Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome to Agriculture - Tabora Farms

I really enjoy farm markets and farm stands and a few of them shine here in Bucks County and I must mention them to you. Take a drive, stop by and say hello to the farmers and their helpers and see where your food comes from. These folks have a myriad of wonderful produce, baked goods, juices, cider, jams, jellies and even some gift items for what seems like faraway holiday time.

Tabora Farms is a wonderful little market and farm just outside of Doylestown on Stump Road. A friend of mine who has traveled all over the world moved here from Brooklyn. Never having to drive in the city, using a car to get from point A to point B was a bit new to her and she often got lost. Granted, I wouldn’t know a thing about taking the subway or bus system, so I can identify with her sense of uncertainty. She told me she was driving one day and suddenly drove right into France!

Tabora is located on a road where their farm starts on one side and across the street is a vineyard, then you come upon their store. It is a quaint, whitewashed barn that has been transformed, albeit rustically, into a bakery on one side, a takeaway shop on the other with produce, condiments and gifts in the middle of the space. Oh, and there’s ice cream, too! Glorious flavors in pints to carry out and eat in the parking lot. Not that I’ve ever done that, but it is an idea!

Caleb, who owns Tabora Farms with his wife, has been setting up at the Springtown Farmers’ Market this season. He is a nice fellow with a family rooted in farming. We chatted about the weather and the tomato crisis hitting the Northeast.

“Welcome to agriculture,” he told me when we discussed the recent rain and hail storms to hit our area. “We lost 50,000 bushels of apples in a hail storm last year in just three seconds.”

When a farmer tells you something like that, it makes you think of the work that went into tending those trees all season and the monetary value of the lost apples. How sad.

I don’t plan on being all that political here, but it makes me wonder why only the banks and automakers have gotten a bail-out? Farmers have been taking the financial slap in the face for years, watching their farms, equipment and family homesteads go up for auction due to the supply and demand of the commodities market, weather and other factors.

Anyway, Caleb took a few moments on a recent weekday to chat and tell me that his father owns a farm in New York State where he grows apples as well as other fruits and vegetables. Tabora Farm purchases some of their produce from Caleb’s father and both have learned over the years to diversify with their crops.

“My father plowed over 50 acres of apple trees in the orchard when they moved in to be able to grow other things. If your apples get hit, you can depend on other crops to keep your head above water,” he explained.

Tabora Farms has diversified from just a fruit and vegetable stand over the years by first putting in a bakery with Linzer tortes, buttery Danish and focaccia with asiago cheese and vegetables and selling their own preserved fruits in the form of jams, jellies, conserves, fruit butters and the like. Then they started to do hot and cold takeaway foods such as crab cakes, quinoa salad, roasted vegetables and other entrees and sides.

Having all these items in addition to their heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, fresh beans and other produce purchased from their New York family’s farm insulates Caleb and Tabora from completely depending upon Mother Nature.
As one who loves tomatoes, I shouldn’t share this so I can keep them to myself and get more, but, on the day I visited, there were loads of heirloom tomatoes. I purchased a chocolate, a pineapple and some plums. I know, I know, these don’t sound like tomatoes, but they are wonderful! I can’t say it enough and I feel lucky to have gotten there in time to get some before the late blight took hold.

I also left with a bag of scrumptious pastries. Some almond crescent, apple sticks, maple and streusel Danishes. I stuffed one immediately in my mouth when I got to the car, licking the delicious, sticky residue off my fingers while trying not to touch anything in my friend’s new car! Whoever they have in their bakery is fabulous! Keep up the good work and I’ll be back!

Ice cream is a new thing for Tabora in the last few years and their flavors are distinctly interesting. Using the typical fruit and nut combos, they make rich, delectable concoctions, but it is the odd and unexpected flavors that draw me in. Rosemary, with a slight pink blush and not at all woody or too menthol, it had great mouth feel and a level of flavor that not only touched the tongue, but speed through the olfactory senses as with a swoosh of fragrance that felt like it was from the center of the herb garden.

Lavender ice cream has a very pale color of its namesake and is a fine flavor that is not at all perfume-like as my friend Laura, anticipated. She was surprised and enamored by the richness of the ice cream and subtle flavor the lavender displayed. She expressed her idea that it would have a more black raspberry flavor and the woman who makes the ice cream offered her a taste of that to show her the difference. The contrast was measurable by Laura’s face after the spoon hit her tongue.

I have tried it before and can’t ever explain the taste other than you must try it. I have friends with a lavender farm just around the corner from Tabora Farms and they sell them the food grade flowers to use in their blend of fresh cream and sugar.

Take a ride and visit Tabora Farms and see for yourself, their diverse product line and carry home a meal that’s been made close to home.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you enjoyed the market!!!Please stop by for a taste of Apple praline ice cream or Orange chocolate toasted almond...This weekend will be the start of Apple picking season....There will be alot of products with apples...Apple parsnip soup, appple and cranberry bread pudding.....not to mention apple fruit sticks,apple pie.....I could go on.............