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Recipe: Curried Parsnip Soup

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes, Taste of the Landscape No Comments

Curried Parsnip Soup
Serves 6
Jason Tostrup, executive chef at Epic Restaurant, Okemo Mountain Resort, has fond memories of childhood in Minnesota, when his mother would prepare her favorite buttery mashed parsnips. In his own professional kitchen, he enjoys parsnips for their versatility from raw to cooked and their ability to complement a wide range of flavors. In this soup, their woodsiness is underlined subtly with rosemary and then warmed up with curry and pepper sauce. The unexpected drizzle of another sweet spring celebrity, maple, balances the heat nicely. The oven method takes a bit longer than stovetop simmering, but is completely hands-off. If you want to get outside for the day, Tostrup suggests putting everything in a slow cooker on low for 4 to 6 hours until parsnips are tender.
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  1. 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  2. 1 medium leek, white and light green part sliced lengthwise, then into half-moons and thoroughly rinsed
  3. 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  4. 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  5. 1½ pounds parsnips, trimmed and peeled (or scrubbed well if skin is not too thick), sliced 1-inch thick
  6. ½ to 1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce, 
such as Tabasco, to taste
  7. 1 4-inch sprig fresh rosemary, tied in cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter
  8. 1½ teaspoons medium-hot curry powder
  9. 2 tablespoons butter
  10. ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  11. ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  12. 5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, preferably low-sodium
  13. For garnish: maple syrup, fried parsnip chips (see notes), snipped chives
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large baking dish or Dutch oven, combine onion, leek, garlic cloves, chopped tomato, sliced parsnips, hot-pepper sauce, rosemary bundle, curry powder, butter, salt and pepper.
  3. Carefully pour 5 cups broth over vegetables.
  4. Cover tightly with lid or foil. Bake about 75 to 90 minutes until parsnips are very soft. (Alternatively place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until parsnips are soft.)
  5. Remove foil or lid and cool for 30 minutes. Remove rosemary bundle and set aside.
  6. In small batches, ladle vegetables and broth into a blender. Leave center of blender lid off and cover opening with a wadded dish towel. Start blending on low and increase speed gradually until very smooth. Pour puréed batches into a soup pot. Once all is puréed, squeeze any liquid from cooled rosemary bundle into soup.
  7. Whisk to combine and thin with a little more broth if desired. Adjust seasoning with additional salt, touch of curry powder or more hot sauce.
  8. Warm through over medium-low heat and serve topped with a drizzle of maple syrup, snipped chives and parsnip chips.
  1. Slice very thin rounds of parsnip and fry them in equal parts butter and olive oil until golden brown on both sides to make parsnip chips.
  2. Photo by Ken Burris.
Adapted from Execuitve Chef Jason Tostrup, Epic Restaurant, Okemo Mountain Resort
Adapted from Execuitve Chef Jason Tostrup, Epic Restaurant, Okemo Mountain Resort
Vermont Life Magazine

The Popolo Impetus | Why is Bellows Falls buzzing?

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Entrepreneurs, Taste of the Landscape

Photographed by Daria Bishop.

Gary Smith likes to talk about connections. As a prolific music producer who helped shape the rise of alternative rock in the ’80s, working with such artists as the Pixies, Throwing Muses and many others, Smith’s solid connections allowed him to uproot his business from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and move it in 2002 to Bellows Falls. The one-square-mile village of about 3,500 residents on the Connecticut River was not an obvious location for a commercial music studio, but it appealed to Smith. “Bellows Falls is a town of connections,” he said, “where river meets train and train meets road. I just fell in love with that.”


Popolo means “people,” and the restaurant’s owners have worked to create a social hub where everyone feels comfortable.

Bellows Falls also captivated Smith in other ways. “It has the most beautiful architectural collection,” he said, referring to the Italianate, Romanesque and Queen Anne buildings that radiate out from an extra-wide Main Street called “the square.” Dating back to the paper mill boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s, these buildings earned the downtown a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, but they also serve as time-worn symbols of yet another New England mill town struggling to reclaim economic vitality. Even that challenge proved a draw for Smith. “There is community zeal here, a core group of people who each in his or her way is bringing the arts and artisanal work to this community to give it new life,” Smith said. “It’s small enough where you can make a difference.” He set up a music venue and recording space in a roomy corner of the Georgian Revival–style former Windham Hotel and got down to work with artists like Natalie Merchant and Juliana

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The Awakening | A young Vermonter sees the family business 
in a new light

Written by Vermont Life on . Posted in Entrepreneurs, Taste of the Landscape

This article appears in the Spring 2015 issue of Vermont Life magazine. To enjoy more Vermont stories and photographs each quarter, consider subscribing to Vermont Life.

Editor’s Note: Maddie Baughman, an 18-year-old senior at Harwood Union High School, was asked as part of her college application process to write about “an event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.” Though never intended for publication, her essay came to our attention at Vermont Life, and, with Baughman’s permission, we chose to share it with our readers. 

Click play to hear the author read her essay.

By Maddie Baughman

Many 13-year-olds are mortified if their parents so much as get out of the car to pick them up from soccer practice. After all, parents ruin the illusion of independence. When I was 13, my dad would pull up in a 25,000-pound, iguana-green hook truck, filled to the brim with foul smelling, steaming cow manure. As much as I tried to pretend that my parents were mere accessories to my independent life,

Maddie Baughman at her family business, Grow Compost, in Moretown. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur.

Maddie Baughman at her family business, Grow Compost, in Moretown. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur.


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