In France, you must shop early. By the time work is over, all the best cuts, baguettes, produce, and cheese will be gone. The shops will have closed for the day. It’s not like there’s stock shipped in from South America waiting to replenish the empty shelves.
La boulangerie (bakery), la poissonerie (fishmonger), la fromagerie (cheese) et la boucherie (the butcher). I love shopping from specialists who push quality over quantity.
When experiences like these are over, and I’m back to reality I find myself pushing an oversized cart up and down the aisles of a brightly lit mega supermarket large enough to feed nations. When in Rome. Or rather, when at home.
And then there’s Wyebrook Farm
Located in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, 50 miles outside Philadelphia. A farm originally built in the 1700s, the land has been continuously farmed for over 200 years. The current owners, Dean and Emelie Carson, purchased this farm in 2010 and renovated and restored the property.
It’s real food on a real farm. A return to how things should be.
A market, butcher shop and small cafe opened in 2012 and then a full-service restaurant launched in 2015 to much anticipation and wide acclaim.
While many customers fill up the restaurant for a lovely delicious meal in the gorgeous 18th century stone house building, it’s the sustainable agriculture behind the scenes from biodiversity, animal welfare, economic viability and social ethics that make for a genuinely nutritious, safe and healthy alternative to the industrial food supply chain.
I’m not an expert in sustainable agriculture and know absolutely nothing of farming (uh, city girl here), but I’m an eater. I know what fresh, clean and healthy taste like, and Wyebrook Farm leaves me satisfied, not stuffed.
I’ve never eaten a side of bacon that was incredibly rich and meaty yet greaseless. The whole wheat cinnamon pancakes were light and fluffy. I can taste the quality and pride of the product through each weightless leaf of my arugula and shaved carrot salad. It’s the most refreshing brunch I’ve had, where I felt better for having eaten more food than having fewer calories in a bowl of oatmeal at home.
There are loyal customers who come in regularly to both the market and restaurant. They offer a number of classes from jam making, pickling to butchering. Their mission is to educate its customers on how to prepare nutritious and sustainable ingredients at home as well as engage with their community.
Wyebrook doesn’t just preach what it practices. One of the vegan owners and some of the vegan or vegetarian employees actually eat the meat products. The premium high standards and quality behind Wyebrook’s treatment and production warrant exceptions to their meatless diets and palettes.
Time to Brunch
It is a bit out of the way for me, but it’s worth the 40-minute windy drive for a meal. Once you’re there you breathe in the fresh air, say hello to the pigs and hogs, roam the grassy grounds and return to nature.
It’s the type of place you want to bring out of town guests. It’s also a lovely setting in the wide open Pennsylvania country for a Sunday family brunch and a genuine farm to table experience.
While shopping at a butcher shop alone may not be convenient when you have a long list of grocery items to buy, it is refreshing to know you have the option to buy local, eat local, and support local farmers.
A place that’s proven to convert vegans to carnivores is worth a go.
Read about another lovely butcher shop cum brunch experience here.