It is time to celebrate! We are thrilled to be celebrating our first full year of business in the new farmstand. As we kick off our 96th season of farming, come join us this Saturday, March 30 for our first birthday party in the new stand. We will be partying starting at 11 am with a cake cutting and door prizes galore.
Stop by and join us for a piece of birthday cake from our bakery and dip your hand into our pot of prizes and maybe walk away with one of these fabulous door prizes:
We will have wine tasting from 12-5 pm, with an array of selections including some tasty South African Reds and California Whites, possibly perfect for your Holiday table this weekend.
Representatives from McCrea’s Candies and Yummy Yammy Dips will also be around sampling their gourmet caramels and sweet potato based snack dips. And just a reminder, we will be closed all day Sunday, March 31st for Easter.
As we enter this great time of year when a sunny day is beautiful but not always warm, consider joining us for our almost alfresco dining option in the greenhouse. We have set up a few of our cafe tables in the front of the large glass house amid the fragrant and colorful blossoms. You can get away from the busy end of things and come relax with a sandwich or coffee down at the foliage end of things while we still have the space to spare. It is filling up quick with all sorts of flowers, which creates a lovely spot to get away from it all until our regular patio seating is up and running again.
Chef Todd has prepared a selection of tasty entrees and sides for your Easter meal this year. In addition to the fresh prepared foods from the kitchen, remember you can get Easter candy, fine wine, and fresh flowers here too! See you soon.
We will be closed all day on Easter, March 31.
Welcome to Spring 2013 and time for another round of gardening workshops to help you get inspired and motivated for a new season of blooms and planting success. We have a great line up this year with even more free classes than ever before.
All of our workshops are free, and aside from the soil testing, participants receive a 10% off coupon to put toward their farm purchases that weekend. It’s like we pay you to attend! No registration required, just show up at 10 am ready to listen, learn and interact with our experts.
All workshops are at 10 am
Home Composting: Mike will lead you through the basic steps of composting your kitchen and garden garbage at home, to reduce overall waste and create a rich food for future growth. Learn to save resources and create a clean and healthy product with real value on the other end.
Biological Controls: Ryan will go over the pest and disease control practices we have used in the greenhouse since 2010 to nearly eradicate the application of chemicals. See what steps we take to send you home with healthy plants full of beneficial insects and biological organisms to promote a healthy microbial environment and keep a balance. Learn about how to extend these practices to your own yard.
Native Perennials: Beth with bring her extensive knowledge of perennials to you this morning, with a focus on native and hardy varieties. Plants that are naturally strong and hardy in our area have a greater chance of thriving successfully in your garden. We have long-standing relationships with perennial nurseries who specialize in native plants and have added even more suppliers this year.
Heirloom Tomatoes: Billy has decades of experience growing field vegetables and much of his time at Volante’s has been spent deep in the heirloom Tomato crop, both in the field and on the farmstand. Let him help you choose the type of heirlooms best suited to your taste and learn how to grow these less than perfect options better than ever before. Bring your general vegetable questions along, he’s got answers for all of them.
Soil Testing: 10 am – 3 pm Bring in up to two sample of dry soil from your yard or garden and have them tested by John Howell from UMass Extension Services. He will help you determine what type of additives your soil can benefit from and how best to improve your garden’s situation. Soil testing is free, but coupons are not received.
Shade Annuals: Lynne will explain the concern with everyone’s favorite shade annual, Impatiens, and what alternatives are available. Learn what the hubbub is all about if you haven’t heard or suffered from it, and see what steps we are taking to provide you with the shade color and plant cover you are looking for. We have several new and alternative options available this year and this is a great opportunity to find out about them first.
Container Planting: Dianne presents our most popular annual workshop with the simple steps to choosing plants, soil and containers that go together perfectly. She will show you a variety of different options for quick and easy choices to bring color and foliage to your previously non garden areas. Plant a pot now to watch it grow into a showpiece by Summer.
The Farm Kitchen has prepared a selection of easy to to heat and serve traditional Passover dishes for the upcoming holiday. Consider picking up some of these entrees and sides to complement your family’s meal. An added bonus this year is a selection of Kosher wines, just in time for your celebration. We will also be carrying appropriate produce for the holiday and welcome any suggestions as to what you would like to complete your meal. Any questions about ingredients and portioning can be happily answered by our chef Todd in the kitchen.
This weekend marked another successful first for the farm, our first ever Chili Cook Off!
We had nine spicy contestants show up with their steaming crock-pots and assorted refinements. There was everything from vegan and chicken to lamb and chorizo and shaved steak as well as a wide variety of heat levels and meat to bean to vegetable ratios.
We found three excellent and impartial judges to give this their best shot. They needed to have a taste for heat so we brought in Alex of our local hot sauce company Alex’s Ugly Sauce, Jack from Mann Orchards & Barn Brew BBQ Sauce, and Geoff from Blue Ribbon BBQ. Alex was even packing his own hot sauce in his pocket, just in case he
needed to spice anything up to his level, though I don’t think he needed to use it. The judges took a solid run through the contestants chilis, tasting, re-tasting, sipping water, and being thoughtful. There were few questions, as they seemed to appreciate going into each chili blind to its ingredients. The crowd certainly seemed enthused for the judges to hurry up so they could dig in to the chili as well, which happened as soon as Teri took the scores back to tabulate.
Regular contestant to our other contests, Mike Bolio brought home top honors, and an amazing trophy with his Cosby Sweater Chili. The judges loved the multitude of veggies and varieties of beans in the chili, as well as the heat level brought by the Hot Italian Sausage. Mike is now the proud winner of a $100 gift card to Volante’s, a $50 gift card to Blue Ribbon BBQ, a trio of Alex’s Ugly Sauces, his trophy, plus a spot on next year’s judging panel!
Second place was a tight tie between Bruce Engel’s Chili served in Acorn Squash and a Spicy Lamb and Chorizo Chili from Ben Hurwitz. In Fact it was so close we gave them both second place, and a $50 gift card each. Look to their recipes as your basis of next years competition, they’ll be vying for it again certainly!
In a very close again third place, Jeff Weller, with his Afterburner Vegan Chili showed that even a meatless chili can pack a satisfying punch! He took home a $25 gift card and sounded pretty fired up for the next round!
Thanks to everyone for participating, it was a lot of fun and we know it will be an even bigger event next year. If you are itching to get into the next cooking contest, our summer cooking contest is slated for early August so we can take advantage of all the homegrown harvest! Be ready!
Chef Todd and the kitchen crew at Volante’s have a great St. Patrick’s Day Menu lined up for you this week. For a fun holiday meal without the fuss stop by our refrigerated chest this week to pick up your special treats. We’ve been sampling some of these the last few weeks, but rest assured they are all crowd-pleasers.
Pick up a nicely portioned New England Boiled Dinners for starters, complete with House-Made Corned Beef, Potatoes, Cabbage and Carrots. Or a side order of Colcannon: mashed potatoes with cabbage. Start your meal with a large Parsnip and Blarney Cheese Tart, and keep it hearty with a bowl of Guinness Lamb Stew or Lamb Shepard’s Pie.
The bakery should have plenty of Soda Bread and Scones as well to help sop up all the nice gravy should you need it!
We will have all the fixings for you do-it-yourselfers as well certainly, but don’t forget to let us help where we can to make a fun and hearty meal for you this weekend.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Our Passover and Easter Menus will be posted soon too so keep us in mind for that as well.
Fine, so it is snowing again. But the air is different down at Volante’s, where the insides are warm and toasty, the greenhouses are cranking up, all sorts of hot and spicy events are underway and we are getting busy for a Spring full of Fun!
A few points of order. We have received our license from the state to begin carrying wine. We are thrilled it came through so quickly and we hope to have our temporary store ready by Easter. We are looking at carrying about 150 different wines with a focus on organic and sustainability: from this region, as well as a large variety of domestic wines from the west coast, and a careful selection from around the globe. There will be much more on this in the coming weeks as we develop our plans. You’ll be the first to know.
Last weekend we held our first ever and their first ever Rally for Rosie’s Place Fresh Food Drive. It was a great success for a first venture with about 270 pounds of food being donated worth over $400! This means Volante’s will donate the same amount to Rosie’s Place for the week of March 18th. We are holding another customer drive this weekend, the 9th and 10th so be sure to drop an extra apple or other fresh food in your cart to hand to the cashiers when you check out. Let’s shoot for even more this weekend and Volante’s will match your donations this week on the final weekend of the month.
This Saturday also marks our first ever Chili Cook Off. We are still accepting registrants so if you want to get involved sign up here! Judges from Alex’s Ugly Sauce, Blue Ribbon BBQ, and Barn Brew BBQ Sauce/ Mann Orchards will be giving your chili a solid going over and presenting the winners with some very sweet prizes, including gift certificates to Volante’s for $100, a grand trophy, and the opportunity to judge next year’s contest.
To help with your inspirational recipes we are running specials on a few chili likely items this week, including $1.00/ lb. off meats from Hillcrest Farms and $1 off a package of dried beans from Baer’s. Be sure to check out these great deals this week!
Chef Todd is also putting the finishing touches on his Early Spring Cooking Class menu, with one set to run this Saturday night at 6 and another on March 23rd. It sounds like it is going to be another great class and there are still seats available for both, so act quickly! Don’t forget we now offer a wine pairing with the class so you can really make it a night out now!
The greenhouses are filling up quickly. The pansy crops is coming along, and the early hanging baskets of ivy geraniums, fuchsias, and new guinea Impatiens are filling out too. We are transplanting Impatiens hangers and begonia flats this week and zonal geraniums next week. In a few weeks we will be crowded out of space as all the bedding plants start to take over. While we wait for these plants to come along, we will continue to have plenty of flowering and foliage heavy plants available to keep you green thumbs happy. Expect shamrocks and green carnations for St Patrick’s Day and plenty of fresh tulips and daffodils for Easter and Passover tables.
If you can’t wait to get your own garden started we have our seeds and seedling starting kits available earlier this year than ever, stop in soon for the best selection of seed packets and soil amendments. We are even getting our spring pottery selection set out already so you can start planning your summer landscape now!
The first crops of lettuce and onions for the field have been seeded and are bulking up for an early spring transplant to the field so we can get some homegrown food back in the Farmstand soon, we know it has been way too long!
We have a lot of new crops planned for this years to add to our every growing variety of homegrown produce. We are excited to be giving Fennel a shot, as well as revisiting Leeks. We are adding a few different varieties of Kale, still the hottest vegetable around and a few different tomatoes too. Escarole has made the trial list this year in addition to a plan to try Horseradish. 2013 is going to be another exciting year from the fields, Farmstand, Kitchen and beyond!