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Celebrating Local Charcuterie at Swift House Inn

July 10, 2024

At Jessica's at Swift House Inn in Middlebury, local flavor is always in season. This summer, they're celebrating cured meats from nearby Monti Verdi Salumi on a new charcuterie board offered at the restaurant.

"Stefano of Monti Verdi came to our kitchen to give us a tasting of their wonderful salamis and cured meats," says Chef Rob Fenn, Executive Chef at Jessica's at Swift House Inn. "He shared stories about how the recipes were handed down from friends and family back in Italy. So we wanted to try a rotating cast of salamis, instead of sticking with the same ones. We feature the prosciutto on the charcuterie board and wrapped on our scallops." 

Stefano Pinna and his partner Alessandra Rellini have their own farm, Agricola Farm in Panton, where they raise the pigs for Monti Verdi Salumi. Both Stefano and Alessandra are originally from Italy (Torino and Lake Como, respectively), and bring Italian tradition to their farming and curing practices.

"It's cured in a very authentic way," Fenn says. "We love the lonzino for its prominent nutmeg and black pepper spices. I like how it contrasts with the Salame Aromatico and its fennel flavor. So our charcuterie boards will feature any of these and maybe some other kinds, too."

Photo courtesy of Agricola Farm

Swift House Inn's partnership with Monti Verdi Salumi and Agricola Farm is just one of the many ways they work with local farmers and engage in Vermont's thriving local food system. As a Gold Barn Member of Vermont Fresh Network, they spend at least 35% of their annual food purchasing budget with local partners. They have partnerships with many other VFN member farms and producers, including Boyden FarmButternut Mountain FarmCabot CreameryChamplain OrchardsEllison Estate VineyardGolden Russet FarmGrafton Village CheeseLedgEnd FarmMad River DistillersMaple Meadow FarmMisty Knoll FarmShelburne Farms, and more.

"As the executive chef at Jessica’s, I’m continually striving for culinary excellence," says Fenn. "Local farms, especially Elmer and Golden Russet, are our logical partners in putting the best quality product on our plates. They strengthen us with their outstanding, consistent produce, and we strengthen them by supporting their farms. It’s mutually beneficial. Also, it’s more sustainable to source locally. When we import produce from California, it takes a lot of energy to get the produce here. We’d rather work with local organic farms when we can."

Seasonality is central to Chef Rob's approach to Swift House Inn's culinary program and menus, and he prioritizes working with what farms have available at any given time. "I see what the local farms have available and make creative culinary decisions around that, instead of requesting the farms and producers to make something that I have in mind. Because if the farmers are not growing it already, there’s probably a reason why, like it might be disease or pest prone. I trust their decisions and create from there." The menus change frequently to suit the season and make use of the freshest ingredients.

This summer, Jessica's at Swift House Inn is generously donating $1 from the sale of each Vermont charcuterie board in support of our programs and mission to strengthen Vermont’s food system. Stop by the restaurant to give it a try!

Photo credit: Jeremy Thomas

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