I knew I needed to rethink my food shopping routine. The majority of the produce that I’ve purchased at the supermarket has been a little lacking in the flavor department. Chilies with no bite, garlic with no zing, pathetic heads of lettuce, and cucumbers with so much wax coating that I’d rather have it in Madame Tussauds than in my salad. I’m not a locoavore – by any stretch of the imagination – and I’ve got a thumb so black that even jade plants die by my hands. So what is a lazy girl, who wants to taste a little food in her food, to do? The answer, I discovered, is Coonamessett Farm in East Falmouth – a hidden gem of bucolic splendor where you can pick your own fresh, flavorful, and delicious veggies, fruits, and flowers.
I visited for the first time yesterday, and I must say that this place is heaven. For those who don’t want to get down and dirty picking their own veggies, there is a little store that sells the farm’s offerings – the bagged field greens are a must – along with homemade soaps, jams, muffins, soups, and more.
I signed up for the farm’s annual membership ($40 for a small family), which allows me to come and pick my own veggies any time I like. So, armed with my new membership and a map of the farm to tell me what is growing where, I journeyed into the fields. I wandered around for a bit, checking out the chickens with ornate plumage, the miniature donkeys, the ducks, the sheep, an African tortoise, and a macaw named Oscar (who will bite at fingers silly enough to enter his cage). But, after a lifetime of grocery store shopping, I felt strangely nervous to walk the soil and start manhandling these sweetly growing vegetables. Luckily for me, someone who works at the farm, probably sensing my city-girl-in-the-metaphorical-headlights-of-a-rhubarb-patch incompetence, took me on an informal tour of the farm.
We started with a visit the greenhouses, where I picked my first cucumber. I shrieked a little when I discovered it was covered in fine prickles, but I was assured that this is how cucumbers grow. They are scrubbed free of their prickly skins before they make their way to the markets. Who knew? My helpful guide then took me to the swiss chard and kale area, instructing me to take the outer leaves of the plant, which I did. Knees in the soil, hands picking what I would later eat, my trepidation was replaced by pure enthusiasm. It felt so good to be there – a well-loved and cared for farm – to know where my food was coming from, and to know it was as fresh as it could possibly be.
The farm also has Jamacian buffets on Wednesday nights – which I will definitely go to soon and tell you all about. This is also an ideal place to take the kids. They will be charmed by all the cute farm animals; they can pick an egg straight from the chicken coop; they can discover how food grows and how good farm-fresh produce can taste.
And, let me tell you, my dinner last night was spectacular. All the flavor that I was missing in my grocery store produce, was working overtime in the strawberries, kale, cucumbers, and swiss chard that I picked myself. Locavores are really on to something. Now if only Cape Cod could start growing avocados, then I’d really call myself a convert.
The Coonamessett Farm will definitely become part of my weekly routine.