I grew up with special grandparents and I have never left my roots. My grandparents both maternal and fraternal had at the minimums gardens. Both grandmothers cooked every meal from scratch. No junkie ingredients in their food, just pure meat, spices, and love.
Gramma Santa and Gramma Stella rocked their kitchens. Gramma Stella as I have mentioned many times before baked bread daily. Truly her bread is unsurpassed and the rigid standards she held herself to are unbelievable to this day.
Gramma picked on her own crust and her judgment against herself just rose her standards. Totally crazy and why I love her. She never settled for anything but the best in her production.
Traveling to a farm, I expect the same unsurpassed standards, fresh, delicious, wholesome and crafted by those that know hard work makes a difference. I found this in 4 Thurman Farms I visited in the Lake George Area.
These 4 Thurman Farms to visit in The Lake George Area will allow you to experience, fresh, artisan-crafted products that will impress and satisfy your appetite for hand-crafted, and homemade.
My Grandparents And Why I Love Farms
Grandpa Stan worked with wood, he crafted clocks, and miniature dollhouse pieces, furniture and was very talented. In addition, he was always outside working in the garden.
Between he and Gramma Stella they grew cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, blackberries, asparagus, dill, green apples, red apples, crabapples, raspberries, tomatoes (3 varieties), yellow wax beans and so on.
Then, after they picked the crops, Gramma Stella would go to work canning. Making Dilly Beans, and stewed tomatoes, and fresh applesauce, etc.
It was a process, and lots of work, but all the food was fresh and she passed her knowledge to my mom. We always ate food made fresh, no garbage from the store aisles, pre-packed is packed with stuff our bodies do not need!
Gramma Santa and Granpap Louis always had a garden. Grandpa worked a full day but he came home at night and went to the garden. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and eggplant. Now my dad does the same and even on a bigger scale.
Gramma Santa turned the tomatoes into sauce and soups and stews. Fresh salads graced the table each night and of course, her peppers in all different recipes were amazing. As you can see I grew up on fresh and the tradition continues.
My dad and mom have a wonderful garden, and I have grown lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Further, I seek out farmers markets and local farms and I buy my veggies and fruits there!
Lake George Area Support Your Local Farms and Make A Difference
You might have passed these particular farms over and over and never stopped. I mean sometimes it is intimidating seeing a sign that says, “Organic Meat, and vegetables, pull in.” I am here to tell you that these farms Don’t Bite. The people are kind souls selling their products.
What I will promise you, is once you stop, you will NEVER pass the farm again without stopping. You will however no longer hesitate to stop because you will understand the concept of buying fresh and from the source. Get this, ‘No middle man included in your sale’
Blackberry Hill Farm and Sanctuary
Farm One Meat, Veggies and Fun
When we stopped at Blackberry Hill Farm and Sanctuary, there was snow on the ground and it was very cold. We (my daughter and myself, and my friend Amanda) had literally gotten off a plane and hit the ground running.
Now let me take the FEAR out of stopping here. When you drive up you will note home in front of you. Yes, the owners live here, but they are HAPPY to meet you, sell you what you are in need of. Don’t be afraid to stop.
I asked Amanda, “does he care it’s later in the day and we are stopping?” Her response, “they never mind. Often people call ahead (so you can do that if it helps you get over your fear of stopping) or you can show up.
Mind you today we were not here to shop, nor were the veggies or many animals out, it was so bitter cold. However, we stopped because I wanted to see the animals that I have heard so much about.
Further, I wanted to meet Bob the Owner. I had to see who was running this farm that is Certified Organic and that is a BIG Deal in the area as he is one of only 2 certified organic. Bob took us on a tour, one that we could handle with the weather situation.
The Pigs And The Fun
First stop was to see the rescued Jack and Dianne. Now, this was my first experience with pigs. It’s not like I am a big city girl and have never been with farm animals but it might appear that way after you see these videos.
Jack and Dianne love fig newtons. I had to laugh, what ‘snorty’ (pun intended) little pigs. HA!
Bob, the owner already has started a Pet Food Pantry. This pantry is just getting its’ legs, but every pet food donation is welcome. The Farm Stand you see here accepts donations all day long, each day.
Help starving pets in the area, cats, dogs, etc. with simple donations. You can make a difference. Here’s a way to Foster A Pig for a week. Are you ready for this?
I spoke with BOB of the Blackberry Hill Farm and asked him if we might reach out to my readership, my social followers and try something. After all, we all love animals. Maybe we can’t have them in our homes due to allergies or space, but BOB can and here’s how you can make a difference.
My thought on this is, even if ONE person donates, its a chance to be part of a pet’s life on a very different level. Who’s ready? Here’s my tip to fig up the pigs!
TIP FOR VISITING THIS FARM
When you see the owner, give him a few boxes of Fig Newtons, plain flavor. Help him keep his animal sanctuary going on. No, Bob did not tell me that but if you are there just 5 minutes and see what these pigs consume, you can only imagine, it takes a heart of gold and bank of Fig Newtons to feed these pigs.
If you are driving buy, drop a package off of Fig Newtons or a whole bag, think of this as a way of supporting your local farmer who is rescuing animals. I believe it’s very important to invest in local, they are the bread and butter of your area. Blackberry Hill Farm and Sanctuary, 15 Mud St. Athol, NY 12810. If you want to send them Fig Newtons from Amazon here’s the address!
What I got from all this is a lesson. All joking aside, I now know where ‘you eat like a pig’ phrasing came from, lol!
Pigs up to 900 Pounds When Pregnant – Is there even a scale for that?
Next stop, more pigs and while I could not concentrate, I did get some pictures. Trust me the temperatures and the wind were not my friends that day, nor was I dressed right after getting off my flight.
So here, we met up with two 500 Pounds plus pigs, and all I can tell you is that this was the highlight of the farm stop. They were snorting and interacting with us. Yes, you have to see this video and Bob their owner talking about them. I totally get now whey George Clooney loved his pig.
Pigs are smart and responsive. The only downside is how much food they consume.
What Else I Learned While At Blackberry Hill Farm & Sanctuary
There’s a small building when you drive up that is being replaced by a large facility that includes a kitchen! Here you can purchase fresh bread, and meats and when in season ORGANIC vegetables.
What Can I Buy Here?
During the winter months, you can purchase organic chicken, with different cuts, whole, boneless breasts, drumstick/ thighs etc. Also our non-GMO pork with just about every cut you can imagine, also no-nitrate bacon.
Additionally, there are hand-crafted organic jams and organic bread. Prefer organic eggs? Get them here, including both chicken and duck eggs. During the summer, get ready to fill up those vehicle cargos spaces, with a full line of veggies and herbs.
Because the farm is already being supported well by locals, it is able to grow, but now more people need to visit so it can keep on growing. The more you buy, the more they produce. Amanda told me the meat is the freshest around.
You have spring and summer barbeques up and coming, get here. Graduation, Mother’s and Father’s Day. Fill your grills with great meats and fresh veggies that you can purchase here. Meat is for sale year-round, veggies are seasonal.
Farm 2 Toad Hill Maple Farm
The Grandaddy Of Maple Farms – WOW!
Before we went, Bob told us it was the King of Maple Farms and was he right. The facility is fit for a king and queen. Your experience at the Toad Hill Maple Farm can be both indoors and outdoors.
Toad Hill Maple Farm embraces the work smarter not harder mantra in every way. I am so impressed with the facility. As a foodie and culinary travel writer, I am consistently amazed at the talent uncovered at small business. My wish for Toad Hill Maple Farm is to go national. It’s prestigious in every way, the taste is pure and the facility is top notch.
What was the most striking piece at the Toad Hill Maple Farm? The new addition of the covered bridge which you will get to experience when you visit there. Me? I thought the bridge had been there forever, it just fits the property.
There’s history at the Toad Hill Farm because this family has been producing maple 30+ years.
Speaking of property, let’s go inside and see what happens here.
Now inside is where all the Maple action happens. You will find a test kitchen that most would want as a Kitchen in their home. Of course, there is a gift shop and all the equipment where they perfect that tapped maple syrup.
What I want you to know is that they are not tapping syrup with a bucket. Nope, and it was interesting to learn how they do it, to be honest. You know how you see people with a bucket and you think that’s how it’s done?
Truth be told that is old school and Randy is new school and totally ‘crushing’ it on production and time efficiency in my opinion. The Sugarhouse we are in is definitely state-of-the-art which is what Bob from Blackhill Farm was talking about when he said King Of the Maple Syrup.
Most impressive was this wood-fired evaporator, creating energy efficiency in production. Like I said, very state-of-the-art.
When I see a farm I want to walk the property. However, when we were here the winds were gusting, it was about 10 ° and no thanks to an outdoor segment. My plan is to go back, visit again, and see the tubing in action and learn more.
Why? Because there are 10 miles of tubing and 4 miles of pipe collecting sap from 2100 maple trees. Which translates to 4000 taps on 100 acres. I have to see this and photo because I want to share this with all of you and satisfy my thirst of knowledge and seeing it in action. Cool right?
Sap collection varies and is collected sporadically during February, March, and April. Truly the collection is dependant on when the weather cooperates.
Did you know that there is a free hay wagon ride which is tractor pulled over the covered bridge? IT is about a 15-minute loop through the sugarbush. You can enjoy this in-season. I saw that covered bridge, and can’t wait to head back and capture Fall photos.
Maple syrup is essentially organic although they are not certified. Just so you know this, but I have tasted and purchased plenty to tell you how Awesome it is. Speaking of purchases, there is a fully stocked gift shop.
Baked goods happen during events only and may include maple cookies, maple cotton candy, and maple caramel corn. Also, so you can try before you buy, they offer samples of things visitors can make using the maple products.
You will also find products from other farms in the shop, like Maple flavored coffee, and tea.
Get A Tour and A Demonstration
Are you Jonesing for this experience? Toad Hill offers both tours and demonstrations throughout the year, you do need to call for reservations.
Nettle Meadow Cheese Farm and Animal Sanctuary
As a culinary writer, it’s always a huge plus to meet the owners of a food farm, even though their days are demanding. Their insight and explanation of process and growth have merit that should be praised.
Just so you all know, I went to the airport with CHEESE in my bag and TSA confiscated it. I have never been more upset in my life over something being taken. The part that makes me the most upset is the guy ahead of us, had a 1/2 bottle of water, a dog and a full can of Barbasol, all items were screened and sent through. Feel me not being very happy.
Now on with the story of cheese that should have made it home with me, but did not.
Award Winning Cheese Farm
I have to tell you, hats off to this Woman-Owned business and these ladies. First, let me share this, their cheeses are International and National Prize Winning Cheeses. Truth see the picture below.
Next, they are sold in Whole Foods throughout the USA. Oh Yeah. You are starting to understand why I adore these gals so much right? THere’s more though.
The Cheese Via Charcuterie Trays
One thing all my readers know is I am a Cheese gal and my love of Charcuterie trays is over-the-top. Nothing graces a charcuterie tray at my home unless I believe it is ‘the best’. I don’ t put basic cheddar on it, that’s garbage, but place a piece of Kunik on it and you are talking ‘Dana’.
IF you are a total cheese snob or are just entering the cheese world, ‘for the love of cheese’ the best of it is right in Thurman, at Nettle Meadow. Trust me, it’s the cheese your palate will thank you for. Grace those charcuterie trays for all your parties, gathering and entertaining with the Nettle Meadow cheeses.
Nettle Meadow Farm
I know why the cheese is so good. The women are amazing business women, but their pride and joy are their animals. Their love of over 300 goats and dozens of sheep results in premium cared for animals. That my dear friends translates to healthy and happy animals on a farm that creates ingredients from love. (believe what you want, but it’s my own theory and what I am going with!)
Watching them interact with the animals told me all I needed to know. Tasting the cheese was the finishing note. Cheese from Nettle Meadow is hand-crafted piece by piece and mold by mold.
Visit Here: 484 South Johnsburg Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885.
Kunik is the award-winning cheese, Gold Medalist (sounds like an Olympian and it could be for its incredible taste). It’s goat milk and Jersey cow cream. Your mouth will thank you for your kind deposit of a chunk.
As you also all know, I am a textures girl, hate thick stuff that spreads, but…. Fromage Blanc stole my heart. Have you ever wondered how honey lavender might taste in a spread? I’ll tell you straight out, it’s like a foodgasm about to take flight in your mouth.
Eat it by the spoonful or atop a cracker, crostini, or maybe on pita chips, or a fig cracker, then and only then will you understand. Also, just in case you are interested its a Silver Sophie Award winner.
One other of my favorite stops in the area was meeting with Wini and Gary of Martin’s Lumber. Gary is such an accomplished woodworker and his pieces are even in some Canadian homes.
When you want unique, impeccable quality wood pieces, Gary at Martin’s Lumber is who to seek out.
Wood used here is not your Home Depot grade, it’s superior in quality and Gary can share his knowledge of wood. Martin’s Lumber is actually is a certified tree farm and Gary promotes sustainable forestry management.
We also spent time with Wini, she’s amazing too. She spent time sharing her crafting skill of Lucyann Beads. These beads are made from recycled paper strips and turn into earrings, necklaces and bracelets. There’s a whole story here that I will delve into later.
From stepping stones to Charcuterie to benches for outside and inside, rustic wood signs for your homes and business, Martin’s Lumber is you stop.
What I want you to know most is that each farm has its own vibe. Everyone is kind and offers quality products. I want to share so much more, but you just need to go and enjoy. Get to Thurman and enjoy the area ~ DANA XO
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