Monday, July 28, 2008

Breakfast at Verrill Farms

One of the coolest things about Boston is how easy it is to get out of. You can get on a boat, or you can get in the car. Either way, you can reach a fabulous someplace in just half an hour.

Verrill Farm is borderline fabulous place, and is located just about half an hour outside of the city. Verrill supplies a bunch of Boston area restaurants with fresh produce. They also hold events throughout the summer to highlight various fruits and vegetables coming off their farm. Since I am a dork and therefore, on the Verrill Farm mailing list, I found out about a blueberry pancake breakfast to be held on the farm on a Saturday morning.

And off I went, in my car (nope, AC just won’t work unless I am going 80 mph). It was me and the rest of the yuppies leaving the comfort of their Saturday beds for the pursuit of something local, something good, and something with bacon in it.

Oh yes. There was bacon.

I realize that the event wasn’t called a “bacon breakfast” (how good would that be though!), but that’s the part I would like to describe first. The bacon, if you haven’t guessed, was awesome. Really thick and slightly chewy, not too greasy. Being compulsive, I pulled off the big chunks of fat under the misapprehension that I can’t (shouldn’t?) put an piece of obvious fat in my mouth. Oh silly me. That fat was the best part. It was a weird combination of light and rich, crunchy and melty. Delicious. Pig fat tastes good.

Obviously, the yuppies and I were onto something. The pancakes were great. Freshly made, griddled in bulk out of a cartoon-sized batter dispenser, sprinkled with copious amounts of fresh blueberries. The pancakes were tender and not too sweet, the heated berries exploding when bitten.

Toward the end of the breakfast, the Verrill people brought out trays of blueberry pies (all baked on the premises) for a real live pie eating contest (the citified yuppie in me felt all sorts of country and small-town for a brief moment). People got good and dirty eating the pies without using their hands. Blueberry juice ear to ear. The winner licked the tin clean. It was amazing. I gagged.

A walk around the farm and farm shop revealed that the farm wasn’t yet producing very much. For Boston, July is still relatively early in the season. The corn was not quite ready to be picked, the tomatoes still a couple of weeks off. The little farm shop had the same stuff as Whole Foods, likely from the same suppliers. Weird. It was a big city version of a small town farm. The illusion held long enough for me to leave happy, relaxed, stuffed full of bacon, and hot as all sin from the blasting sun. I then sat on my couch in front of the AC and drank beer the rest of the day. Is that not a perfect Saturday for a yuppie such as myself?


leena! said...

Blueberry pancakes AND heaps of bacon? Sounds perfect to me. But I would like to challenge you to do a bacon breakfast (and to invite me to it). Or better yet, a bacon dinner party. I have a recipe for bacon and apple pie that is burning a hole in my pocket!

Mai said...


this yuppie wants heaps of bacon!!!

One Food Guy said...

Wow that is some serious pancake action on the griddle!

JC said...

Gotta love the fat. That goes for beef & pork fat. And I know you love duck fat. Chicken? Not so much.

You accomplished something here that I expect is one of the goals of a food writer - I could taste those pancakes. Your description of the pancakes was very evocative, especially the "heated berries exploding when bitten" part. Bravo!

Anna said...

Leena - Bacon and apple pie?? Oh dang. I heard of an apple and cheddar cheese pie and thought that was the best thing ever, but a bacon and apple pie may well top it. Bacon breakfast doesn't seem all that hard to do... except for one's arteries, of course. You name the time and place, and the bacon throwdown will take place.

Maiya - Hi! You can't seriously tell me that you are hurting for pig products in Mexico! That ain't right.

One Food Guy - Serious action is right! There were two people manning the griddle - one poured the batter and the other flipped. They both looked very hot and uncomfortable.

Why thank you, JC! [curtsy] Honestly though, can't say I am a fan of the beef fat. Marbling is nice, but a big piece of fat hanging off a steak is not going to attract me nearly as much as the same piece of fat on a strip of bacon. I am pretty selective about my fats, actually!

Marie said...

That sounds like a delightful way to spend a Saturday. Bacon, blueberries, and beer -- it's like food alliteration. :P

Anna said...

Marie - Food alliteration! I love it. That's great. Thanks for stopping by!

Joe and Kristina said...

Hey Anna,

My sister and her boyfriend are visiting Boston this weekend for a school conference and they are looking for cheap eats. They are public scool teachers in Oakland California and get a tiny per diem for eating. I have not lived in Boston for more than ten years. Any suggestions?

Thanks and I hope all is well,


Anna said...

Hey there, Joe. Since I don't know where your sister will be staying, I am going to go all over the map with the suggestions. Hope some of them are reasonably near where she will be.

There is a really good fast food Mexican in the Fenway, El Pelon. One of my favorite places in Boston, Audubon, is nearby, and has really fantastic food that is very reasonably priced (it's on Beacon street near St Mary's). Emma's is a really awesome pizzeria in Kendall Sq - really thin crust and great toppings. Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown has really good Chinese food (just as long as you don't mind the, umm, ambiance). Brookline Family Restaurant is totally not as sketchy as it sounds - it's a Turkish place in Brookline Village. Really good adana kabob. It's next door to another great Chinese place - Sichuan Garden. And just up the street is Orinoco. It's not "cheap eats" per se, but it is very very reasonably priced for what you get - awesome Venezuelan food.

If you tell me which area of the city to focus on, maybe I will be more helpful. Feel like I am just spitting stuff out right now. Hope it's at least a little helpful!

Joe and Kristina said...

Hey Anna,

They are staying in Copley Square so the information is perfect. That's twice your blog (you) has has helped us. Good karma coming your way.

Regards from Gurgaon, India,

Joe & Kristina

Catherine N said...

Oh No!!!

Thought you might be interested...Verrill farm needs some love!

Hope all is well with you Anna!