Farm Restaurants Are All the Rage
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As the evening sun casts a soft, hazy halo around the emerald fields and relaxed diners, it’s evident that Hawkins serves a slice of heaven.
Restaurant at Elderberry Pond in New York is gourmet
Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region of New York, the Restaurant at Elderberry Pond sits in the middle of the Lego family’s 100-acre farm. Lunch and dinner patrons view orchards, vineyards and gardens while feasting on roasted organic free-range chicken, freshly dug organic potatoes, and just-picked vegetables of the day. The aromas of crisp apple pies and sun-drenched, raspberry-filled tarts float through the dining room.
“We have a passion for sharing fresh, local foods from our farm,” says farmer Lou Lego, who opened the restaurant in 2004. “We started a food store in a small stone building and sold prepared soups and coleslaw made with farm ingredients. People told us, ‘We love your food, and you really need to open a restaurant so we can eat on the farm.’”
Making the leap from farmer to restaurateur was natural, Lego says. His wife is a nutritionist and his son, Chris, attended the Culinary Institute and worked as a chef in Atlanta. Now Chris works as Elderberry Pond’s executive chef, and he can be found marinating pork from Mulefoot heritage pigs or creating sublime apple desserts from some of the farm’s 100 apple varieties.
“The trick is to create a menu that matches what’s in season,” Lego says. Vegetables appear on plates just hours after being picked.
Lego’s restaurant is evidence that the farm restaurant trend is strong.
“We’re starting to get a lot of culinary students who are interested in doing internships here,” Lego says, “Not just for the restaurant. They want the farm restaurant experience.”
As crowds gather for these unique experiences, it’s clear the farm restaurant concept is here to stay.
Sarah Miller is a freelance writer from Perrysburg, Ohio. She covers a variety of topics, but especially enjoys tasting her way across America. Celebrating farmers and food origins is important, and she enjoys sharing these experiences with her family and readers.
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