Thursday, October 02, 2014

Cider Hill Farm: from muddy to mundane to marvelous

Cider Hill Farm is just over the hill from us in Amesbury, Massachusetts. It is, in fact, a "local attraction."  And with good reason.  If there is fresh produce and minimal mud and snow, there is something going on there.  In September it was pumpkins a-plenty and most any sort of vegetable  you could think of.  And apples.  And apple cider donuts.

On weekends there is a line to get cider donuts hot out of the fryer.  I was there on a Friday morning, so there was a larger supply of donuts than people.  I caught one in action, sliding down the slide into the cinnamon sugar.  They are definitely best while still warm (the first time).
 Of course, the farm makes more than just donuts.  Take your pick!
Pumpkins were IN and in demand.

Funny thing.  In New England, and in the middle of the local food, fresh food movement,  nothing should have pumpkin in it before its time.  Pumpkins are for Autumn.  Apples are for late summer and possibly later, but only because they store so well.
I think they might make an exception for raspberries.  And that's a good thing.

 Cider Hill Farm also has a selection of gourmet and unusual foods.  I hadn't ever heard of teapigs.  Turns out it is a brand name.  HQ's in Great Britain AND the USA.  Peppermint sounds good for sore throats as well as "tummy tonic."  Their Peppermint Licorice combo just won a big prize at the Fancy Food Show in NYC.

Spiced pumpkin seeds (SuperSeedz) sound good.  I wonder if you can spice them at home.  Cumin anyone?  I'd never seen these anywhere... but apparently they've been advertised on Good Morning America... AND you can get them from Amazon.

 You can pick your own bushel or peck of apples, corn, tomatoes and most anything you can think of.  There were many school and day care groups wandering the orchards when I was there.

 While the chickens are not for sale, they are for feeding!  (The eggs are for sale).  Hint.  One of these is not like the others.

I couldn't figure out if the chickens were the sort of creatures that clump, prefer their independence, or just ran wherever they thought the pickings were best.

They certainly new that corn (or whatever it was in the dispensers) would soon be available if a big person showed up accompanied by a little person.  Especially if either one of them hunched over.

I particularly liked the photo of the chicken below... because of her shapely shadow.

And there are (currently) a couple of goats, mere kids, I think.  Each has a definite personality.  The tan and white is sort of an eager beaver type.  Nosing into everything.  The sable colored one is much more lackadaisical.  He was happy napping in their food/water tub. 

 At first, I thought this was just some really lumpy, dark mud.  Nope.
It's pigs!

Pigs in hog heaven, right?

I thought those stories about pigs in mud was just a folk tale.  But now I've seen it for myself.  City "girls" can learn lots of things down on the farm.

 The goats were still acting cute.  Brownie in his bucket; and Tan Dan checking everything out... even if it meant climbing over or dislodging Brownie.

This is the view from the chicken's roost back toward the parking lot.  Cider Hills' hanging baskets are as spectacular as any I have seen at the local nurseries.

 I went back inside to see if I had missed anything.  First, there were so many contrasting colors and textures right by the front door.  That's another thing different about "up East" compared to Texas.  They add on, and add on again; make do and adapt.  So here are shingles, siding, barn boards and at least three different finishes just on the entryway.

They had decorative pigs and a cow inside.  They looked right at home here.

 Tomatoes are a BIG DEAL here.  Seedlings go on sale almost before the snow has melted.  Then around July everybody apparently has more than they know what to do with and puts them in crates by their driveway for honor-system sales.

I would probably prefer these JOVIAL crushed tomatoes, though.  Who knew? HAPPY, even JOVIAL tomatoes.!! Jovial Foods , based in Connecticut, was founded by a New England girl and her Italian husband, whom she met while studying in Bologna.  Not only do they produce tomato products and olive oils, but they make pastas and pastries using a grain called Einkorn... which they claim has NEVER been genetically modified or hybridized, and hence can be tolerated even by those who are gluten sensitive.  Jovial indeed!

DD, the martini girl might enjoy these Sable and Rosenfeld Cocktail Stirrers.  Another way to get a serving of vegetables in your day! The company is woman owned, Canadian, and some of their products are KOSHER!  (Shaken, not stirred?)

If you like your Herring Fillets WILD, then check these out.  Bar Harbor Foods  has more than just the cracked peppered ones. I actually like herring in sour cream.... might have to tried the "dietetic" ones with just spice!

You can even get sardines in maple syrup.

Do you recognize these?  Cherry tomatoes... but not JUST red.  My friend said they were all ripe and all tasty.  These would certainly look more interesting on a plate.
 And finally, some apples.  Sorry to say, the Zestars were mushier than I like.  But the honeycrisp are in, so I'm happy now.

 And peaches:  the aroma was wonderful.

 I didn't know that "green" peppers also came in purple!  And mauve.  They were showy.
The onions and leeks were so shiny and perfect, they almost looked polished compared to what I see in the average produce department.  I loved that these carrots were all washed and beautiful, too.

 Cousin to all those pumpkins were the squash.  Gotta love patapans for looking festive.

 Glad to know where I can get milk delivered in glass bottles  from Hatchland Dairy  if I want it... not to mention maple or coffee flavored from Kimball Brook. 

I wonder if  Califia's almond milk  is something I would like?
 This photograph is a tribute to my daughter... a not TOTALLY nutty Redhead.  That commercial Nutty Redhead is based in Rockport, Mass, knows about pralines and everything nuts!
I'll be back.

 Another tribute to New England thrift.  Keeping those shingles.  AND ambiance.

This mom was trying SO hard to get a good picture of her kiddo with the pumpkins.  I don't know if she actually asked him to pose or not.  But he didn't seem to be having any of it.  I thought that if she hadn't hovered quite so close she might have gotten some better pictures.  His quick turns away from the camera were definitely a big tease.  Poor mom.

 Nothing like a zoom lens to help you get better photographs.  (I never did find out what his shirt was promoting, however!!

 And a  humble sparrow.  Ignoring everything else.  Looking for meal worms, or something.

Looks like he/she finally found something and needed a napkin!
 Finally... the lumpiest, craziest, brightest gourds on the premises.  Wish I'd had time to draw or sketch them on site.  I'll have to settle for working from these photographs.


Anonymous said...

Just lovely--a feast for the eyes, and heart and soul! Thank you. Makes me want to pack up from Texas and make my way to New Hampshire. What's the rent like up there? rg

Dana S. Whitney said...

You don't get as much space for your $$ as in Texas... there isn't as much room! But on the other hand, there isn't so much of a contest about who has the most/best toys/clothes/cars/etc. Plus, there are FOUR seasons.