Get a Taste of Washington County, NY: From Farm to Table
It's no secret Washington County is known for its incredible agritourism opportunities. But what does that really entail? If up to now, you've only visited the occasional farmers market to purchase locally sourced products, you are missing out on a veritable treasure trove of farm to table experiences.
The entire county is full of not just farmers markets, but farms and farm stores, craft beverage producers, cheese producers, and beyond. Check out how you can support your local community while enjoying fresh and seasonal food and beverages in nearby Washington County.
Argyle Cheese Farmer Store & Bakery
In April 2020, the popular Argyle Cheese Farmer opened a new farm store in Hudson Falls to help make it even easier for customers to purchase their products. While the shop sells the same high-quality aged cheese, cheese curds, and fresh yogurt people have come to know and love, you can also buy take-and-bake pizzas, baked goods, beef and pork, "Just A2" milk, and seasonal items.
During your trip to the Argyle Cheese Farmer Store & Bakery, immerse yourself in food and farming by watching the staff make cheese and yogurt from the observation room. There are educational videos about dairy processing and the farm as well. This store is conveniently located between Saratoga Springs and Lake George.
Dancing Ewe Farm
You might have seen Dancing Ewe Farm's fabulous cheese products being sold at the Saratoga Farmers Market. This farm is located in Granville, and they specialize in Tuscan-style cheesemaking.
Dancing Ewe Farm started out as a neglected dairy farm when the land was purchased by Jody Somers in 2000. Fields were taken over by honeysuckle and briars and deteriorating buildings dotted the property. Somers was receiving training in Large Animal Veterinary Medicine at the time, and was also training sheepdogs. He decided to take his career in a different direction and he actually moved to Tuscany for three years to learn how to make sheep's milk cheeses!
Upon returning in 2003, Dancing Ewe Farm began to take shape, with one of the declining buildings on the farm being transformed into a state-of-the-art cheese house. Today, the farm sells cheese, olive oil, preserves, salumi, and more, and they host special farm-to-table dining events featuring fresh ingredients and delicious flavors.
Strawberry Ridge Farm
When berry picking season arrives, head to the 118-acre Strawberry Ridge Farm in Granville. They specialize in U-Pick raspberries (early September through most of October), blueberries (early June through mid-August), and pumpkins (mid-September into October).
Strawberry Ridge Farm was established in 2011. They use sustainable farming practices like rotating and resting the fields - this is done so the soil on a farm is not used for just one set of nutrients. Whenever possible they rely on non-chemical means to control weeds and employ integrated pest management (IPM) ideals that reduce the use of pesticides. They also raise cattle on their farm, which are also rotated to different areas around the property just like the crops. They're fed a natural, grass-fed diet.
You can find Strawberry Ridge Farm products at the Cambridge Farmers Market, or stop by the farm when they're in season.
Locust Grove Farm Smokehouse
Since opening in 1973, Locust Grove Farm Smokehouse has remained a family-run meat processing slaughterhouse, smokehouse, and retail country store. In addition to serving local customers by processing and slaughtering beef and pork, they sell their own smoked meats, eggs and milk from nearby farms, and other products. Pick up some smoked ham, pork chops, or bacon to cook and enjoy at home.
Moxie Ridge Farm & Creamery
Moxie Ridge Farm & Creamery in Argyle is committed to going back to the basics: raising animals on what is grown locally, so their meat, milk, and eggs can develop unique and rich flavors based on where and how they lived. If you're looking for a farm that treats their animals with care, Moxie Ridge Farm fits the bill.
The chickens are free-range and they forage on local, non-GMO grain and whey. They also drink cultured milk from the farm creamery in order to produce juicy, tender meat. Cheeses are made on the farm from Alpine and Saanen goats, and cows milk cheeses are made from Jersey cows from a neighboring farm.
Lewis Waite Farm
Love beef? How about dry-aged, grass-fed, and grass-finished beef, along with all natural, GMO-free, pastured pork? At Lewis Waite Farm, owners Alan and Nancy Brown believe in conducting business as close to nature as possible. They also sell products from over 35 local family farms and producers, including meat, cheese, bread, produce, jam, and more.
Lewis Waite Farm is located on 450 acres of pastures, hayfields, and forests in Greenwich. Cattle and pigs live a stress-free life, grazing on the land, enjoying fresh grass in the summer and hay in the winter. The cows are never fed grains, only grass and hay, which results in a high-quality meat that tastes better, is better for you, and actually cooks differently - the farm has grass-fed cookbooks you can make use of to determine the best cooking times and other tips for preparing grass-fed beef.
Are you ready for a truly unique farm experience? Have you ever been to a lavender farm where you could pick your own lavender, shop lavender products, and even go through a lavender labyrinth? Experience the wonderful world of lavender at Lavenlair Farm!
This farm has a fun backstory: Owners Diane and David Allen happened to spot a discarded lavender plant in a dumpster at a nursery. Not one to let a living thing die, Diane insisted on taking the neglected plant home along with the others the couple had purchased. They planted all their plants only to find that deer consumed all of their hard work - except for the lavender. The seed was planted to start a lavender farm.
Lavenlair Farm can be found in Whitehall, and during their U-Pick season, visitors can pick their own lavender - 32 different varieties! - in the spacious fields, shop for lavender products like lavender soap and lavender tea, and they have a lavender labyrinth you can make your way out of. Also, if you're interested in cooking with the lavender you purchased, ask the owners for some recipe tips.
Editor's Note (5/17/2021): Please note that Historic Grounds is temporarily closed.
Historic Grounds in Whitehall is all about supporting the region's businesses and farms, and their handcrafted menu has been created with care and features homemade, local food, and of course, coffee. They specialize in prime, freshly ground coffee and specialty drinks like espressos, lattes, and cocoas. Food-wise, you can expect house-roasted meats, homemade soups, fresh salads, delicious sandwiches, and a number of baked goods, like popovers, scones, muffins, and pastries.
Owners Nat and Nancy Huntington purchased the building for Historic Grounds Cafe in 2014 with the intention of creating a space where the community could gather for good food and good conversation. The coffee house is situated in a historic building that was constructed in 1906 and was originally the First National Bank of Whitehall.
Lake George Distilling Company
Lake George Distilling Company is a small farm distillery that was founded in 2012. As with other farm-to-table businesses, Lake George Distilling sources local ingredients whenever they can, specifically local grains, to create the best artisan spirits possible.
Their primary products include 32 Mile Moonshine, Apple Pie Moonshine, Indian Kettle Smoked Corn Whiskey, Adirondack Wildlife Whiskey, Bullhead Bourbon, and Red Rock Rye. If you're a Lake George buff, you might know that the pristine lake is 32 miles long - 32 Mile Moonshine is named for Lake George, and all of the other Lake George Distilling products are similarly named and created with our local area in mind.
Visit Lake George Distilling at their Fort Ann tasting room and see for yourself why local, handcrafted spirits are the cream of the crop.
Yoleberry Farms is a traditional berry picking farm that typically opens for U-Pick strawberries in June and U-Pick blueberries in July. If you're someone who loves long drives in the country, just enjoying the rolling fields and blue skies, then you definitely need to bring the family to Yoleberry Farms. They're located on Goodman Road in Fort Ann, which is off of the scenic Route 149 that connects Fort Ann to Lake George.
Battenkill Valley Creamery
You may have seen Battenkill Valley Creamery's milk being sold in your local grocery store, but did you know they have a creamery store and ice cream parlor in Salem? While you're stopping by for a sweet treat you can pick up farm fresh products from milk to cheese to grass-fed beef. In fact, they sell other local products at their store as well: cheese from Argyle Cheese Farmer, maple syrup from Wild Hill Maple, and much more.
The family behind Battenkill Valley Creamery has been farming for over a century, with the venture growing from 12 cows to 350. The family started researching how to bottle their own milk on site in 2003, underwent serious renovations to their machinery in 2007, and began bottling their own farm fresh milk in 2008. In 2009, homemade ice cream was added to the roster and the ice cream parlor was opened at the creamery store. In 2010, they began offering a home delivery service. Who knows what could be next with this thriving dairy business?
Gardenworks Farm is the epitome of a family farm - this third generation business has been farming for over 100 years! The original farm was purchased in 1911, when it was called the MacClan Farm and the family focused on cows and chickens.
Today, Gardenworks Farm has a greenhouse full of annuals and perennials, and a dairy barn with local cheeses, meats, organic vegetables, and baked goods. They have something exciting going on all year long: the greenhouse is filled with flowers in the spring, you can pick your own raspberries or blueberries in the summer, pumpkins are available in the fall, and during the holiday season, you can buy wreaths, gifts, and more.
R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery
R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery believes beer is an agricultural product and should be enjoyed as such, and that's why they brew their beers out in farm country. They use only the highest quality grains and a combination of hops for their craft beer, and the water they brew with comes from artesian wells on the farm. This is farm fresh beer at its finest! You can find R.S. Taylor & Sons at their home farm and brewery in Salem.
Cambridge Valley Farmers Market
The Cambridge Valley Farmers Market starts its summer season in mid-May, and it is open on Sundays from 10am to 2pm at the Cambridge Central School. Local vendors sell fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meats and eggs, gourmet baked goods, maple products, wines, artisan breads, and unique handmade goods. Plan a trip to the farmers market and shop local.
This is just a taste of the locally produced food and beverages that Washington County has to offer. Explore the region yourself for the full farm to table experience.