Last Wednesday, as I drove down Royalton Turnpike in Barnard, then veered up a forked driveway and eventually parked, I felt transported out of Vermont. It was lunchtime and an opportunity to try something completely new and different. At the driveway's final curvature, I was faced with a large Tuscan-mustard colored barn on a sturdy stone foundation holding commanding views north and east over Barnard's rolling hills. This was not anticipated, and when I walked up the curling path to its open terrace in the hot July sunshine, I stepped onto the large granite slabs and thought I had stepped into Tuscany. Welcome to Fable Farm Fermentory!
There are some exciting events transpiring in Barnard. Many of you will be familiar since 2008 with Fable Farm's weekly collection of musicians, locals and visitors who gather to drink ciders and feast on delicious specials every Thursday evening. Now there is a new barn, completed last year, called the Rumney Barn across the road at 1525 Royalton Turnpike comprising the next steps of Fable Farm's dreams.
Every Wednesday now through end of August 2017 a charming farm lunch is open to all for a contribution of $15 per person. That includes all you might wish to eat from an array of the finest farm-to-table produce. The lettuce leaves were so perfectly fresh that, despite their lovely, light wet dressing, their pointed tips stood upright and proud in the large mahogany bowls - almost like miniature multi-pronged sails in a sea of palest greens. If you have been fortunate enough to enjoy seafood but hours from the sea, then you will appreciate the offerings out of the ground but hours before, lovingly washed and manipulated then seasoned into their tasty endgame. There were two soups: a thick creamy broth of curried cauliflower and ginger and steaming from the companion cauldron, a carnivore's night owl soup with sausage, sauerkraut, kale and paprika. Apart from those proud lettuce leaves in their sesame ginger vinaigrette, there was a mashed spud and turnip gratin, a creamy kale casserole and an Argentinian black bean salad with cilantro, mint and peppers. As all of this was brought up from the kitchen downstairs, others carried in large trays of the homemade bread: a rye with a thick crunchy crust and a marbled fig cake which even comes accompanied by red or black currant sauce. Unparalleled, simple country fare.
When you sit down with your heaping plate, there are several tables, namely two long ones, set up with the 'Tuscan' arches and beams as backdrop. Seated facing out, I stared at a hillside of wildflowers with vetch, daisies, and clover along with two bobbing blonde heads-resident three-and-four-year-olds laughing within the grasses.
It all begins just before the noon hour and lasts the time it takes hearty farmers and curious food lovers to converge, ingest and emerge most satisfied. It was just the loveliest way to spend noontime on a Wednesday thanks to the prowess of the chef, Susan Salter-Reynolds, and her culinary skills. This is the quality of chef who is so gifted, never a recipe, just an inborn feel for what will be concocted based on the morning's resplendent bounty.
A vegetable farm, a weekly venue, fruit and honey wine, cider, lunch and organic Vermont wine...Many exciting things featuring Barnard indeed.
Directly from the site:
Every Wednesday from 11:30-1 on the Fable Fermentory patio (1525 Royalton Turnpike) a hearty farm lunch is served. Susan Salter-Reynolds whips up something filling and delicious for the folks farming in the Basin and all others who want to join.
Soup, mixed greens, home made bread, tabouli salad with Heartwood Farm wheat, different cheeses, fermented vegetables, rice balls, etc....it is for sure a veritable feast.
All you can eat.
Continue reading more below:
To receive automatic notification with each new food post, click here
To read about gourmet dining in Royalton, click here
Meet him: Gourmet chef at the Norwich Farmers' Market click here
for one of Vermont's finest restaurants