At this time of year farms across the state are brimming with corn and tomatoes, zucchini and beans. And if you stop by one of those farms to pick up some of that fresh produce it’s then up to you to find a way to prepare it at home. But at Ski Hearth Farm in Sugar Hill you can pick up dinner such as new potatoes with season pesto; chilled chickpea-tahini soup and a salad, all ready to go.
Davis and Tina Mangold recently bought the well-known farm once owned by Sel Hannah. And it was their idea to start preparing carry out dinners.
“So, the Farmer’s Feast idea was sort of a group thing between my team here, which is myself, my wife, my two chefs and the farm manager and basically it was sort of a thought of how can we take some of the farm produce and turn that into sort of a feast for the community.”
“It’s all vegetarian and all gluten free.”
The meals cost $9.95 each and are offered three nights a week.
In a nearby building the kitchen staff is cutting up tomatoes and working on the night’s special:
Holly Miller is the farm chef and it’s her job look to come up with the menu.
“The feast is based on what we’re harvesting that week, that day. Whatever we have a surplus of, finds its way into our pot and then onto the plate.”
“It poses a lot of challenges. We are constantly thinking and shifting gears in the middle of the day. That keeps it really fun and exciting.”
“But fortunately when you are cooking with plant foods and vegetables it is not limiting at all. There’s a world of possibilities. So, we just keep our minds open and we are all tasting and adjusting and throwing out ideas as we go along.”
Tina Mangold says the goal is to provide good healthy foods – and support the community including keeping their 20 employees working.
“It is almost like this home-cooked, loving meal you are getting that is prepared with ingredients with the most integrity that we can find. You know, good oils. We don’t serve anything out of that kitchen that I wouldn't serve to my own family.”
And the menu has to follow a family belief.
“The main thing that we believe for eating in our family is that it has to taste really good. Because no matter how healthy something is, if it doesn’t nourish your palate then it is not going to nourish your body. If you are eating your kale with a grudge then it is not going to have any nutritional value for you.”
It’s pouring down rain at the Ski Hearth Farm when Carl Lippmann of Franconia arrives.
“I like it because it is fresh food. Not too many places you can take your wife out to eat for twenty bucks.”
Robert Ball, who was with the 10th Mountain Division in World War II and lives in Franconia, is another regular customer.
‘It’s all organic and these people do it in a manner that tastes good. It’s easier to do this. We do this twice a week.”
“It’s a convenience and this type of thing is extremely good.”