When our Stone Age ancestors graced the land at the beginning of time, hunting and gathering was their main way of getting food. The nomadic tribes would travel around by season, looking for food. But in the end, this got tiring. In winter, food was scarce and often, tribes would battle for food. Things weren’t looking good. Until one unknown woman made a revolutionary discovery. Farming. That, if you plant the seed of a crop, new ones will grow. And it was a heck of a discovery. Fast forward a few million years, and farming is still our main way of getting food. Whether it’s farming sprawling aces of industrial corn, growing organic lettuce for Whole Foods, or whether it’s growing fresh and wholesome food from a family farm, farming gives us what we need. Milk. Eggs. Cheese. Meat. Fruit. Vegetables. Wheat. Beans. Corn. What we want (because it tastes good) and need for survival. And not to mention, fresh food makes GOOD meals, and a better cooking experience.
So, you’re probably wondering where I am going with this. Ever since I was a little baby (maybe 1 or 2?) there is a place I have been going to that has always made me happy. It’s called Fairview Farm. Fairview Farm, located in Bridgehampton, NY, where my family often heads for in summer, is a family farm. It is a community down there. Run by a family, Harry, Barbara, Nathan and Meredith, Fairview Farm is as close as you can get to the small farms of the past that supplied everyone with everything. In the summer, fresh veggies and fruits and baked goods make everyone happy, and their fall festivities are always fun. So here, dive into some memories, reviews and stories from Fairview Farm at Mecox. I hope you enjoy.
The Location and the Vibe:
If you go to Fairview Farm for long enough, they begin to recognize you there. Even if they don’t know your name, they will ask how it’s going, what’s up, what’s new. They will say, here try this new donut to the little ones, and they will help you choose what you need. And if you are a newcomer, they welcome you with open arms. It is located in a gorgeous location. In summer, the sun shines and a gentle breeze blows through the fields. It is hot, but not scorching, as the farm sits near Mecox Pond. In the Autumn, it is chilly and crisp, but there is a fresh feeling all the time. And no matter what the weather, it is always sunny inside the pretty little farmstand, decorated with wooden cutouts of pies and vegetables. Once, we arrived and Harry offered to take us for a ride on the tractor. He drove us around the farm and we gasped at the cornfields and turkeys and chickens and when we got to the trailer where they bake everything, he handed us each a fresh cookie. Welcome to Fairview Farm.
Pies and Cookies and the Sort
The first thing you should know is that a few years ago, the New York Times just happened to call Fairview’s pies some of the best they’d ever had. Which is saying a lot. And it is true. But for those of us who are (*cough cough*) not the New York Times, Fairview’s pies earn a tippity top spot. As in. Best. Pies. Ever. Harry’s daughter Meredith makes the pies, and oh does she make them well. In the summer, classics like blueberry grace the case of boxed pies at the counter. The sweet little jammy pockets of berry hold their shape and spread their juice, and leak out the edges. The crusts are flaky and buttery and incredible and the crumble on top is delightfully crispy. They also feature medleys like Peach Raspberry, where slices of warm peach mingle with the tangy raspberry filling, making the summer flavor explode in your mouth. And around Thanksgiving, never miss the pumpkin, a creamy and spicy classic, or the pecan, which crunches delightfully and leaves the sweetness clinging to your tongue. The cookies are excellent, too. Bagged and wrapped in green twine, the chocolate chip variety is chewy and cakey and crispy at once, and sometimes you can be lucky and get ’em warm. The gingersnaps are very gingery in a very good way, soft and moist and molassesy. The donuts are to die for. He makes warm apple cider varieties, and pumpkin and banana when you are lucky. Harry makes my favorite challah on earth, soft inside and crispy on top and dotted with satisfying flakes of sea salt. And his bread isn’t half bad either. You can order quiches and other tarts custom, and they can make it for you to stop by and pick up. No matter the season, a good slice of pie will fill you up. In fact, now that I think about it, I have a peach Fairview pie in my freezer from this summer. No joke. Hold on. I need a pie break.
Produce and other Healthy Things
Outside the farmstand are large wooden crates full of produce, sheltered from the sun beneath white tents. Plump eggplant, colorful peppers, kale, lettuce, gorgeous tomatoes, avocados, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, gourds, onions, potatoes, corn of all the colors, and more overflow from the tables, and inside the farmstand, berries fill up green paper cartons, as do mushrooms, zucchini blossoms and more. In the fridge, sweet green tea and black currant juice (like grape, but with a tangy aftertaste) fill up bottles. Homemade Fresh Mozzarella and burrata sit in containers, and homemade guacamole from their fresh veggies lies in the racks. A cozy whiteboard in the back over the counter is covered in smiley faces and a list of in season delicacies. The produce is fresh and refreshing, too. You can taste the earth a bit, and you can feel the difference between that and a carton of Driscoll’s berries (nothin’ wrong with Driscoll’s, I’m just saying…) If you buy fresh food, you will feel better. It is simple. The simplicity of the local produce from Harry’s is amazing because you know where it came from. In fact, you might have seen it growing in a field a month earlier. That’s what makes the difference.
I’m going to start with Autumn. In the Fall, Fairview overflows with ripe pumpkins and pies and it’s a whole new ball game. Across the road is the Milk Pail, where you-pick apples dot the trees, and you can pick up a few. But after that, head back to Harry’s, and that’s the real treat. I have so many memories of running through the dry grassy area, my tiny hand clutching the dollar bill that my dad gave to me, the wind blowing my hair, and the crispness of fall and brightly hued leaves surrounding me. The dollar is for the corn cannon, a Fairview contraption. You pay a buck, and you get three chances. They hand you a piece of dry corn to stick in the cannon, and then you aim at a target, and shoot. And if you win? FREE PUMPKIN TIME! 🙂 Over by the stand, they pop popcorn in an old movie style machine, and someone mans the ribbon fries, made with a machine where you place a potato in a hole and push it through a grater-like thing, adding up to ribbons of sweet and white potatoes, fried to a crisp and topped with salt and pepper, or good old fashioned Heinz. A cardboard sign advertises “FRANKFURTERS: HEBREW NATIONAL” over the wooden shack, and someone inside dishes out pumpkin pie by the slice, creamy and spice filled. The corn table, for little tykes is filled with unpopped popcorn, shimmery and smooth, that they use instead of sand. A ginormous pyramid of pumpkins is piled on straw bales in the center of it all, next to the makeshift farmstand. The main attraction, though, is the corn maze, affectionately dubbed the Fairview Corn MAiZE. You head in to the inviting white tent where Harry waits at a desk, and you choose a category. The way the MAiZE works is that you pick a category of trivia (the categories go from Girl Scouts to Teambuilding to History to Baseball) and head into phase 1. As you move through the maze, you encounter small signposts with trivia questions and a list of answers [i.e.: Who was the 44th president of the US? a. Barack Obama (turn right) b. Ronald Reagan (turn left) c. George W. Bush (straight forward)] There are lookout spots along the way allowing you to check out the maze from an aerial view– an awesome sight complete with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and breezy salty air. But never fear, you will get out eventually and it is immensely fun in the process.
In summer, the air is warm and breezy, because FFAM is right near the beach. You can arrive early in Spring to coo over the tiny newborn piglets writhing around in the mud (so cute!), or check out a cow milking session. On hot days, the stand is crowded with people seeking Key Lime Pie, and you can stop by for a free Edible East End magazine, where Fairview was featured a few years ago. I often bike or jog with my mom or friends down the little carless lane past Fairview that leads to a little bay beach looking out on Sagg Pond, and a frigid carton of currant juice is a refreshing prize. When I was much younger, my favorite thing in the world was to stop by Fairview on a car ride or on a bike trip (at that point I was still riding in the mini seat on the back of my dad’s bike) to grab a honey stick, a plastic stick filled with sweet honey. These gems rest in the back of the store on a little shelf. The flavors range a lot, from almond to regular to root beer to vanilla to cinnamon to pink lemonade (I know, right!). The sun shines crisply, and you can watch the fresh donuts draining on paper towels before being bagged and sold, and ribbon fries galore are available. Often, you can catch Harry smiling behind the counter, dishing out Meredith’s pies, Nathan’s fresh honey or his own challah (don’t forget to buy a “Harry’s Challah” T-shirt). The atmosphere is electric, and you can feel the warm summer energy simmering through the tomatoes and potatoes and zucchini blossoms. It feels free, like summer will never end (unfortunately, it did because here I am, procrastinating while I should have been studying for my math unit exam).
They are adorable. You can pass the horses wandering in the pasture on the way down the lane, and when I was younger, if we got there at the right time, I loved watching them milk the cows. The pigs are so cute and you can see the brand new piglets in spring. The chickens are cute, too, and the rooster crows above it all. There are sheep, and more and you can almost forget you are just 98.7 miles from the city.
This has been a long Long LONG post, but I hope it has taught you to treasure the small farms you have around you. The world is filled with industrial organic businesses and sprawling pesticide filled cornfields. But the food from these farms tastes better, and we feel better eating it. Not just because it is healthy– it has soul and heart that makes you happy. You can taste the corn cannon, and the crisp fall days, and laughs in the corn maze, and summer heat, and bike rides and oceans and spring piglets. You can taste Fairview Farm.
Thanks for reading! ALSO: Thanks to WordPress for these incredible new picture design formats– super cool (all photos from this post taken by yours truly this August).
And, as always
KEEP COOKING 😉
Next up: Nutella Pecan Pie (swoon)