Orvis and Vermont go together. As do Orvis and Land Rover, Land Rovering, Land Rovers,…. you get the idea.
About Madava Farms
I grew up spending summers exploring the woods and groves of my family’s farm in Illinois, so finding a place my wife and daughters could enjoy and call their own was important to me. We scoured the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions for just the right place. From my days at West Point, I was familiar with the Dutchess County area so we focused our search there.
When I first saw this property and it’s wide range of geography, incredible trout streams, forests and fields, and that phenomenal view at the top of the mountain, I knew we had found that place. We had found Madava Farm.
The Muddy Chef Challenge is for Land Rover owners. Land Rovers work best where they were intended – in the wild! We give owners the opportunity to drive vintage and modern Rovers in challenging real-world settings. As such, we take off-road trail use seriously. Our events do not destroy ancient town roads. We don’t pull down trees, or drive off predetermined trail routes. At every opportunity we collect trash and litter.
As a Tread Lightly! member we strive to promote responsible off-road trail usage. We hope everyone who joins our events will consider becoming a Tread Trainer to help spread the word! For more information about becoming a Trainer, click HERE.
World Class Whiskey – From Vermont?
I’ve been writing on wines and spirits for over 15 years, and living in Vermont for even longer, but the two have never had much in common – until now.
Unlike vodkas made from Maple syrup or even lactose (really), WhistlePig, which is bottled on a farm in rural Shoreham, Vermont, is not just another marketing gimmick – according to many critics it is the best rye whiskey in the world.
As I reported recently with the launch of a high-end rye from boutique bourbon maker Knob Creek, super-premium rye is the hot new spirits category. America’s favorite before Prohibition, rye is again all the rage among bartenders heralding a return of classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned. But WhistlePig is almost too good for this, and can be appreciated on its own.
Introduced in mid-2010 and made in very limited quantity (1000 cases), the story behind WhistlePig is unique. Industry legend Dave Pickerell, the longtime Master Distiller for the renowned Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery in Kentucky, decided to devote himself to a quest for the best rye possible, the next evolution of boutique bourbons. He wandered the earth trying rye whiskies, until he found what he considered its finest expression in the form of a new Canadian version, made from nothing but rye grain (law requires the majority of starch to be rye in order to be labeled rye whiskey, just as it requires 51% corn for bourbon, but pure ryes are rare).
For various reasons, including the fact that rye grain is considerably more expensive than corn, but also because a straight rye distillation is very tough on equipment, gumming it up with sticky residue, few distillers have bothered with pure rye whiskey. But the Canadians solved the sticky problem with two solutions, using malted rye and by developing a special strain of yeast-like fungus for distillation (for much more detail on this issue, check out this article from a great site devoted entirely to Canadian whiskies).
So Pickerell teamed up with WhistlePig founder Raj Bhakta, a former contestant on The Apprentice, who purchased a two century old working farm in Shoreham and renamed it WhistlePig Farm and began growing his own rye. Bhakta purchased the incredible Canadian rye whiskey, still in bulk storage, brought it back to Vermont, hand bottled it, and it blew critics away with rave reviews. At the same time, Bhakta and Pickerell, now Master Distiller for WhistlePig, have set up their own distillery on the farm and are working towards producing their rye from start to finish going forward.
But where it is made is not nearly as important as how it tastes.
Pickerell fell in love with the stuff because of its strength, purity (100% rye grain) and maturity – he calls the combination of proof and purity 100/100 and along with 10 years of aging in new American oak barrels, claims it hits “the sweet spot” in all three categories. I think he is right, and the balance between the higher than usual strength, higher than usual purity, and lengthy aging is perfect. It certainly does not taste like 100 proof, or half alcohol, because the woodiness for the aging perfectly balances the strength. It’s got just a hint of herby spice, maybe a little mint or cinnamon, but nowhere as much as many whiskies and less spicy zing than most ryes. Rather it j tastes of grain, its essential component, in a good, earthy, bread-like way, with the caramel-rich mouth feel of well-aged whiskies. I hesitate to call it straightforward, because that makes it sound simple, but its straightforward – it tastes like rye.
I’m not the only one who likes it. When the first batch was just released in mid-2010, it immediately earned a whopping 96-point rating from Wine Enthusiast – the highest rating the prestigious magazine has ever given to a rye. The Tasting Panel magazine gave it 94, and F. Paul Pacult’s acclaimed Spirit Journal gave it the highest possible 5-star rating. Details magazine simply called it “America’s Best New Whiskey,” while the Wall Street Journal named it one of the top five whiskies of the year. There was no shortage of other accolades.
And the odd name? Well to really appreciate that, you have to listen to the funny story in first person audio from Bhakta on WhistlePig’s website, but hey, it’s as good as lots of names, and to go with it, they created a suitable logo which reminds me of the Monopoly board game guy crossed with a pig. If I’m going to buy a $70 bottle of rye from anyone, it’s as likely as not to be a cartoon high-roller pig with a top hat and cigar.
But seriously, as whiskey lovers continue to enthusiastically embrace WhistlePig, there is likely to be a lag between the sellout of the limited first batch and future production, so hesitation might not be the best strategy.
You’ll cover it all at the Millbrook, New York Wingshooting School:
- Basic shotgun safety
- How to mount a shotgun so you will shoot exactly where you’re looking
- How to shoot all types of clays scenarios: going away, crossing, low incomers, singles, and doubles
- Proper stance
- Proper shotgun fit
The Orvis Winghooting Schools were the first of their kind offered in the United States, and for over twenty-five years have offered shooters the finest wingshooting and hunting instruction available anywhere in the world.
The Orvis shooting instructors are consummate professionals who are beside you at every shot quietly analyzing and improving your style.
In addition to firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition, each student participates in classroom instruction on basic shotgun safety, shotshell selection, and shotgun patterning. Students are grouped together according to their level of skill and experience, and treated to a uniquely designed, fully automated instruction area that provides a full array of clay target angles.
The tuition includes a complimentary gun fitting to establish and record individual stock dimensions, comprehensive shooting instruction, all targets and ammunition, lunches each school day, and a copy of the Orvis Wingshooting Handbook. The use of an Orvis shotgun is available at no additional charge if desired.
For more information about Orvis Wingshooting Schools, call Toll Free 866-531-6213
Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge News
For the first time ever. Lime Rock Park is allowing guests to bring their pets. Obliviously the usual common sense rules apply. Vanilla and Brady – my two English Chocolate Labs are howling in delight!
The mission of OutdoorX4 is to promote responsible 4×4 adventure travel along with the utility of 4×4 and dual-sport vehicles to enjoy all forms of outdoor recreation. In essence, we want to help create solidarity amongst all communities of adventure enthusiasts because at the end of the day, enjoying the great outdoors should be a right of which we all share rather than a privilege.
So what makes OutdoorX4 different from other publications? Well, for one our content is a hybrid of all areas of outdoor recreation and adventure. Whether you’re an avid 4×4 adventure traveler, mountain bike enthusiast, camp cooking aficionado, world-class fisherman, dual-sport motorcyclist or weekend warrior, OutdoorX4 is focused on providing the most engaging and unique content to appeal to the broadest range of outdoors enthusiast while providing expert advice in the field, suggestions on places to visit along with an expanded perspective on the history of the areas we travel, as well as dynamic photography that inspires the outdoors enthusiast to choose the road less traveled.
Frank is an avid explorer, adventurer, and advocate of responsible outdoor recreation and off-highway travel. Frank has had the fortune of traveling throughout the world, including destinations throughout North and Central America, as well as across Eastern and Western Europe. When he’s not cycling across Texas on his road bike or climbing in the Swiss Alps, he is touring the backcountry in remote destinations throughout the United States and abroad in his diesel Grand Cherokee.
Frank is the Editor-in-Chief of OutdoorX4. Additionally, he was the Co-Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of JPFreek Adventure Magazine from 2006 through mid-2012 as well as publisher of several industry journals. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his articles on off-highway travel, adventure destinations, and product reviews have been featured in numerous publications. Frank resides in Texas with his family.
With a deep and varied background in business and a nose for keeping work fun while doing what he enjoys, John Herrick publishes OutdoorX4. John makes sure the book gets to subscribers and the newsstand while enjoying as many adventures as possible the rest of the time which also includes producing CRAWL Magazine as well as producing special outdoor events.
He’s been published as both a writer and photographer, an avocation he took up in his late teens.
An avid Jeep owner, John also enjoys desert racing, rock crawling, and other motorsports. With an eye towards responsibility, he heads the CRAWL Trail Foundation which promotes grass roots trail preservation.
John lives in Northern Nevada in the shadow of the Eastern Sierra, with his wife Pam of 30 years.
Phil was born with a determined desire to explore. Whether by Jeep, dual-sport motorcycle, mountain bike, road bike, kayak or on foot, Phil pushes himself to go further and do more. Phil can often be found alone on his adventures as he enjoys the purity of being surrounded by nothing but wilderness. He recently traveled solo on the Continental Divide trail from Mexico to Canada, self-support by Jeep and completely off-highway. Additionally, he has logged over 6,000 miles and numerous legs of the Trans America Trail via dual-sport motorcycle from Tennessee to Oregon, and owns the oldest active geocache in the state of Louisiana.
Phil is an avid endurance cyclist, randonneur, and runner. When Phil is not pushing himself to the limit, he is on a mission to raise awareness for the rare terminal disease his son has called Adrenoleukodystrophy. He has written numerous articles and conducted several interviews regarding his awareness campaign – Expedition Awareness. While his passion runs deep for the great outdoors, it does not compare to that of his family.
Phil resides in Wichita Falls, Texas with his wife and three children.
Jonathan Hanson’s expedition experience encompasses land and sea-scapes from Baja, Mexico to the Beaufort Sea, from the Libyan Desert to the Namib, and modes of transportation from sea kayaks to sailboats to bicycles to Land Cruisers and Land Rovers.
He has traveled among and worked with cultures as diverse as the Seri Indians and the Himba, the Inuit and the Maasai.
Jonathan has taught wildlife tracking, natural history writing, 4WD techniques, and other subjects for many conservation and government organizations. He is an elected fellow of the Explorers Club, and a charter member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. His writing experience spans a dozen books and two dozen magazines, including Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Nature Conservancy, Sea Kayaker, and Backpacker.
Jonathan and his wife, Roseann, are the creators and owners of the Overland Expo, the largest adventure travel event of its kind in the world.
Kraig is a freelance writer and world traveler who covers mountaineering expeditions, polar exploration, adventure travel, and other outdoor pursuits.
He has served as the Media Director for the Primal Quest expedition adventure race and is the editor of The Adventure Blog.
He is a regular contributor to travel site Gadling.com and the outdoor blogs for The Clymb and the Wenger brand. He has also published stories with Outer Edge Magazine, National Geographic Adventure amongst others.
Kraig resides in Austin, Texas.
Wes was bitten by the adventure bug at a young age, spending his boyhood exploring the family farm from sunup to sundown, annual vacations on lonely backroads across the rural South, and dedicating his summers to staff employment at a Boy Scouts camp.
When not on extended paid vacations to Southwest Asia for Uncle Sam, Wes can be found guiding backcountry trips and documenting routes, destinations, and stories in the U.S. and Central America.
Wes is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Central Overland, an online magazine dedicated to vehicle-based adventure travel, and resides in central Arkansas with his wife and two kids.
Mark is an adventurer who was born of, reared by, and educated in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.
He has climbed the walls of Devil’s Canyon, trekked the trails throughout the Rocky Mountains, slept on the ground in most National Parks, rope-swung into a river here and there, driven the back roads of the southwest U.S. and Mexico, enjoyed song and cerveza in the cantinas of the Baja peninsula, and otherwise traveled like a backpacking pilgrim from British Columbia to Peru.
Mark holds a degree in English from Arizona State University; he learned from composition maestros such as Jeanne Dugan, Robert Krut, and G. Lynn Nelson. His work has been published in Overland Journal, Nissan Sport Magazine, Arizona Outdoorsman, and JPFreek Adventure Magazine. Mark and his wife are also the curators of Adventure Parents, a resource focused on the adventures of raising children to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Mark resides in Arizona with his wife and two children.
Alan & Jackie are avid off-highway enthusiasts who have immersed themselves into a lengthy list of outdoor activities, be it land, water, or air.
Their primary recreation vehicle is a Jeep Rubicon and it has traveled all over the continental United States on backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, sailing, and skydiving adventures.
Additionally, Jackie and Alan are professional skydivers and work as instructors at Skydive Dallas in Texas.
You can follow their adventures on their site at Jackie and Alan’s Outdoor Adventures.
Andrea is the better half of our Editor-in-Chief.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Andrea spent her time as a child adventuring while on her bicycle and called the Smoky Mountains her second home.
Andrea is an avid explorer, artist, musician, mother, wife, adventurer, seeker of truth, and on a quest for all things beautiful and good.
The Muddy Chef Challenge could not have happened without the fantastic support of our friends at The Great Mountain Forest. To learn more about this fantastic organization click HERE. To make a donation, click HERE.
Joel E. Bronson
Joel (Jody) Bronson, a fourth generation land manager and forester, began working at Great Mountain Forest as a seasonal student forester in 1976 after attending Unity College’s Forest Technician program. He transferred to Keene State College as an environmental science and geography major and continued his seasonal employment at GMF. In 1978, he began his forestry career under the guidance of then forest manager Darrell F. Russ and in 1990, became forest manager upon Darrell’s retirement.
Jody oversees all phases of forestry operations including timber harvesting, wildlife habitat improvement, road building and maintenance, assisting researchers, and supervising student forestry interns, to name a few. Jody also manages the forest deer population through periodic census and oversees an annual deer hunting program. He is a member of The Society of American Foresters, Connecticut Forest and Park Association and is a Connecticut licensed forester. He is also a professional member of The Forest Guild. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Austin Cary Practicing Professional Award given by the New England Society of American Foresters. This award recognizes NESAF members who have shown exceptional achievement as practicing forest managers.
Jody and his wife Jean, GMF’s business manager and program coordinator, live in Falls Village, CT and have two daughters, Emily and Rachel. Jody’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Russell M. Russ
Russell Russ, a 1987 graduate of SUNY ESF with a bachelor’s degree in forest resources management, began his employment at Great Mountain Forest as a student forester working on the “summer crew”. After positions with the Connecticut Division of Forestry and in the landscape and building construction industries, he joined the staff of Great Mountain Forest in 2001. He holds the position of forester/weatherman and is responsible for recording and monitoring daily weather activities for GMF and the National Weather Service – a position formerly held by his father, forest manager Darrell Russ.
Assisting forest researchers, helping with on-site seminars, mapping and boundary work and timber harvests are just a few of Russell’s daily duties. He is a Connecticut licensed forester and has been a continual member of the Society of American Foresters since 1987. He has been active working with the Exotic Conifer Cooperative and as a Cooperative Weather Observer with the National Weather Service.
Russell grew up in Norfolk and now he and his wife Kim live in Colebrook, CT with their two children, Taryn and Jack. Russell’s email address is email@example.com
BUSINESS MANAGER/PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Jean Bronson, a graduate of Northwestern Connecticut Community College, first worked atGMF beginning in 1984 as a cook in the Yale Forestry Camp kitchen. Through this work, she got to know many of the people who have been involved with the forest over the years.
As Business Manager, Jean handles the GMFfinances, including accounts payable and receivable, the budget and donations. She also serves as Development Director for the corporation.
As Program Coordinator, Jean develops educational programs and workshops for adults and children, recruits teachers and assists in program implementation. She also coordinates special events, receptions and field tours and manages our lecture series with local libraries. Jean maintains our website, writes our e-news and manages our Flickr photo archive. She still occasionally cooks at Yale Camp for a few of her favorite groups.
You’ll often see Jean on GMF’s cross country ski trails or walking her dog Nanook through the woods. She is married to forest manager Jody Bronson and they have 2 daughters, Emily and Rachel. Jean’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wesley “Wes” Gomez
Wes graduated from Salisbury School, then went on to Paul Smith’s college in New York and graduated in 2013. He worked as a GMF forestry intern summers during college, and now has joined the GMF staff. His duties include timber inventory and marking, forest products, and road and equipment maintenance. His knowledge of silviculture and his mechanical ability make Wes a well rounded Forest Technician. He lives in North Canaan on thirty acres of woodland that have been in his family for many generations. Wes loves the woods and anything mechanical.
In this case, good things DO NOT come to those who wait. We are rapidly running out of registration space for the event. Remember registration is free, the event is free too. The only thing you have to pay for is camping fees to Lime Rock park at a reasonable $30.00 per night! Tons of prizes and free swag. Shooting at Orvis Sandanona, beautiful Lakeville, CT location, race cars, Land Rovers, Crown Maple Syrup, what else do you want?
The fine folks at Orvis Sandanona have offered guests and participants the opportunity to shoot sporting clays and spend time off-roading with an instructor at Sandanona.
We have negotiated a $75.00 per person rate. June 6, 2014 – Well, they changed the rate to $100.00 However, the increase includes the gratuity for the coach. As a Ski and Driving Instructor I can appreciate a built in tip. Shooting includes the targets, a Trapper, a fine sporting shotgun and ammunition. That is a serious value! To book your reservation for Friday August 1, 2014 please call Orvis Sandanona at 845-677-9701. Make sure to mention you are a participant in The Muddy Chef Challenge!
Sandanona Shooting Grounds