Resorts Join Local Farms to Cook up the Vermont Ski Burger

By AlpineZone News |
Dec 10 2007 - 11:56 AM

MONTPELIER, Vermont — Ski Vermont, The Vermont Ski Areas Association will partner with the Agency of Agriculture and the Vermont Beef Producers Association to spice up resort’s menus with local beef; aptly named the Ski Vermont Burger.

Available in the restaurants at Bolton Valley, Jay Peak, Okemo Mountain and Stowe Mountain Resort, the Ski Vermont Burger marks the first junction of the state’s beef industry with the ski resorts. The Buy Local movement is not just a matter of business; it is by the demand of tourists and locals alike.

Bolton Valley’s Executive Chef Andrew J. LaHaye offers a down-to-earth menu cultivated from the farming roots of the rural community. He is more than happy with the resort’s inclusion of the Vermont Ski Burger. “We are lucky to finally support a high quality driven product, local beef on a year round basis,” he said. “It supports local farmers and gives back to Vermont; it’s a home run.”

The business of beef, however, is important to Vermont’s economy. Known for its dairy and pastoral scenery, the agricultural landscape is as much of a staple to Vermont’s tourism as its ski culture. Vermont Beef Producers Association represents more than 200 families. There are 1,000 beef producers in Vermont??”ranging from two to 2,000 head of cattle.

Compared to massive cattle farms, the beef industry in Vermont is small. It is local and committed to a high end product that just tastes better. The farmers, resorts and their respective chefs welcome Vermont locals and vacationers to taste the difference. “I am excited about the Vermont Burger program for a number of reasons. First, the beef producer is being paid a premium for a product that would normally generate a lower commodity price. Second, the animal and the resulting product stays in Vermont instead of being shipped out of state for processing and utilization in a chain restaurant,” said Guy Crosby, President of the Vermont Beef Producers Association. “Third, and most important, the consumer can identify where the burger came from. This beef will have a different flavor due to its grass based diet. Overall, this program enables the consumer to buy local and taste the benefit.”

Beef operations preserve farmland and barns??”maintaining the historic beauty and legacy of Vermont. Support for a “Ski Vermont Burger” means consumers are contributing to the local farm economy.

Okemo Mountain Resort Executive Chef Michael Breen has been dazzling diners with his culinary creations for more than four years. “Cooking with fresh ingredients makes a difference in taste and presentation,” Chef Michael Breen said. “Not only does it enhance the visitor’s experience of the area to sample local foods, it also supports local agriculture and the way of life that makes Vermont so appealing to our guests in the first place.”

Support of the Ski Vermont Burger keeps more acreage in agricultural use and will reinforce to the consumer they are eating fresh quality food produced nearby the mountain.

“Jay Peak has always been a partner of the Vermont agricultural community through its support of the dairy industry,” Bill Stenger, President of Jay Peak said. “We’re eager and excited to support beef farmers through this program and we use Vermont homegrown products whenever and wherever possible.”

To signify its authentic local beef, the Ski Vermont Burger will be distinguished by a handcrafted wood pick created by Vermont wood manufacturers, with the message “Buy Local” and “Ski Vermont.”

Look for more resorts to carry the Ski Vermont Burger in the future and please visit for updates. Photos are available and of course, bon appetite.