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Best five things to buy at Log Cabin Farm Stand, Eastham, MA!

July 25, 2019

Log Cabin Farm Stand, Eastham, MA

Next time you visit a farm stand, try playing a little game. Rank the top five items! You’ll feel more mindful of the freshness of the food. You’ll probably notice a few items you might overlook if you just rush through your visit.

It’s fun! I make a farmstand5 ranking for every stand I visit. Here are the five best things to buy at a quaint, roadside farm stand in New England! Today I poked around the Log Cabin Farm Stand in Eastham, Massachusetts, a little more than half way up Cape Cod.

#5 Fresh (and cheeky) corn on the cob

Yes! Fresh corn season arrived. Notice the cheeky sign above the corn. In New England, we pull off the husks, boil it for about half an hour, then eat it right off the cob. My friends from France always thought it was so funny. Guess they always cut the kernels off first. How do you eat your fresh corn?

#4 Assorted potatoes

Love the colors. What a beautiful potato salad these three kinds of spuds would make! It makes me want to chop up some celery and pickles for a potato salad tonight. Oh yeah, gotta have pickles in my potato salads!

#3 Adorable, colorful cherry tomatoes!

The Log Cabin Farm Stand only had two little containers of these brightly colored rainbow cherry tomatoes left by midday! Guess everyone wanted a fresh, tomato salad side dish with dinner tonight. There was a big container of fresh-picked basil to slice up and add to the tomatoes, a little sea salt on top, yum!

#2 Seasoned firewood

Firewood is just one of those special farm stand finds I had to highlight here. At $10 per bunch, they’re a good money-maker for the farmers. Plus, everyone loves a bonfire on a cool summer night. In Eastham, you can wake up early (I mean E-A-R-L-Y) and wait in line for a permit to make a bonfire on one of the National Seashore beaches! Makes for an amazing night, staying warm by the fire, watching the seals swim by.

#1 Handturned wooden bowls

A local, Cape Cod tree cutter turns his extra wood into handcrafted bowls. So beautiful. I held each one and looked closely at the different grains. A tag on every bowl identified the species of wood. The fourth one in – the one with all that grainy character – lives in my kitchen now.

A quick preview of Apple season before you read on…

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Best 5 items at the second oldest farm in the US

Field View Farm est 1639 Orange CT

November 15, 2018

Field View Farm, Orange, Connecticut
established 1639

Wow, that’s old. I hope my favorite local historian finds his way to this article.

As far as I can tell, Field View Farm is the second oldest continually-operating farm in the US that is still held by the descendants of the original owner, Thomas Hine. Incredibly, the 12th or 13th generation of the Hine family is running it today.

When a farm is this old, the claim that it is the second oldest American farm comes with some caveats. There are older farms in the US, but most of those farms are no longer in the hands of the original family or had interruptions in farming operations over the years. The only older operating farm I found is Shirley Plantation in Virginia established 1613, which is still home to the relatives of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate General who surrendered to end the American Civil War.

Back in Connecticut, Field View Farm is a gem. I pray that it does not change hands or fail in our lifetimes. Please go buy some milk or some transportation services.

Wait, why transportation services?

In 1996, there was a devastating fire at Field View Farm. I was just a teenager then, but I remember the fire. They never really restored the historic main barn back to it’s prior glory, too expensive. Instead, in addition to the farm stand, ice cream shop and milk production, the Hines’ put increased effort into a transportation equipment company.

Field View Farm barn Orange CT

Field View is picturesque but not beautiful or pristine. If you are looking for a perfect, Martha-Stewart-lives-here farm, you won’t find that level of pristine glory at working farm like this one.

What you will find are cows. Sometimes, I drive around the corner and see the cows in the field as the sun sets behind the trees in the distance. It’s a beautiful scene. I find it hard to look away, but I have to because, no driverless cars.

When we bring our kids to Field View for ice cream in the summer, they like to walk down past the cow stalls to see all the animals. And, I am reminded that cows scare me. They are enormous. They don’t look that big when they are moseying through a field. But get up close, and you realize just how easily they could crush you.

There are lots of other cuter, cuddlier animals at the farm. When I was about eight years old, I got two little kittens from Field View, Snowball and Bubblegum. Yes, that’s right. I even get my kittens from farm stands.

The Hine Farm a.k.a. Field View Farm preexists the towns that sprung up around it. Here’s a map of Orange, CT, in 1858. Oh man, I love old maps. Look to the left, above the oval labeled Grassy Hill, between the Y in Derby and the W in Woodbridge, you’ll see a dot for A. Hine’s farmhouse. All of the surrounding land belonged to the Hine family. Then, as it does today, the farm stretched into three cities, Derby, Orange and Woodbridge.

In case you needed more proof of my affinity for old maps, from the University of Connecticut’s Map and Geographic Info Center (MAGIC), you can view aerial photos from 1934 along side a Google map of the present day. Field View’s historic Colonial farmhouse  sits just above that X on the left side of the photo. There is an arched driveway behind it in the present day. Some of the local farm land was sold to developers over the years. You can see the swirling 55+ community across the street from the old Hine’s farmhouse. It used to be a massive corn field.

1934 map of Field View Farm from UConn MAGIC website
University of Connecticut Library Map and Geographic Information Center – MAGIC. (2018).Neighborhood Change in Connecticut, 1934 to Present. Retrieved from http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/mash_up/1934.html.

I can’t believe more people aren’t doing articles on this farm. CBS Sunday Morning should be doing a feature on this incredible plot of American soil, and the family that has farmed it for centuries. The New York Times did do a short article on them in 1989. Relative to the age of the farm, I guess that wasn’t so long ago.

Self service at Field View Farm Stand Orange CT

If it was summer, I would be writing about the farm’s ice cream shop. It’s delicious, but now that the weather turned colder, this farmstand5 is doing double duty. It’s highlighting my finds from a classic, working farm and breaking new ground by debunking the myth that farm stands are a ‘summer thing’. Keep scrolling to get an idea of the finds you can haul home during the colder months.

#5 Bales of hay

Cow in shadow next to bales of hay

If you’re feeding livestock, planting grass seed or trying to create that perfect farm-style vignette for a wedding or Autumn decoration, you need good old fashioned bales of hay. The Hines’ hay several fields around town in the late summer. Hey, when you’ve got the equipment, you might as well use it.

#4 Brown eggs

Local brown eggs fresh from the Field View Farm Orange, CT

Farm fresh eggs are one of my weaknesses. If I see an egg stand, I’m probably going to stop the car and buy some, which I clearly did as this photo was taken on my kitchen table, not at Field View Farm.

#3 Late-season butternut squash

Late-season butternut squash in a basket

You know I love butternut squash. One of these babies is already a soup in my fridge. If you are interested, here’s my recipe for Farm Stand Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.

#2 Handcrafted yogurt

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I have a confession. I just can’t get into plain yogurt. My husband used to eat it with honey, and my sister really likes the tart flavor. What I do like though are yogurt sauces, and this homemade yogurt from the farm is perfect for a recipe.

#1 Fresh milk

Gallons of raw milk from Field View Farm Orange, CT

Talk about living life like our ancestors did. Raw milk is just like it sounds with minimal processing from cow to jug. My husband is a huge fan of raw milk. You pretty much have to take it away from him, or he’ll chug it. Things could get messy. The farm stand offers raw milk with a bunch of required warnings, but it’s pretty special. As far as I can tell, there is only one other farm in New Haven County that offers raw milk. Prefer pasteurized milk? Don’t worry, Field View offers pasteurized milk as well.

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It all started with the original Farmstand5 on Cape Cod…
Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

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Best 5 items at the Gazy Brothers farmers market stand (er, truck?)

Gazy Brothers farm sign

October 9, 2018

An hour before the opening of the Seymour Farmers Market behind the historic Seymour Congregational Church the massive Gazy’s Brothers farm stand truck comes rolling down the big hill from Oxford to set up. The farm itself is nearly 100 years old, a sort of “newer farm” by New England standards.

Apples in a farm stand truck

Gazy’s Brothers farm stand has a certain unpretentious charm about it. The produce signs are occasionally mixed up. Cucumbers might be under a sign for bell peppers. Acorn squash might be marked as spaghetti squash, oooh closer.

But the variety is impressive, and their clientele is loyal. One Tuesday, I waited for five minutes in line to buy two bags of produce. Not because the farm stand attendant was moving slowly, just because she was processing many orders and taking questions along the way. It’s wonderful when a farm stand community buzzes like that!

Leave a comment to let us know what you think about my Top 5 picks from Gazy Brothers farm stand.

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#5 Big, beautiful Blue Hubbard squash

big blue hubbard squash

What does an ordinary cook do with all that squash? These Blue Hubbards were massive. Each one was the size of two footballs (American or European, close enough). I was intimidated by the idea of trying to lug one back to my car. But these squash have such a beautiful golden interior, it’s worth the struggle to get one home and bake it. Rachel at Simple Seasonal suggests a controlled drop to a hard stone or tile surface to crack the heavy Blue Hubbards. I like the idea even though it’s kinda wacky. Uh oh, am I in pun prison now?

The wonderful thing about farm stands is how affordable they are. You can pick up one of these big Blue Hubbards for less than a faux Autumn wreath and add it to your seasonal decor. My first thought was how nice these would look next to some vibrant red-orange squashes on my front porch. The cool weather usually keeps the squash pretty well. We can always cook it , harvest the seeds or compost it later.

#4 Sweet potatoes

small sweet potatoes

As much as my kids and I love sweet potatoes, I’m surprised it took me so long to pick them for a farmstand5. The small sweet potatoes sold at the Gazy Brothers farm stand are perfect to poke with a fork and microwave. A quick farm-stand fresh dinner. Easy.

The other thing I love about this picture is the strong contrasting teal blue baskets make for lovely produce displays. The baskets are sturdy and utilitarian, for sure, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty.

#3 Watermelon

watermelon

Fun fact. When I was pregnant with my son, watermelons were my main craving. My husband will tell you that I called him at work (which I rarely do) and told him he had to go to the fresh market to pick me up more watermelons. I only had half of one at home, and I was freaking out because that wasn’t enough to get me to the next day. After that, he made a habit of stopping to pick up watermelons pretty frequently. And yes, our boy loves watermelon, too.

The reason I these pretty little melons are my #3 pick is that I was impressed to see the pile of fresh watermelon at this farm stand well into October in New England! It’s not really what you’d think of as a Autumn fruit, and I am not complaining. The variety offered at local farm stands is often surprising and always interesting!

Case in point…

#2 Mashed potato squash

Mashed potato squash

Ignore what the sign says, these are mashed potato squash, a squash that cooks up like a dish of mashed potatoes. How do you feel about a squash with a secret identity? A double life. By day a mild mannered white squash. But by night, transformed into a fluffy pile of not-quite potatoes. Do you think you could fool your relatives on Thanksgiving?

Right, me neither. Even if you’re not fooling anyone, mashed potato squash are worth a try. Here’s a recipe for mashed potato squash from Jen at Olive Jude.

#1 Full stalks of Brussels sprouts

Stalk full of brussels sprouts

I sliced these little sprouts off their stalk and ate them as soon as I got home from the farm stand. The long, curvy stalks of Brussels sprouts make me the gitty kind of excited. The little sprouts seem to have a richer flavor when they’re fresh off the stalk. I love to bake them a little too long, until some of the leaves burn a little, and the whole dish takes on a roasted crunch. You can find lots of recipes online for Brussels sprouts. Here’s one I just pinned myself. Cozy dinners by the fire. Thanksgiving with family. Brussels sprouts make a wonderful Autumn side dish.

It all started with the original Farmstand5 on Cape Cod…
Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

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Best 5 items at the Biao Zhi Men farmers market stands, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park China

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October 28, 2018

Oh, you read that city name right. Enjoy this #farmstand5 from Zhangjiajie!

(close enough prounounciation “jong-jya-jyay”)

Across time and time zones, farmstand culture highlights how small farm stands and farmers markets are a cohesive force in communities. Whether you’re south of Boston in Cape Cod or in the shadows of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, there are neighborhood growers with small stands and fresh, local produce. When you visit these farm stands, you get a better sense of the people and the culture of the place.

Thanks to my cousin’s recent trip to China, we can enjoy the absolutely stunning photos of offerings at the Biao Zhi Men market stands. I owe her a big “thank you” for being so thoughtful, to take the time out of her vacation to give us beautiful images and insight into the variety offered at farm stands in Hunan, China.

Spoken language creates a barrier here, but shopping the variety of the local farms helps to break barriers down. One thing you notice right away, neighborhood shoppers at Biao Zhi Men market demand a wide variety of fruits. Stunning. Delicious. Brilliant fruits. I’m happy to show you some varieties you may not see all the time.

#5
Red Pomelo (Chinese grapefruit)

Pomelo Chinese grapefruit displayed at a Chinese farm market

There is a much larger variety of grapefruits in this world than we thought. Pomelos come in different sizes and colors like green and yellow. When sliced they might be white, green or red inside, like these. The thing is, these are not a hybrid. Pomelos were crossed with other citrus, like oranges to create the hybrid fruits we know today. Grapefruits are believed to be the offspring of pomelo, not the other way around. Wikipedia highlights the voyage of this non-hybrid, Asian fruit around the globe.

#4 Hand-roasted cashews

Man roasting cashew nuts at a Chinese market

One of the favorite photos in my house is of a heavily-wrinkled man roasting nuts in a market in Europe. For my #4 farm stand find in Biao Zhi Men, my cousin found a similar moment in time with a local vendor roasting cashews. Look closer. His heat source is an old utility bucket attached to a gas line. That makes me a little nervous. I hope it doesn’t give him any trouble.

#3 Persimmons

Persimmons at a Chinese farmers market. #farmstand5

Have you tried persimmons? Other than the cost, I cannot understand why this delicately-sweet fruit isn’t more popular in the US! I’ve got a persimmon story for you. Last week, I sat down at a community table cafe at my office and a Ukrainian immigrant asked if anyone knew the name of the tomato-orange-plum-looking fruit he brought from home. I did. He was so happy to get the English translation. He said it’s his favorite fruit. But, now I could use help. Do you know the word for them in Mandarin or Cantonese?

#2 Pomegranates

Green yellow pink pomegranates at a Chinese farmers market

Considering that in American English the word pomegranate is used for a deep reddish-pink color, I didn’t realize until I started doing research for this post how many colors and flavors of pomegranates exist in this world. America, guess what? The tart, hard-seeded fruits we are used to are not nearly the best pomegranates have to offer. I hope your local farm stands carry a better variety than our grocery stores.

Bonus! There’s a little glimpse of kumquats in the lower left corner of this pomegranate photo. I used to eat these right off the bushes when I lived in Florida. In a post on forgotten herbs, I mentioned kumquats had a similar flavor to sorrel, only kumquats have a stronger citrus kick.

#1 Kiwano (aka Horned Melon)

Gorgeous spiked kiwano horned melon displayed at Chinese farmers market stand

How could I possibly pick anything other than the fabulous kiwano horned melon to be our #1?! Is it straight out of Dr. Seuss. Inside, the seeds look more like a glossy, green interior of a tomato than what we might think of as a melon. These may not be that unusual to a large part of the US. In fact, they were trending as a Google topic in Colorado and Arizona in 2017. Interesting. I wish I knew how that got started.

It is so wonderful to explore these photos from the Biao Zhi Men marketplace.

Here are some bonus pics.

Add a comment if you can identify these. The green-brown plum-like date in the lower left corner is jujube. I’m not sure about the others.

IMG_0824

Potatoes and tangerines at Biau Zhi Mem farmers market Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

It all started with the original Farmstand5 on Cape Cod…
Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

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Best 5 items at the Lizzie’s Corner farmers market stand

October 9, 2018

All summer I tried and failed to make it over to the Seymour Farmers Market behind the historic Seymour Congregational Church about 25 minutes drive from New Haven, Connecticut. You should see it. Ok, I should take some pictures so you can see it. There’s a powerful terraced waterfall in the Naugatuck River across the street. The church itself is tall and white, a true classic New England meeting house of worship.

The farmers market is only a half mile from the 18th century preserved Seymour Antiques district. When you walk down the streets in the district, you can feel what it was like to take the same stroll 100 years ago. The buildings have hardly changed, including the little gem that houses Lizzie’s Corner, a handcrafted and specialty gifts shop.

On Tuesday afternoons, the curators at Lizzie’s select some of their finest goods and set up a display at the Seymour Farmers Market. Here are my top picks from Lizzie’s Corner.

#5
Goat Boy Goat’s Milk Soaps

Homemade goat milk soap

It’s enough to make you wish you could get a breath of these fresh scents through the phone or computer screen right now. Goatboy Soaps started 17 years ago. The handcrafted products are produced in small batches using fresh goat’s milk. There is goat’s milk soap in my shower right now. It’s so soothing.

#4 Vintage bottles re-imagined

Vintage bottles repurposed into do-it-yourself inspirational quote decor

A charming home craft turned into a business, these are Bookworm Bottles. Decorating with vintage items is a win-win. Your house looks like a designer planned it, and these old bottles get a new chance at life. The littlest ones would be so cute at a wedding. The warm brown bottles would be beautiful down the center of your table paired with candlesticks and vases of cut twigs or greens from your backyard.

#3 Elderberry apple shots

Elderberry apple shots

Oh stop, you can make gummies with these. Or cocktails. Or shoot some non-alcoholic Elderberry Apple Shots as they’re intended, as part of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy, Tiffany, not boozy. You’ve already read the ingredient list, more or less: elderberries and apple cider vinegar. Both are organic and produced by the small farm that makes the shots, Fat Stone Farm.

#2 Swedish dishcloths

Swedish washcloths

Swedish dishcloths aka eco-friendly cleaning cloths are really starting to pop up in shops, and it’s wonderful! They are all-natural, last for 6-9 months and then biodegrade. Mine will go into the compost bin someday. Google trends shows searches for “swedish dishcloth” started to increase in June 2016. I first saw them in the gift shop at a nature center in Cape Cod. My first one is still going strong after three months. You can machine wash them, but I just put mine in the dishwasher sometimes. They don’t stink like sponges. I’m going to do a whole article on these because I use and love them. In the meantime, see what all the fuss is about. You don’t need a 10-pack, just pick up a few to start.

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#1 Homebrew maple syrup

Pure New England Maple Syrup

When it’s time for comfort food and the warm smell of cool-weather baking, enter organic, local maple syrup. In New England, it’s popular to drizzle some maple syrup over sliced, baked acorn squash, another farm stand favorite. My kids and I make pancakes from our own modified recipe almost every weekend. My little daughter licks the plate clean of maple syrup if you don’t stop her. Ahh, childhood.

Have you seen the original Farmstand5 from Cape Cod?
Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

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Best 5 items at Midway Farm Stand, Durham, CT

A basket of colorful orange and white gourds minipumpkins

September 29, 2018

How’s this for stumbling on a gem?  I had the family in the car on our way to the Durham Fair. A really beautiful, classic New England autumn fair, you should visit next year. Go early in the morning, as soon as it opens. We didn’t. After 30 minutes of waiting in the line of cars trying just to get a glimpse of the parking lot, I asked the kids if they’d rather go pick out one toy each at Target. A unanimous “yes”! It worked for me. It worked for them. A win-win. I pulled a U-ie and as we headed back up the country road, I spotted a captivating farm stand, pulled another U-ie and parked the car.

I hope you enjoy these finds from the Midway Farm Stand in Durham, CT, as much as we did. The kids loved the pies, breads, honey and stepping stones. I loved the displays and the kind, honest people who ran the stand. One thing, in my opinion, they are UNDER-charging their customers. They could really up their prices just a little and still be fairly-priced.

#5
Giant orange carrots

carrots

Whether you are planning to make a vegan soup or a roasted chicken, these awesome giant carrots could play a powerful role.

#4
Handmade stepping stones

Handmade DIY mosaic stepping stones for a garden

There’s a certain kindness about a handmade stepping stone. You can almost feel how sincere the artist was as she or he planned the design, chose the colored glass and placed each mosaic piece with care. I find it moving to think about all the time and thought put into each stone; so did my five-year old who would have bought every one.

#3
Raw ginger root

raw ginger root in a farm stand basket for sale

Raw ginger root. You should eat more of it. It’s so healthy it makes broccoli look like junk food. It’s rare to see it offered at a local farm stand. Use it in tea, yogurt sauce or stir-fry. You’ll feel healthier if you do.

#2
Colorful gourds

A basket of colorful orange and white gourds minipumpkins

Colorful gourds appear in several of my posts and Instagrams. Ok, I may possibly overuse these visually-stimulating baskets of gourds in my Insta gallery. In my defense, it’s autumn. Find some gourds and decorate the house, office, and car. Just imagine these babies on your fireplace mantel or above the entryway. They’re lovely.

#1
Pickled anything

pickled jars of carrots and cucumber homemade

Pickling is having a moment. It’s funny; when I was a little girl, my mother’s Eastern-European farm folk family used to take anything left over from a garden harvest and toss it into the pickling brine from store-bought pickles. Now, this simple garden hack has become a movement. Whether you make your own brine or just borrow one from the grocer, you and your guests are sure to be pleased with farm-fresh pickled veggies. Put some on the apps platter at your next get-together.

 

Midway farm stand Durham connecticut

 

Hope you’re enjoying my top picks from local farm stands.

Have you seen this farmstand5?

Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

Or, shop farm stand style, like these decorative and practical half-bushel baskets featured in this farmstand5.

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Best 5 items at Treat Farm Stand, Orange, CT

Treat Farm Orange CT sign

September 9, 2018

In its first couple centuries, the Treat Farm was focused on dairy and milk delivery. Wait, what? Rewind. Yes, I meant to say it, centuries. One of the great things about living in New England is the rich history. The region’s farmers are proud to be able to preserve and share America’s Colonial legacy.

I want to say that the delicious apples and sweet corn are my favorite thing about this farm, but the truth is, my favorite thing isn’t edible at all. It’s the old well. Even a quick study of it’s hand-placed stones leaves me imagining all the life that happened at and around this charming old watering hole.

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The Treat family offers more than just a farm stand. As the seasons change, they offer cut-your-own Christmas trees, pumpkins and a five-acre corn maze! Be sure to check back again or (easier route) follow this site, as the seasons change, I will post again about this historic, picturesque Connecticut farm.

Take a quick look at some of the fresh, classic offerings of an Early American farm.

#5
Bushels of sweet corn

Sweet corn at Treat Farm Orange CT

Nothing says late summer harvest like sweet corn. All along the way to my son’s fall ball baseball games, we see signs for sweet corn. It’s so exciting. We boil some up fresh a couple nights each week. Treat Farm has a massive display with a full table piled high with fresh corn cobs and bags and bushels of corn all around the stand.

#4
Zephyr Summer Bi-color squash

Zephyr Summer Squash a bicolor squash at Treat Farm Stand Orange CT

One of those delicious-looking veggies you might have to visit a farm stand to find and google to figure out what it’s called. My little daughter was immediately drawn to these zephyr summer squashes. Of course, we bought one for our dinner.

#3
Fresh-picked pears
Fresh picked pears in a basket at Treat Farm Orange CT

We don’t always see pears at the farm stands. It’s exciting when we do. Let them sit in a brown paper bag for a few days, and these pears should become soft and sweet. You’ll need a napkin to eat them, or else you’ll embarrass yourself. That’s the sign of a really good, farm-fresh pear.

#2
Pressed apple cider

I walked into the Treat Farm Stand, turned around and saw it. It took my breath away: an old-fashioned ice box holding the fresh-pressed apple cider! The only thing that says autumn more than my #1 pick, is a cup of cider. I serve it chilled with ice in September and warmed on the stove with a cinnamon stick in October.

#1
Colorful gourds

Basket of colorful gourds at Treat Farm stand Orange CT

Gourds! One of the darlings of farmhouse style décor. If you’re on Instagram or you open a magazine this autumn, you will see so many of these little suckers sitting on dark wood tables and bright white mantels, you might actually get sick of them, but I won’t. There are several baskets of gourds at the Treat Farm Stand. All are beautiful. We brought three home with us to decorate.

Treat Farm has upgraded their farm stand over the years. They operate out of this fancy little structure next to their giant barn. Notice the mums and pumpkins out front and the deep blue September sky. Autumn was just a few weeks away!

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Hope you’re enjoying my top picks from local farm stands.

Have you seen this farmstand5?

Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

Or, shop farm stand style, like these decorative and practical half-bushel baskets featured in this farmstand5.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Best 5 items at Off Center Farm Stand, Woodbridge, CT

August 30, 2018

Welcome to the new kid on the block. Off Center Farm’s stand just opened up a few weeks ago. Last time I was there, they were already starting to sell out of certain items. I personally bought out their stock of my #2 pick.

Even though the farm is new, the farmer, Kristyna, represents the sentiments of farmstand culture perfectly. She passionately manages her farm while reaching out to the community. You will notice I credit her in other places on this site for the help she’s given to me.

Enjoy the beautiful and unique items you can find at her farm stand.

#5
Big, happy dahlias!

Dahlia’s have strong stems that explode into powerful blooms. The colors find almost every shade of the rainbow. You might notice that I included a small photo of a mix of sunflower varieties with the choice. It’s a great example of flowers that bloom simultaneously and pair really well in arrangements. I picked up a handful of the darkest sunflowers and the lightest dahlias for a vase in my kitchen.

#4
Maitake mushrooms

OCmush

Maitake mushrooms are believed to have medicinal properties. Off Center Farm goes above-and-beyond in harvesting and drying these remarkable mushrooms for their customers. The little basket of hand-packed mushrooms is reminiscent of the offerings you might have found at an old-time apothecary.

#3
Tomatillos

OCtomatillos.JPG

I have a confession: an obsessionwith tomatillos. They add a vinegary flavor to soups and sauces. I almost always blend them in a verde salsa with jalapenos, onions and cilantro. A spice-paring tip: the flavor of tomatillos is really complemented by a smoky ground cumin.

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#2
Kermit (Thai) eggplant

OCkermiteggplants.JPG

I did not know what these were when I saw them at the Off Center Farm standof course that was enough of a reason to buy them. A quick google search told me they are eggplant. Actually, they are closer to the shape of their namesake (and my #1 pick) than a traditional purple, Black Beauty eggplant. I got home late one night and made a quick dinner by sautéing these chopped Kermit eggplants with onions, basil and chicken.

#1
Fresh, hand-gathered eggs

OCeggs.JPG

Yes, that little table at the end of your neighbor’s driveway with the hand-painted “fresh eggs” sign is a farm stand. Egg stands are one of the best examples of the farmstand culture our communities gave up when big grocers cornered the market. But, as keeping flocks is becoming a popular past time again, I predict you will see more egg stands in your neighborhood. People with hens usually go through a time when the supply of eggs exceeds their personal need. I love the bright chartreuse cartons Off Center uses for their fresh eggs.

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I hope you are having fun and feeling inspired to shop farm stands and cook fresh. Or at least to find some friends who do and let them do all the cooking.

OCtablevine

Did you see this farmstand5 post?…

Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

Back to farmstand5 full list.

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Best 5 items at Killam & Bassette Farm Stand, Hartford, CT

August 7, 2018

K&B’s farm stand always has really fresh fruits and veggies and so much variety. It was particularly tough to narrow down this farmstand5 to just my self-imposed limit of five choices.

The Killam & Bassette Farmstead is actually in South Glastonbury, CT. The location listed here is for one of their mobile farm stands at the Old State House Farmers’ Market in downtown Hartford. It’s small but still one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country, established 1643.

K&B farmers have personality. You’ll spot them right away in their tie-dye shirts.

Debunk the myth that you need cash at all farm stands. K&B accepts major credit and debit cards, too. Naturally, I overspend every time I visit them.

#5
Scallions

KB scalions

Add them to stir-fries, rice dishes, omelets, soups, salads (I recommend miso dressing), or make my Aunt-in-law’s most popular hors d’oeuvre, scallion pancakes. They have a light oniony flavor and are a good option for people like my mom who think onions have a “weird texture”. For the record, I am not one of those people.

#4
Italian flat beans

KB long beans

The more you visit farm stands, farmers’ markets and CSAs (community-sponsored agriculture), the more you will appreciate the vast and interesting variety of beans in this world. How is it that we can go our entire childhood and only eat green beans in America? The only variety I knew growing up was yellow wax beans or haricot verts (close-enough pronunciation “airy-co-vare”, yes, the “h” is slient). It wasn’t always this way. Thomas Jefferson grew a wide variety of beans. Beyond the culinary uses, he favored the color and flowers they contributed to the aesthetic of his gardens.

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#3
Broccoli

KB broccoli

One of the top favorite veggies in my household, broccoli. Boil it in sea-salted water, and it’s ready to serve. At the Killam & Bassette farm stand, I found fresh broccoli. It is not as easy to grow as my other choices so K&B deserves extra bonus points for taking on a more fickle vegetable.

#2
Hot peppers

KB hot peppers

Not everyone can take on my #2 choice. In fact, I used to be one of those people who avoided spicy foods. Until…my second pregnancy, when I craved spicy food every day. It is funny how our tolerance for hot stuff ebbs and flows during our lifetimes. Now, the see-through compartments in my fridge look a little like this basket, full of different kinds of hot peppers for my morning omelets and homemade salsas.

#1
Ball zucchini

KB round zucchinis

Before visiting this farm stand, I did not know zucchini grew in balls. Now, I plan to grow them in my garden next year. For the past thirty years, I only thought of peppers when I wanted to stuff and bake a veggie. But these zucchini balls can be hollowed out and stuffed with your favorite stew, rice, potato, meat, casserole or cheese concoction. For a fast, impressive and practical Thursday night dinner, make a stuffing using all of the leftovers from the week. Just cook them in a saucepan with some herbs, chicken or vegetable broth.

I hope you are having fun and learning, too. Did you see this farmstand5 post?…

Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

Back to farmstand5 full list.