Embrace Freshness, Support Local: Thornapple CSA's New Journey Begins!

Farmstead Favorites: Rediscovering the Joys of Seasonal Eating

June 27, 2024

Table of Contents

Farmstead Favorites: Rediscovering the Joys of Seasonal Eating

Shelburne Farms: A Culinary and Seasonal Delight

As I stroll through the sprawling meadows and forested trails of Shelburne Farms, I’m transported to a simpler time, when the rhythms of the land dictated the pace of life. This 1,400-acre historic estate, now a National Historic Landmark and environmental education nonprofit, is a local treasure that captivates even the most seasoned of travelers.

Whether we’re casually exploring the grounds or indulging in a leisurely meal at the inn, Shelburne Farms has a way of slowing down time and reconnecting us with the joys of seasonal eating. As a frequent visitor, I’ve come to appreciate the farm’s ability to transport me from the hustle and bustle of daily life into a world where the simple pleasures of fresh, locally-sourced food take center stage.

Breakfast at the Inn: A Taste of Old-World Elegance

One of my favorite ways to experience Shelburne Farms is through the lens of its breakfast service at the historic inn. Unlike the more formal dinner experience, the morning meal feels more like a casual gathering of family, with the crimson silk damask-walled, marble-floored dining room serving as the perfect backdrop for a relaxed and nourishing start to the day.

As I settle into my seat, the view of the rolling lawn and sparkling Lake Champlain beyond sets the stage for a truly tranquil experience. Guests engaged in a game of croquet on the lawn add to the old-world ambiance, transporting me to a bygone era when the rhythms of the day were dictated by the land and the seasons.

Honoring the Harvest: Seasonal Specialties from the Market Garden

As I peruse the breakfast menu, I’m delighted to see that the offerings reflect the bounty of the Shelburne Farms market garden. Executive chef John Patterson proudly shares that the vegetable hash, a personal favorite, is a “good expression of the freshest harvest” from the on-site garden and other local farms. Depending on the season, the hash might feature a vibrant array of summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, or the heartier flavors of sweet potatoes, salad turnips, green garlic, and chard.

I can’t resist the temptation of the biscuits and sausage gravy special, with its flaky, sage-flecked biscuits smothered in a rich, herby cream gravy made with Vermont Salumi’s maple-sage sausage. As I take my first bite, I’m struck by the depth of flavor and the way the dish celebrates the simple, honest ingredients that the farm is known for.

From Farm to Table: Exploring the Market Garden

After breakfast, I can’t resist the opportunity to explore the source of some of the produce that graced my plate. Following the winding path behind the coach barn, I arrive at the two-acre market garden, where I’m greeted by the enthusiastic market gardener, Jamie Hayes, who is busy harvesting vibrant rhubarb destined for the inn’s dessert menu.

As I stroll through the garden, I’m struck by the lush, verdant abundance of the crops. Peas clamber up trellises, choy sum blooms with sunny flowers, and the chard displays its glossy green leaves, much like the ones I had savored in the breakfast hash. Market garden manager Josh Carter greets me warmly, eager to hear if I had enjoyed my meal and to share the story of how this productive plot of land supplies the inn and the farm’s other culinary offerings.

Celebrating the Seasons at Thornapple CSA

As I leave Shelburne Farms, my senses are heightened, and I’m filled with a renewed appreciation for the joys of seasonal eating. This experience has reminded me of the deep connections between the land, the food we consume, and the rhythms of our lives. It’s a sentiment that resonates deeply with the mission of Thornapple CSA, the community-supported agriculture service I’ve been a part of for the past several years.

Like Shelburne Farms, Thornapple CSA is dedicated to celebrating the bounty of the seasons and nurturing a sense of community around the shared experience of fresh, locally-grown produce. Each week, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of my CSA box, filled with a vibrant array of seasonal fruits and vegetables that inspire me to rediscover the joys of cooking and eating with the rhythm of the land.

Rediscovering the Joys of Seasonal Eating

As the team at Thornapple CSA reminds us, there’s a profound sense of joy and connection that comes from embracing the rhythms of the seasons and reconnecting with the land that sustains us. Whether it’s the crisp, refreshing greens of spring, the vibrant bounty of summer, the hearty roots and brassicas of fall, or the comforting warmth of winter squash and citrus, each season offers its own unique culinary delights.

By placing our trust in the hands of local farmers and embracing the unpredictability of the harvest, we open ourselves up to new culinary adventures and the opportunity to rediscover the simple pleasures of well-grown, expertly prepared food. As Jamie Beck, a celebrated French photographer and proponent of seasonal living, so eloquently states, “Eating seasonally is not just about the food. It’s about connecting with the rhythms of nature, and finding joy in the simple moments of each day.”

Embracing the Unexpected with Thornapple CSA

At Thornapple CSA, we celebrate the unpredictability of the harvest and the opportunity it presents to explore new culinary horizons. Each week, our members eagerly unpack their CSA boxes, filled with a vibrant array of fresh, locally-grown produce that may include everything from familiar favorites to unexpected delights.

Vegetable Typical Preparation
Kale Massaged kale salad, sautéed with garlic
Beets Roasted, pickled, or added to a grain bowl
Kohlrabi Slaw, roasted, or added to a stir-fry
Celeriac Mashed, roasted, or incorporated into a soup
Fennel Braised, shaved into a salad, or used in a pasta dish

By embracing the seasonal shifts and the ever-changing bounty of the harvest, our members are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones, experiment with new recipes, and rediscover the simple joys of cooking with fresh, flavorful ingredients. At Thornapple CSA, we believe that this journey of discovery is at the heart of what it means to eat seasonally and connect with the land that sustains us.

Savoring the Moments, Nourishing the Community

As I reflect on my experience at Shelburne Farms and my ongoing journey with Thornapple CSA, I’m struck by the profound sense of community and connection that surrounds the celebration of seasonal eating. Whether it’s sharing a leisurely breakfast with fellow guests, exploring the vibrant market garden, or gathering with my fellow CSA members to swap recipes and culinary tips, these moments of togetherness are what truly nourish both body and soul.

In a world that often moves at a breakneck pace, the act of slowing down, savoring the seasons, and honoring the land that provides for us is a powerful antidote to the stresses of modern life. By embracing the rhythms of the land and the cyclical nature of the harvest, we not only nourish ourselves with delicious, wholesome food, but we also cultivate a deeper sense of connection, community, and gratitude for the abundance that surrounds us.

So, the next time you find yourself craving a moment of respite and a renewed appreciation for the joys of seasonal eating, I encourage you to follow in my footsteps and explore the wonders of Shelburne Farms, or to join the vibrant community of Thornapple CSA and embark on your own journey of culinary discovery. Who knows what delicious surprises and fulfilling connections await you along the way?

About Us

Thornapple CSA: A community-driven initiative championing sustainable agriculture. We connect members with fresh, organic produce, celebrating the bond between land and community.

Follow On

Subscrive Our Newsletter
To Get More Updates

© 2023 Thornapplecsa.com. All Rights Reserved