Mead on the rise in bucolic Vermont

Vermont is known for its gorgeous scenery, great skiing, small population and very little government involvement in residents' lives. That tends to make it the sort of place that attracts, or holds, people with a do-it-yourself attitude.

Take what some of them do with honey, for example. The Vermont Beekeepers Association estimates there are 1,200 beekeepers tending 9,000 hives that produce 700,000 pounds of honey a year. That's a lot of honey to use in cooking and as sweeteners and toppings, so there is plenty left over for other purposes. Take mead.

Yes, the favorite of the Middle Ages continues to thrive in some areas. Rather than being simply an oddity produced by the occasional winery, in Vermont it's a growing field of endeavor.

As reported by the Vermont Times-Argus newspaper:

"Before the French chemist Louis Pasteur, there were the gods, and the mysterious means of turning honey into wine was seen as a gift from the heavens. Long-ago English speakers, both enamored of and bemused by the act of fermentation, dubbed the process simply 'god is good.' ...

"In Vermont, mead makers, from amateur home brewers to small-scale commercial producers, are experimenting with the age-old elixir, adding a touch of Green Mountain flavor.

"It's part of a recent renaissance for the brew, says Todd Hardie, owner of Honey Gardens in Ferrisburgh, which produces raw honey, mead and other natural honey products. In a climate ill suited to grapes for wine and barley for beer, mead — like Vermont cider — holds a particular appeal."

[Go here for the full story.]

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