On The Edge Farm
Incredible food year-round
It's not quite as bad as 'spaghetti corner' (sobriquet provided by a kindly reader) in Lebanon, but there are a few edges and bends in the names of farms and nurseries that surround us, and I just know that as I grow older, my mind will begin to play tricks on me with these various curvatures. For example, In Plainfield, there is the wonderful Edgewater Farm. Just outside Woodstock, there is River Bend Home and Garden . And the focus today, just down the road from the latter, is with On The Edge Farm.
Dana and Bill Pape are the owners; they will be familiar to many as he is one of the vendors at Norwich Farmers' Market - the one with the best pies and crumbles in New England. I don't feel that this is an exaggeration because I have now witnessed many an eye bulge with incredulity as, not only first-timers, but virtually every dessert lover takes a bite of one of these berry creations. Dana presides over a stand at Mount Tom Farmers' Market during the same spring/summer period. The pièce de résistance is their wonderful little store on Route 12 just north of Woodstock which offers a paradise of consumables.
What makes this farmstand unique is the year-round choice of meat and Dana's baking and chutney-jam prowess. When you first enter, you may immediately be sidetracked by the left-hand counter display of pies and crumbles. They come in basic round sizes, but also in a more compact option whose smaller proportion might help allay the guilt of succumbing. There are blueberry peach, strawberry rhubarb, apple, sour cherry and other such concoctions that create a sort of bewilderment of choice. Apple puffs! They are set out to allure and to beckon and the choice really does not matter. They are a glutton's dream. Incidentally, this stand is near one of the outlets from the Appalachian Trail, and I have seen many a haggard hiker finishing off one of the pies, walking stick leaning against the pack, sated at last!
Now pull yourself away from the brown sugar, butter and oats, turn around and you have the shelves of clean glass jars displaying their gooey innards. Peach butter, green tomato or zucchini relish, plum chutney last summer and the signature Bumbleberry jam. In this case, instead of Americans driving north for bread, Quebecers drive south for this jam and Dana's apple chutney. I realize that in speaking publicly about this chutney, I may endanger my future chances of obtaining it! There are also some 'no-added-sugar' fruit combos.
Now if you venture further in to the back freezer, there is a selection of farm-raised grass and natural grain-fed beef and pork. If your timing is very good, there is also the Pape lamb: legs, racks and chops, nurtured with fine Vermont care.
Besides one of my last articles on sausages, I was saving this spot in order to feature their own. There is a wide selection: andouille, garlic and parmesan, chorizo, Cajun, Chinese, beer bratwurst, hot and sweet Italian as well as the breakfast links; imagine an orange cranberry combo with those fried eggs! And with all the hamburger meat that we have consumed and tried over the years, there is no equal to the 'edge' attained here.
The farmstand is open weekends in winter; however, come spring, the store is open daily. The approach to park is filled with colour. I don't know how Dana does it, but she manages to find and sell unique impatient colours, a rainbow of Primula, the darkest red and deepest rich orange pansies and so much more on display in a manner so appealing, but that she brushes off as pure happenstance.
When you have gathered all your groceries and are now waiting to pay, don't forget to reach into the basket beside you and add a ziplocked bag of her gorgeous crunchy chocolate chip cookies - we always need a little sustenance to get us home. Click here
If you wish to receive automatic notice when I write about food, click here
If you wish to read about luscious chocolate treats, click here
If you wish to read about a good lunch locally, click here