Before there were Farmers’ Markets in every town on the Shoreline, we shopped the farm stands for our produce and pies. Despite the availability of farm fresh food everywhere, we have some favorite farm stands that we scurry to for specific goodies:
White Gate Farm, East Lyme
This is the farm stand for the aesthete. Open Wednesday and Saturday only, this famous organic farm features meticulously displayed fresh veggies and a variety of delicacies made in the Farm Kitchen. I never leave without a bag or two of gluten-free breakfast cookies (stash these in the freezer, they keep well and don’t need defrosting), some beet hummus, and perhaps the daily soup: this week’s version was a dairy-free cashew pistou. The farm eggs are delicately colored and said to be the best, and you can always find a hearty loaf from the elusive Farm to Hearth Bakery. Hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 to 5pm.
Scott’s Yankee Farmer, East Lyme
We head here for the best hot apple cider donuts on weekends, but that’s definitely not all…their own hot house tomatoes start early, and you’ll find tons of freshly picked berries and veggies. Check the blackboard for pick your own dates (raspberries and blueberries are fat and ready now).
Sankow’s Beaver Brook, Lyme
Head about a mile up Beaver Brook Road in Lyme and you’ll happen upon an old farmhouse with a faded sign out front. Pull in the drive and shoot straight back to the farm store. Inside you’ll find refrigerated and freezer cases full of Sankow’s award-winning cow and goat cheeses, frozen goodies like lamb and bean chili, bolognese sauce, and stacks of Shepherd’s Pie. Don’t leave without a few pounds of lamb merguez sausage for the grill and some crazy delicious chocolate mousse made from their own fresh ricotta, cocoa and a bit of sugar. Next door is a shop full of wool and sweaters, but save that trip for a cool fall day.
Barberry Hill Farm, Madison
Barberry is a regular stop on our jaunts up and down the Shoreline for a bunch of fresh flowers and a bag of lumpy heirloom tomatoes. This 100 year old family farm practices sustainable farming methods and grows their crops without the use of pesticides and fungicides. Dinners at the Farm sets up in their bucoloic acreage every year and the roadside stand, on the Post Road between Madison and Guilford, is always a feast for the eyes (and instagram worthy!).
Lakeside Feed, Guilford
You might come here as much for an ice cream cone as for rack of ribs or a carton of fava beans, but this is a fun place to hit for the whole family. From the llamas out front to the baby chicks in the feed store, the tots will love a trip here. Once you get past the tubs of ice cream, you’ll find a freezer case full of farm meats, from hot and sweet italian sausage to bacon, burgers, stew meat and steaks. We love this idea: head over every Friday from 6 – 8 for Farm Family Friday Nights and choose pizza, a burger or hot dog plus ice cream ($3!) and learn about a new featured animal each week.
Panfili’s, 42 Norwich Road, Salem
If you’re in the market for a life-sized buddha or giraffe, this is the place. All the statuary out front may be confusing, but inside this is a normal farmstand with some basic groceries available, too. We snagged fresh cut flowers in mason jars for $6.50 a bunch and an absolutely perfect cherry pie.
Staehly’s, East Haddam
Folks head here for hanging baskets, veggies, Grannie’s pies and fruit wines but we like the rows of mason jars filled with all manner of tempting treats. The spiced peaches make a handy dessert, just pile a few over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Bread and butter pickles are a staple in our house, and who could resist a jar of old fashioned pickled beet balls? A stash of these in your pantry make fantastic hostess gifts.
Bishop’s Orchards, Guilford
EVERYONE knows about Bishops, but when one is writing an article on farm stands on the Shoreline, one must include it! For many of us, it’s where we go not only for a stellar selection of produce, but for everyday groceries (even though it’s a bit of a hike for me). I always pick up a few jars of their unsweetened applesauce (just like homemade), some turkey pot pies for the freezer, D’Artagnan pork belly (!), and my absolute favorite chicken sausage from Longhini in New Haven. But this time of year is a don’t miss for pie. And what we love about Bishop’s is you can buy a half of one. I’m a huge fan of the Fruit of the Farm with NO added sugar. It’s summer pie perfection, stuffed with apples, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, it’s not too sweet with a lovely crumbly crust. And if you’ve only bought a half a pie, that’s all you’ll eat.
Four Mile River Farm, Old Lyme
Those burgers at the Lyme Farmers’ Market? Yup, those are Four Mile River, and occasionally we have them for breakfast. But there’s lots more than burgers at the farmstand. You’ll find every cut of beef imaginable from sirloin strips to steak tips plus nitrate free hot dogs and kielbasa. We’re mad for their prepared goods, too, especially the cheesy bacon butter that is just as delish as a topping for steak as a tangy spread for a baguette. Get your entire dinner here: a refrigerated case is stocked with Four Root Farm’s salad mix, arugula and herbs, and grab some lovely chèvre from Sweet Pea Farm (try the orange cranberry). Paleo peeps can stock up on bone broth, too.
And we’re waiting ever so patiently for one of our favorite pop-up farm stands The Stand in Branford, to reopen with all sorts of exciting developments. More soon…