Sunday, July 10, 2016

Appleton Farms- Farm to Table and more

Friday night I rushed home from work, fed the kitties, changed my clothes and picked up my sister at her house. I couldn't wait to head up to Ipswich, MA and Appleton Farms for their farm to table dinner.  As soon as we pulled into the entrance of the property, all the tensions of the day went away.

The weather was cool, a perfect temperature for outdoor dining, live music and lawn games. What a peaceful setting.

The sign said play & have fun. I did not know how much fun we really would have.

Here's a view from the field. The tables were ready outside and there were more inside the barn.

Fences and stone walls encircled the field and property. Hay bales were set up as seating for listening to the live entertainment for the evening.

The band was named The Austin Torpedoes. They were wonderful. We really enjoyed their performance.

Lemonade was available at a self serve station.
You could buy beer or wine from the Ipswich Ale Brewery Truck. Yes, the spiggots were right on the side of the vehicle!

Meet Billy the goat, he was so gentle with the children.

The kids played on the swings, petted the goats, played badminton and ran around the huge field.

Then it was time for dinner. The food was from Bambolina. The pizza was baked on a wood fired grill. Yay! I love a crunchy crust on my pizza.

I had never tried bacon butter before but now that I had it on a roll I am a fan.

Here's the evening's menu from Bambolina.

I loved watching the kids play and just be kids. This little girl was stylish.

I loved the rustic, casual atmosphere of the evening. It was a great way to unwind from the work week. Sitting in the open air, enjoying a delicious meal, listening to some fabulous music, and having fun with some of the kids.

 Here's the view from the inside of the barn looking out. We had dinner at community tables.

The goats and sheep had their own special area.

Here's my dinner. Appleton Farmer Pizza (roasted garlic cream, harvest vegetables, pecorino and mozzarella).The entrĂ©e was fire roasted chicken galantine with chard and ricotta stuffing, toasted orzo, ratatouille. and of course, that whipped bacon butter and a roll. For dessert, dark chocolate mousse with espresso jelly and cream.

We ate dinner with this couple.

And this is Benjamin. He was pretending to be a walrus. His little sister Morgan and twin Hadley joined us too. Their mother told us they attend the farm dinners often and the kids were going to farm camp at Appleton too.

Billy was taken for an after dinner walk.

We saw cows on the farm too.

There was a cow parade after dinner as the cows were herded to another section of the farm for the evening.

Here's the cow parade.

The band hardly took a break and kids and their parents danced to the music.

Oh, and here is a display I liked in the barn. I love riding boots and that trunk was fabulous!
So I am crossing my second item off my 2016 Summer Bucket List. I had a great time at Appleton Farms. Have a feeling I will be back.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Bucket List 2016

It's a little late in the season but I have finally created my Summer Bucket List. I don't have too much on it. I do reserve the right to add some events if something really cool comes up.

Here they are in no particular order:

1.  Hull Illumination Night- illumination of Hull Harbor, Hull, MA   7/30
2.  Fourth of July fireworks and parade- Wakefield, MA   7/4 Done
3.  Farm to Table dinner- Appleton Farms, Ipswich, MA  7/8  Done
4.  Daytrip to Brewster, MA and Susan Branch book signing   7/28
5.  Lobster BLT @ Stonewall Kitchen, York, ME  no date yet
6.  Attend a Waterfire lighting, Providence, RI 7/23
7.  Play skeeball and view the fireworks at Hampton Beach, NH  July or August
8.  Melrose Summer Stroll- Melrose, MA 7/29
9.  Rockport illumination night and fireworks- Rockport, MA  8/16
10. Dinner at the Colony Hotel at sunset- Kennebunkport, ME  August

I plan to post about these events as the Summer progresses. How about you? What's on your Summer Bucket List?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Melrose Urban Farms Tour

The sign in the window stated that there would be a Melrose Urban Farms Tour on June 25th. Melrose had farms? How is that possible? It's a city.

Well I can attest Melrose has at least 12 urban farms and every one of them is fantastic in their own unique and whimsical way. Mike in the photo above certainly got into the spirit.

Those of us on the tour learned about beekeeping and got samples of honey from the very bees in the backyard of this woman's home.

Some urban farmers grow their vegetables in their front yards in raised beds they created themselves.

Others really do plant happiness or at least they share happiness. I was quite taken with the homeowners and their lovely gardens.

Some gardens were so downright pretty, fun, and colorful they made me smile.

Others had refreshments available and a backyard oasis so gorgeous it invited lingering just a little bit longer.

It was fun to see all the decorations in the gardens and farms. A small front yard and large backyard was a common theme.

We saw plenty of chickens and hens and the cool enclosures that house them and protect them from the elements and predators.

Some of the spaces were very zen.

And the goats were very zen too. This home had a backyard petting zoo.

This goat house looked like the Tiny Houses I've seen on HGTV!

Some of the entrances were so interesting you just knew the backyard would be cool.

Some of the gardens/farms were dedicated to family members and were well planned to maximize space.

Others can laugh at themselves.

These chickens were babies. They needed assistance to reach their water bottles.

Some adorable little girls were more than happy to show us their fairy garden. There were of course fairy lights for nighttime ambience.

Raised beds and some netting were the keys to keeping some critters out.

Some had native plants and were sanctuaries for wildlife.

Yes, beekeeping is very popular in Melrose.

This raised bed has been pressure treated so no vegetables will be grown here. The gnome protects a lavender crop instead.

We appreciated the little touches from some of the urban farmers. At this garden, we had a choice of lemon or cucumber water.

Fountains, lilypads, koi ponds, so much to see at some of the homes.

And even a screech owl house. The screech owls have yet to use it I was told by the homeowner. She thinks the house is too "new". Perhaps next year.
The Melrose Urban Farmers Tour was inspiring and educational. Who knew Melrose was such a hot spot for urban farming? Certainly not me. By the way, there will be a tour next year and new farms have already been added. Can't wait to see what next year brings!


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