Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Springtime Visit to Demarest Farm

Even though New Jersey is called the "Garden State," there aren't too many gardens, or farms really, where I live. When I was a child, I had fond memories of our trips to Tice Farms in Woodcliff Lake. It's since been developed into a strip mall, which contains a Gap, Victoria's Secret and a hodgepodge of other depressing retailers. Nearby Van Riper's Farm, which had been farming since the 1700s, was transformed into an A&P.

Thankfully, there are still some farms, including the Demarest Farm in Hillsdale, which has been around since 1886. While I prefer shopping at Old Hook Farm in Emerson since they are organic (Demarest Farm is not), it's still a pleasant outing for an afternoon.

If only cows were really as happy as this one on our nation's farms. There aren't any actual cows here, just the usual feel-good imagery. I think the only cows this happy are the ones who get to live at animal sanctuaries.

At the deli, I ordered the avocado supreme, which includes red onion and red wine vinegar, hold the Swiss cheese, for $5.95. Paired with a pickle, 99 cents, and an organic cranberry lemonade, $2. We brought our own real silverware and cloth napkins so we could avoid the disposables.

There was a pleasant breeze at the shaded picnic benches, a welcome relief from the unseasonable 90 degree temperature.

A vegan will never go hungry when a salad bar is around.

There's always homemade tasty vegetarian chili. Two soups are featured daily, but today's were both chicken.

Not too much homegrown produce is in season yet. Check out what is.

Every Thursday, beginning June 18th through August, they have a BBQ buffet for $16.95 with live music. Veg options appear to be corn-on-the-cob, salad, watermelon and soda or water. Baked beans are on the menu, but not sure if they're vegetarian. Recreate their BBQ feast at home with Gardenburger BBQ Riblets and Lightlife Smart Dogs. End with a Tofutti Cutie. Throw on the Johnny Cash records to make it festive.

Visit Demarest Farm, 244 Wierimus Rd., Hillsdale, NJ

There are no vegan options for dessert, so we headed to Old Hook Farm for a bumbleberry pie (all their fruit pies are vegan, except apple crumble). Washed down with an iced coffee with Trader Joe's soy creamer, and followed with a nap.

Johnny with his beloved June.


Chessbuff said...

It's a pity what has become of Tice and Van Riper farms. I guess the owners could no longer maintain a profitable business. It's like tearing down a historic baseball stadium. One's happy memories are anchored to physical structures, and it's a pity to see them go.

Vegan Good Life said...

So true. Supporting our local farmers is so important. When I go to Old Hook Farm, there are very few shoppers, compared to the local Shop-Rite supermarket just down the road, where the parking lot is always packed and people are filling their carts with over-processed food. Having face-to-face contact with the people who work the land each week has given me newfound appreciation for the wholesome food on my plate.

Anonymous said...

The kids didn't want the business and saw $$$ for the real estate. They did a great business.

What is a real shame is DePippo's Organic Farm, which used to in Waldwick, closed when the owners retired. They had a cooperative program that I enjoyed.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Thanks for the comment. I'm unfamiliar with DePippo's Organic Farm. A loss of any organic farm sounds like a shame.

It's very sad these small farms have trouble competing. Gene Baur, the President of Farm Sanctuary, was talking about the message has been for years in agriculture, 'get big or get out' and now we are seeing the ramifications of all this.