Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pepin Farm, Easthampton - Load up on farm fresh vegetables while you can!

One of the best things about living in the Pioneer Valley (aka the Valley) is the bounty of roadside farms, produce stands and farmer's markets that pop up in the late spring and offer wonderful fruits, vegetables and flowers through the early fall. Being mostly home-grown operations, many of these places don't have a lot of advertising, so you just have to stumble across them—or get a tip from a local in the know.

Earlier in the summer when we had just moved to Easthampton, I made the mistake of buying corn at the grocery store because I couldn't think of a place that was on my way home to buy it. My husband took one bite and said "no thanks." If you haven't had fresh, sweet butter & sugar corn from the Valley, you just don't know what you're missing. Once you try it - you'll never go back to grocery store corn.

As luck would have it, I took a new way to work a few days later and discovered the Pepin Farm on East Street in Easthampton. It's on the left as you're driving from Easthampton to Northampton (or on the right in reverse). There are a couple of signs, but they're right in front of the house, so you have to be going slow enough and looking for it or you'll miss the driveway. The farm stand is run out of the family garage and is open from 10am to 6pm Monday - Saturday, 10-5 on Sundays.

The selection at Pepin Farm, like all farm stands, varies with the season. Early in the summer they had berries such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. Then corn season came upon us and every morning the back of the shop was piled high with 2 types of corn—butter & sugar and white. I prefer the butter & sugar—so sweet and juicy, you don't need to add real butter to it. They've also had green peppers, cucumbers, squash & zucchini and tomatoes for most of the season.

Everything I've tried from the Pepin Farm has been incredibly fresh and perfectly ripe. No mealy tomatoes, squishy cucumbers or dried out corn like you might find in the local grocery store. And while the prices might be a little higher than the grocery store (for example, about $5 for a dozen ears of corn or $2.40 for a pound of tomatoes), it's well worth the price for the incredible taste.

Just remember to bring your own bags. The Pepin Farm is often low on bags, so "go green" and reuse your own while supporting local farmers. (That's a 1-2 go green punch, I'd say!)

No comments: