This weekend’s adventure: Make the most of summer’s bounty at River Berry Farm where organic vegetables and berries await.
What to know: River Berry Farm is a family-owned, small fruit and vegetable farm alongside the Lamoille River in Fairfax. Its farmstand is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
Jane Sorensen and David Marchant opened the farm in 1992. Everything, from the 50-acres of vegetables to 4.5 acres of berries, is organic.
The farm also includes 18,000 square feet of greenhouse, which opens each spring with annual and perennial flowers and organic vegetable and herb plants ready to be planted in your garden. Hanging baskets, organic potting mix, fruit and flowering shrubs also fill its walls.
My experience: When I visited River Berry Farm this week, a heavy heat pressed upon everything. I was sweating and so was the glass door of the farm fridge. In the distance, Camel’s Hump was a silhouette, hazy with western wildfire smoke.
I shielded my eyes with both hands to look out at the fields and to peer into the greenhouses.
Not so long ago it seems, in the thick of a cold, cold winter, I was writing about my desire for summer — for ripened peaches and stalks heavy with corn, for the sun, hot on my neck and strong at my back.
But recently, in the time-old trope of wanting what we can’t have, I wished for fall. I dreamed of a leafy crunch under my boots and a cool breeze that makes me tug my scarf closer.
My trip to River Berry Farm though, reminded me of summer’s gifts — ripened heirloom tomatoes, crisp peppers of every color and sweet corn. I bought all three and turned them that evening into a bright and herby salad.
The farmstand is self-service, and that too, with its table of hand-written receipts and calculators, is also a gift. You don’t find that trust and community confidence everywhere.
In the fridge, sweet onions, hot peppers, kale, summer squash and scallions filled the shelves, and on the wood tables, basil clippings sat in baskets.
I’m tired of the constant sound of my hard-working A/C, but there is still so much summer to look forward to. In a few weeks, River Berry Farm will open its fields to the picking of fall raspberries, which are perhaps best enjoyed outside, straight from the container.
There are still more peaches to eat while sitting alongside the river, more corn to husk throw on the grill until it pops and chars.
There are more farmstands to visit, local farmers to support and sunny days to cherish. Summer is short in Vermont, and I won’t wish it away too soon.