 10% of Nebbiolo grapes to the Barbera during fermentation. This mellows the wine & enhances its bouquet. By law, the wine is aged at least one year, and we think this 2008 vintage still has enough bouncy fruit to find a place in your picnic basket.

The Snacks

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Neattle Meadow Three Sisters“Happy Goats. Great Cheese!” is the slogan on Neattle Meadow Farm & Artisan Cheese’s home page. We’d have to assume that the goats out there in Thurman, New York are mighty happy, because they do indeed make some killer cheese. In the case of this cheese, the cows & sheep must be livin’ it up as well, in order for Three Sisters to be made. This multi-milk soft cheese has a fresh & complex flavor profile, a bloomy rind texture, & is perfect for spring time meals. Crumble this cheese on a salad to liven up your lunch or spread it a baguette while you sip on the Limoncello IPA!

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Jacobsen Salt Co. Smoked SaltTo counterbalance the bright citrus flavors from the wines & food in this box, we decided to treat you to a more savory option. From the cold waters of Oregon’s coast, this pure sea salt is harvested by Ben Jacobsen, the proprietor behind the Co. The salt is slowly smoked over Oregan Cherrywood. This provides the petite chunks (and whatever you sprinkle it on) with an incredibly rich flavor. Embrace the inspiration that spring brings & pair this smoky salt with something tart or citrusy! Perhaps a lemon & smoked salt haddock is in the future for your summer menu. Or maybe some fresh slices of melon wrapped in prosciutto would beg you to sprinkle some Jacobsen salt on top & enjoy!

Bonnie’s Jams Raspberry Lime RickeyAnother great example of opposites melding into perfection comes in a jar of Bonnie’s Raspberry Lime Rickey jam. Locally made over in Cambridge, the raspberry lime rickey expertly marries the sweetness of raspberries with the tart bite of limes. Bonnie Shershow has been jammin since she was a little girl who helped her mother pick a plethora of fruit from around her home in Southern California. Her love for jams & preserves only grew as she traveled the world tasting different fruit concoctions from places like France, Peru, & even Shanghai! Bonnie suggests making breakfast smoothies with the Rickey jam or throwing it into the mix for an exciting mojito! She also loves to pair her jams with cheeses & we think that this jam with Three Sisters cheese (and Teutonic Sprockets?) would be a combination that Bonnie would approve of.

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Call the store at (617) 269-6100, email us at info@americanprovisions.com, or ask a staffer for more information on signing yourself or someone you love up for the Beer or Wine of the Month Club! 

Running On MEMTea

I have to admit something. It’s a fact about myself that I don’t willingly share because of how often it is received with stares of distrust or questioning of my sanity. But in order to write this post I have to be honest, so here goes:

I don’t like coffee.

Phew, OK, I said it. I know what you’re thinking, how can I work at American Provisions and not like coffee?? It’s true, we are well known for our coffee program at AP, and I, like anyone else, receive great joy after foaming the perfect latte or pulling a beautifully timed espresso shot. It’s also true that when my boss found out about my aversion to coffee, he might have seriously contemplated firing me on the spot. I know you all love coffee and I support that! But I am here to stand up for the underdog of hot beverages, the too often forgotten and sidelined drink: tea.

triptychTeas

Chamomile flowers, Moroccan Mint, & Rooibos Decorated                              [photo by Caley Mahoney]

At American Provisions we strive to sell quality products, which is why I can confidently begin my defense for tea with the strong example of MEM Tea Imports. Locally based in Watertown, Massachusetts, MEM Tea has been providing high quality loose leaf tea to restaurants & shops since 1999. We sell a wide selection of their teas, many of which they custom blend to create unique interpretations of the varieties they import from major producers like China, Japan, India, & the Middle East. The MEM teas that we sell come packaged in elegant tea tins, each with an explanation of the type, as well as essential information like optimum brewing temperature and time for each tea. Continue reading

Grillo’s Comes to AP / AP Goes to Grillo’s

photo-41A long time ago, before restaurant menus started boasting brine in every appetizer, before the food world fell mouth-over-heels for pickles (and before Portlandia made fun of us for it), Travis Grillo had a crazy idea.

In 2008, the founder of the now-ubiquitous Boston-based pickle company had just endured a rather involved interview process for a job at Nike when the pickle idea came to him. Nike narrowed it down to just two candidates, and when they chose an inside guy, Travis gave the corporate world the proverbial middle finger and decided to start selling pickles out of the back of a wooden cart built by his cousin Eric. Continue reading

An Ode to Sodium

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Ok, real talk—does anyone actually know if salt is bad for us? Supposedly it increases blood pressure, which apparently leads to a slew of health problems that do not sound fun. But I swear I read something recently about how it isn’t that unhealthy. Or that our risk of high blood pressure is predetermined at birth. Or that you’d need to eat Burger King two meals a day to be in real danger—not exactly cause to worry about how much finishing salt you sprinkle on your organic veggies.

Whichever one of those theories is true (…if any), we are hanging our hats on it. Because here at AP, we really like salt. Like, are stupid smitten crazy about the stuff. The crystalline white flakes top two items on our sandwich menu, we got Night Shift Brewing to put our name on their salted beer, and some of us have even been guilty of crusting lunch-time tomatoes and avocados with it (if it doesn’t crunch, it’s not enough). Lately, we’ve been bringing in way more fixes for the sodium fiend than just your standard granules. On our shelves right now, you can find products as varied as candy & ice cream, cookies & chocolate bars, beer & bagel chips that all boast a salt-centric agenda. Continue reading

Let’s Be Frank—AP’s Got Everything Your New England Bun Needs This Summer

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

photo (2)My first summer at American Provisions, I attended a friend’s 4th of July barbecue. There were several kinds of hot dogs there—pork, beef, mixed, meatless—and the Niman Ranch Fearless Franks I brought from AP.

When it came time for everyone to throw their dogs on the fire, the others didn’t undergo much transformation from the pinky plastic appearance they’d had in their packaging. You knew they were done when they were too hot to touch, or had faint grill lines on them. The Fearless Franks, however, plumped up to at least double the size of all the others, and acquired a sizzling brick red sheen and crackling char that glistened in the sun and made the whole backyard smell rich & beefy. I’d only brought one pack of four, but the whole party was trying to get a bite of these enormous grass-fed franks. Continue reading

Pickle Me This

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You may notice something different next time you bite into one of our Italian sandwiches–something tart, vinegary and full of bite! As we relish any opportunity to create sandwich ingredients in-house we’ve started up our own pickling program turning baby cucumbers into the perfect pickle overnight with a little help from our girl Martha Stewart. Her recipe of course- but hey Martha if you’re out there feel free to stop by! Now I love pickles- so much that you’ll often hear me advise my fellow coworkers “A pickle a day keeps the doctor away!” Although no one should take my advice as I’m not a licensed professional. So in order to achieve the perfect trifecta of crunch, brine and tang I decided to do get some inspiration from the makers of Sour Puss Pickles. These people know there stuff since pickles are their bread and butter! Continue reading

The 2013 American Provisions Entertaining Guide

So you’re hosting Christmas this year. The tree is trimmed, holiday playlist synced up and you’ve even found that burning Yule Log channel on the TV. But while you and your elves are hard at work dressing that holiday roast, you’ll need something to satisfy those grumbling bellies between the heated rounds of Yankee Swap. Here at American Provisions, we always have visions of cheeseboards dancing in our heads. Not sure how to put one together? That’s okay—with our help you’ll be a cheese wiz in no time. Continue reading

Boston’s Coffee Down Under

image-1If you’ve noticed something different about our coffee the past few months, let me just say—you’re not crazy. We have made a few changes, and the trio of aficionados you have to thank for that are micro-roasting all of our beans right around the corner in Dorchester, Massachusetts at Flat Black Coffee. Continue reading

A Jack of All Trades, A Brewer of Beer

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Every Brewmaster Jack tap handle is branded by hand (Photo courtesy of Tyler Guilmette)

Remember visiting your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ home? Exploring the dark, dank basement, the heater hissing like a demon? This is just how brewer Tyler Guilmette remembers visiting his great-grandfather’s house in Vermont. He later found himself home-brewing out of a similar environment, no longer feeling the dread of walking down the dark staircase but instead descending into a habitat perfect for brewing beer. It’s funny that 80 years apart, Tyler has found himself brewing in a similar basement as his great-grandfather Jack used to, unbeknownst to Tyler at the time.

As an homage to his family connection with brewing, Tyler, the true brewmaster of Brewmaster Jack, named the company for his great-grandfather. At 25 years young, Tyler is now brewing, marketing and distributing his beer around New England. Though he acknowledges that he has a lot to learn, Tyler uses the skill sets of his generation—single, no kids, no mortgage—to put his all into Brewmaster Jack. Continue reading