You know how sometimes when you grow up with something and then you go back there as an adult, suddenly it’s not as good as you remembered it? Yeah, well that didn’t happen to me last weekend- and thank goodness.
When I was a kid, my grandmother used to take my sister and I to Tendercrop Farm in Newburyport. We’d visit Buffy the Buffalo and buy some treats… they always had great stuff like honey sticks and hot apple cider.
It had been quite a while since I’d been back, but last weekend I had a hankering to head to the North Shore and figured that while I was in the neighborhood, I’d check out what they had at Tendercrop. I am so glad I stopped by! I never paid much attention when I was a kid to what the farm was producing, but I was really impressed with the variety they offered and how they clearly labeled produce “Our Own” to differentiate it from things that weren’t grown on the premises. I stocked up on herbs, got a bunch of chard and some lovely little Concord grapes.
But what really surprised me is that Tendercrop produces their own meat, and sells it at a very reasonable price. I stocked up on some grass fed beef and got some lovely bone-in pork chops. These days, everyone is all high on organic veggies, but buying locally produced meat is even more important. Not only is it a sustainable choice, but it tastes so much better!
Though I meant to just grab a few things, I ended up with a cart full, and was sure I’d spent waaaay too much. Instead, it was about $60 for a weeks worth of vegetables and four or five meals worth of meat. That’s far less damage than I do when I go to Whole Foods.
One little splurge I made was on sodas. I’m not a huge soda drinker, but I have an affinity for artisan and regional ones that are hard to find. Tendercrop had a whole line of them, and so I picked up six. Three were the traditional root beer, ginger beer and cola, and three were in flavors I’d never seen before and couldn’t resist: maple cream (I love maple!), yup (what is that?!?!?) and half & half (half what?). They’re all made with cane sugar and natural flavors, and are bottled in New Hampshire, so I’m excited to give them a try.
Probably my favorite purchase was the Concord grapes, which look like large blue berries and have seeds. They’re so delicious- they taste like grape juice! Given the seeds and the thicker skin, I don’t know if they’re everyone’s cup of tea, but I really really liked them. Hopefully I can get some more before they go out of season.
While I was there, I stopped off and said hi to Buffy the Buffalo (I’m really not sure if it’s the same buffalo from when I was a kid… how long can a buffalo live?).
One of the guys who works at Tendercrop told me that the store has bread that you can feed to Buffy, so of course I got some. While Buffy didn’t seem to want any of it, her llama friend came running over. The way it (she? he?) scarfed it made me think of that scene in Napoleon Dynamite, which cracked me up. Look at how happy she looks.
Need I say I’ll be heading back to Tendercrop soon?