Savoring the Seasons: On the way to
By MARY MCCLINTOCK
If you’re like me, you have “regular” farm stands, farm stores, and farmers markets that are on your way to work or school or your best friend’s house, places you stop regularly to get fresh, tasty direct-from-the-farmers-and-their-friends foods.
Long-time readers of this column probably know my “regulars” because you read about them often.
I’m always happy to write about local farms, farm stores, and farmers markets and encourage farmers to send me information to share. When writing about a particular type of food, I try to include information about many local sources of that food, not just my regulars.
Recently, I ran into Becky Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms who thanked me for recent mentions of Clarkdale in this column. She said she and Tom were talking about how fortunate they are to have an orchard on my regular route from Conway to Greenfield. I laughed! I drive by Clarkdale at least once a week, yet also appreciate other orchards in Franklin County, including Apex in Shelburne, Pine Hill in Colrain, and Scott in Ashfield. I just don’t go by them as often.
Hawley isn’t on my usual route anywhere, but it’s now high on my “enjoy a lovely drive and views and stock up on great food” list. Last month I went to Hawley to Sidehill Farm while out with my Seattle friend Pat ... who loves cows. I hadn’t been to Sidehill’s new top-of-the-hill home.
Wow oh wow, what a GORGEOUS place! Miles and miles and miles of view, a nifty farm shop, and many friendly cows. We ran into one of Sidehill’s owners, Amy Klippenstein. Showing us around the farm shop, Amy said, “Have you tried our new Hawley Blue cheese?”
I confessed I’m not a big fan of blue cheese or other strong-flavored cheeses. However, I took some to a friend who loves blue cheese and she RAVED about it.
The display case description says: “Drier and firmer than most blues, Hawley Blue is sweet, buttery and nutty with veins of peppery and minerally blue.”
Amy told us Hawley Blue was created by Hanson Donius, a Sidehill herdsman who works with the cows. He has experience making cheese and, during a week in the spring when they had LOTS of extra milk (the cows had just moved out onto pasture), they rented the cheese plant at Chase Hill Farm and made Hawley Blue.
Along with Hawley Blue and paneer (a mild, fresh cheese), Sidehill’s farm store stocks Sidehill yogurt, raw milk, and grass-fed beef, and farm products produced by their friends: Cricket Creek Farm cheeses and eggs, Chase Hill Farm Italian Grace cheese, Sangha Farm feta cheese, Bola Granola and El Jardin Bakery’s granola, Real Pickles and Hosta Hill pickles and sauerkraut, and Bart’s ice cream.
Sidehill farm shop’s freezer is full of beef that’s perfect for winter meals, including stew beef, ground beef, top and bottom round roasts, sirloin tip roasts, and steaks.
What farm stores are on your “regular” and “stock up on great food” lists?
This week we’re eating…
Sidehill Farm Lunch
By Mary McClintock as recommended by Amy, Paul, and the Folks of Sidehill Farm (www.sidehillfarm.net)
About Bola Granola made in Great Barrington that’s for sale at Sidehill’s farm shop: My advice ... don’t buy any. It’s dangerous.
Amy warned me it’s addictive, that the Sidehill staff sits around at lunch time eating Sidehill yogurt and Bola Granola. I laughed, but took home a bag of granola and a quart of yogurt.
Later, I thought, “I’ll try some for an afternoon snack.”
Wow! Amy was right, a great sweet/salty/nutty combo that’s perfect with creamy yogurt.
I tried just a little more.
Wow, that went fast. I really should have a bit more ...
Gee, how did the granola bag get half empty? I guess I don’t really need to make dinner tonight, I’ll just eat another bowl of granola.
So, I warned you. Don’t buy the granola!