Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marion Lajoie

After 4 days of rigorous hiking and eating from Ziploc bags we exited the Long Trail and began our 5.5 mile road walk to Richmond, Vermont. Not knowing what we would find there our road songs turned to the theme of food and dreams of club soda under the hot Vermont sun. When we did (finally) arrive and after a big hand from Mama and Papa Bower we were guided to the beautiful Marion Lajoie (pronounced LaJoy). Her home: a 100 year old two story house with a huge vegetable garden and bunches of onions and garlic hanging in the garage. Her: an spunky and spry octogenarian, Army veteran widow, mother of four Grandmother to 9. Us: Stinky, sweaty, hungry and tired backpackers plus Earl the dog. We gingerly knocked on her side door. She greeted us warmly, looked us over and said "Alright! You can come on in...Earl too!"
After she accepted us and Earl (she’s not a dog person but later in her words claimed she "fell in love") Marion walked us through her home, pointed out the bathroom, and our bedroom, but we were too busy looking over her carefully placed mementos, marveling at the layered wall paper and linoleum flooring which crackled under our tired feet. We then paid her a modest accommodation fee and off she went (leaving us alone in her house!). To gather as she put it "supplies". The next morning we awoke to a scrumptious breakfast of eggs, thick slabs of ham, toast, tomatoes and homemade preserves. Full and content we praised Marion for her warm hospitality and tried to figure out our ride back to our friends house. While Shane helped her hang laundry (always the helper and asked her if there was anything around the house she needed help with…) I worked out a ride with my Friend A; she would be there in about an hour. Upon this news Shane immediately became disappointed, "But Marion needs help picking blueberries!" How could I deny that? So off we all went (Earl too!) in Marion's little car (with her blueberry picking outfit on and buckets of course) to Owl’s Head Farm. We helped her pick 9 quarts of the fattest most delicious blueberries EVER. While Earl barked at the piped in raptor sounds to keep the birds away. After picking we returned to the house and Marion immediately bagged her blueberries and placed them in the freezer, for eating throughout the year. She then asked us if we knew how to make stir-fry. S of course nominated me and after two weeks and 5 days of not touching food I was honored. Post with photos and Zucchini Lunch a la Lajoie recipe below…

We spent our day in Richmond wandering, discovering and eating. We explored many unique nooks and met many folks in the short amount of time in this small suburb 12 miles east of Burlington. Who knew that our road walk would lead us to such an amazing place? Thank you travel Gods! What we found:

On the Rise Bakery We could have eaten EVERYTHING here, but decided on the Nasturtium flower Pesto pizza...they also had the most beautiful veggie garden planted right in front of the bakery. Freedom and Unity FarmThese kind boys entertained us and our questions about their farm. And watched Earl while we explored the Round Church across the street...We wish you the best of luck!
Old Round Church
Who can resist a round church?
Nitrate free summer sausage...why did we not buy more???AND Marion Lajoie is a force…thank you for a truly magical experience.
iphone photos by shane...