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  • Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on March 13, 2014

     

    Our Annual Spring Greenhouse Workshop Series is on again this year and bigger than ever before. Workshops are free  start at 10 am Saturdays beginning March 22 and continuing through May 3. No registration is required, just show up! Attendees to most workshops will receive a coupon to put toward their next gardening purchase. New this year, for every workshop you attend, you can be entered into a drawing for a Door Prize to be given out at our last Spring Workshop on May 3. The more times you attend the better your chances for winning!

    March 22

    Greenhouse Opens for 2014 Season

    10 am Fairy Gardening

    Volante’s has jumped aboard one of the newest gardening trends, Fairy Gardening. Toadstool cottages, tiny wheelbarrows, stone patios, and fairy dust complement a selection of miniature plants. Join Michelle as she shows you what we have to offer the pint-sized dwellers in your garden and get some ideas for the magical spaces you might create in your own yard.

    March 29

    10 am Raised Bed Gardening

    Want a garden in your yard but not sure about the soil quality? Maybe the sunny side of your house is mostly paved. Maybe you just like the clean architecture of a framed and defined space. Raised Bed Gardening might be right for you. Join Mike, who constructed many of the large wooden planters around the farmstand, as he takes you through the basic benefits and limitations of raised bed planting, how to construct and maintain them and how to efficiently use the space you create by choosing plants and spacing that works in a confined area.

    Our friend Jake loves getting ready for his summer garden. This is the year to get your kids’ hands dirty too!

    April 5

    10 am – 4 pm Kid’s Gardening Workshop

    Join Michelle in the greenhouse for a special all day Kid’s Gardening Workshop. Stop in between 10 and 4 to see what flowers are ready to go in the greenhouse and have your children work with Michelle as she talks to them about basic gardening techniques and what it takes to make a plant grow  and then has them plant a seed to take home and grow into their own flower or vegetable.

     

    Transform your garden, with just 5 months of summer and the proper soil amendments!

    April 12

    10 am to 3 pm Soil Testing

    Free Soil Testing for your garden and lawn. Come by with one or two dry samples of soil from areas of your garden you would like tested. John Howell of the New England Vegetable and Berry Association will be here to analyze your samples and help point you in a growing direction, and we will be here to help you pick up the lime, bone-meal, acidic fertilizer or whatever he suggests to you.

    10 am Tomato Workshop

    By popular demand, Billy will go over the steps to growing a perfect tomato, start to finish. He will cover everything: from heirloom to hybrid and grafted plants, and how to choose the right one for you, garden preparation and proper soil amendments, planting, pruning, disease prevention and harvest tips. Billy is one of our field growers with a deep knowledge of farm practices and many years in the business. bring him your toughest questions.

    April 19

    10 am Hummingbird and Butterfly Gardening

    Providing for our pollinators is a critical role for the home garden. A successful landscape depends on the health of the insects and other animals that help to carry out the process of pollination, and it doesn’t hurt that so many of these pollinators are beautiful to behold as well. Join Linda for a discussion of how to prep and plant your garden to attract and nourish the fastest of birds and fairest of butterflies and other nectar loving beauties.

    April 26

    10 am Native Perennials

    Many customers want to know what plants will endure and flourish in their garden, sparking  a renewed interest in not just locally grown but native perennials in the market.  Native Perennials are those found naturally all around New England and depending on the type of environment your garden has to offer, Beth will help you choose the best plants with the natural ability to make it in our harsh climate year after year and throughout the season.

    May 3

    10 am Container Planting

    Still our most popular workshop every spring, Dianne walks you through the steps of choosing a container and the basic pieces of creating a mobile beauty for your deck or patio garden. A container is a great way to showcase a favorite plant or draw attention to an overlooked part of your garden. Stop in to learn about pot size and shape, soil and fertilizer requirements, and the general artistic element  and theory behind creating a world-class container. Plus since it’s in May it will be just about the right time to get to work on your own summer spectacular.

    During this final workshop of the spring we will draw names in our Door Prize Raffle, and you will go home with a wonderful prize from our greenhouse crew.

     

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on March 4, 2014

    We had a great time last Thursday night with the gang from Jack’s Abby Brewery. And we were celebrating with a full house, 109 all told at the end of the evening. Chef Todd’s menu was beer inspired beginning to end and with the recent addition of John Dewar’s Meats to the farm, and a hefty Brambly Pig earlier that week, there was plenty of meaty goodness to go around. His menu was certainly elevated from standard beer hall fare, but the casual fun atmosphere permeated and everyone was able to relax while fine dining at the same time.

    We cleared the floor of the farmstand and lined up the tables, and were seated and having fun in no time.  It was a nice winter holdover til we can host more Dinners in the Field this summer, which we will definitely be doing, probably deciding on dates by early May. If you missed this and still want a great farm-to-table experience in the meantime, consider joining us this Saturday night for Todd’s Vegetarian Cooking Class, still a few seats available, and you’ll set up in the same area, just a lot more intimate. Click HERE for More info.

    But on to the menu and photos, the things that will make you wish you were there:

    First Course

    Housemade Pretzels with Three Dips and a Cookie.

    The pastry crew whipped up some soft pretzels to pair with Smoked Local Apple Mustard, Jack’s Abby Sunny Ridge & Babymaker Beer Jelly,  and a Spicy Pimento Cheese Spread. Guests also found a Bacon Jam and Local Spelt Linzer Cookie awaiting them at their seats.This was paired with Jack’s Abby Sunny Ridge Pilsner.

     

    Second Course

    Thai Inspired Tropical Salad

    The kitchen sent out a salad that was a marvel of vegetable and fruit engineering. The number of components is in the dozens, but the basic is a mix of fresh and bitter greens, fresh herbs, peanuts, and a twice grilled pineapple with a beer and tamarind glaze. This was served with the award winning Jack’s Abby Mass Rising Double IPL. A simplified version of this salad is currently been running as a special in the Deli if you want to give it a try.

    Third Course

    Braised Brisket, Short Ribs & Oxtail Sauerbraten with Uber Smashed Local Potatoes & Homegrown Horseradish Creme Fraiche

    A real meat and potatoes main course, with a medley of beautiful John Dewar and Kinnealey Beef and a medley of garlicky creamy root vegetables to match. Plus in the dead of winter still a little homegrown flavor, with a tangy Horseradish Creme Fraiche to dollop on top. This course was served with the campfire flavored, Jack’s Abby Smoked Marzen, a Rauchbier in the Oktoberfest style.

     

    John Dewar’s Braised Brisket, Short Ribs, and Oxtail Sauerbraten

    Dessert

    Smoke and Dagger Beeramisu

    The pastry crew doubled down on the beer for dessert as well, building a traditional Tiramisu, but soaking the ladyfingers in Jack’s Abby’s fabulous black lager first. layers of cream and cocoa completed the treat, which guests were finishing faster than the entire table could be served. Smoke and Dagger Black Lager was the natural accompaniment to the final course.

    As the evening broke up, the guests meandered out to the parking area to a freshly snow cover, once again. The night was a lot of fun for us and the Jack’s Abby crew, and we  look forward to our next one. See our gallery below for more photos of the evening, and please join our email list above if you don’t want to miss out on our next great event.

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on March 3, 2014

    Thanks to our contestants in this weekend’s 1st Annual Customer Soup Contest. The competition was tight and precise. Only 6 contestants had the courage to present their masterpieces, meaning the odds were in their favor.

    Very special thanks to Chef Robert DeSimone from Spiga Restaurant, he was a very generous & willing celebrity judge for this first round, when we weren’t really sure what to expect. Additional thanks to Chef Todd and Sean, our produce manager who each brought their palettes to perform as judges as well.

    Special congratulations to our winner, a previous runner-up in the Apple Pie Contest as well as third place tie in last month’s Chili Cook Off, Paul Gardner. His Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Pesto wowed the judges and the crowd. He even lamented how good it was that there were no leftovers once we were done with it.The judges remarks included, “fantastic depth, loved the pesto” and  ”delicious, I want more.”

    Paul’s Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Pesto

    Paul walked away with a sharp trophy, a $100 gift card to the farm, and a gift from local chef Dave Becker of Sweet Basil, a signed cookbook and gift card to the restaurant. Plus he will be guest judge at next year’s contest. The recipe for his soup is below, and it is perfect for a cold winter day like today. If you want to kick it up a notch consider getting the bacon right out of our kitchen, I bet Todd would slice some of his house smoked off for you.

    Cilantro Pesto

    Second place goes to one of our stalwart competitors, Mike Bolio, who brought an amazing yogurt based barley and meatball soup. Armenian seasoning really grounded this one with the judges and crowd as well, no one really knew what it was but they loved it. He used local partners’ Four Star Farms barley in it which gave it a great firm substance to the light broth which the judges loved.

    Yogurt, Barley & Meatball Soup

    Mike took away a $75 dollar gift card and continues to collect bragging rights. His recipe is below:

    Last minute update: Mike suggests adding 4 cloves of chopped garlic to the meatball mixture!

    Third place went to Emily Redmond, with a Curried Butternut Squash Soup. The spice was just right and the garnish of creme fraiche and cranberries hit the spot. Judges found it to be “perfect,” “aggressively seasoned,” and “nice ginger snap.”  One of the simplest preparations of the winning soups, but really balanced well. Emily took home a $35 gift card, her recipe is below.

    Curried Butternut Squash Soup, add Cranberries for a pop of color and sweetness.

     

    Again thank you to everyone for participating and showing up on a cold Saturday. It was a lot of fun, and now we have a standard set for next year’s Contest! Our next customer contest is set for summer, more info on that as it approaches.

    Next up we have a Vegetarian Cooking Class with chef Todd this weekend, with seats still available. Also this weekend is the second half of our Rally for Rosie’s Place, we need more donations of fresh produce to match later this month!

    Also be sure to stop in for our Grand Wine Tasting from noon to 4, if we haven’t got you donating before that, we will by the time you leave!

    Sunday from 11-2 Patti from On The Edge will be back in the parking lot for monthly knife sharpening.

     

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on February 26, 2014

    Join us this March for two separate Grand Tastings so that we can introduce you to a wide array of the beer and wine we carry by the knowledgeable distributors and brewers that bring them to us. A Grand Wine Tasting on March 8 and a Grand Beer Tasting on March 22.

    We will have a section of the store cordoned off and after you present valid id to enter, you’ll get a “passport” to visit the regions on offer that day. No registration is necessary, and admission is free. A wide variety of the specialty foods we create and carry will also be available to sample alongside your beverages.

    The following breweries have already signed on to the beer tasting, likely to increase as the date nears:

     

    • Slumbrew
    • Wormtown
    • Notch
    • Jack’s Abby
    • White Birch
    • Berkshire Brewing
    • Blue Hills
    • Mayflower
    • Spencer
    • Mystic
    • Cambridge Brewing
    • Pretty Things
    • Cisco
    • Wachusett
    • Ipswich

    Hope to see you there!

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on February 17, 2014

    Rally for Rosie’s Place @ Volante Farms

    March 1-2 & 8-9, 2014

    It’s time for our 2nd Annual Rally for Rosie’s Place, during which we challenge you to donate as much fresh produce in our stores the first two weekends of March, then we match those donations the following two weekends, to give Rosie’s place a plethora of produce during a time of year when fresh vegetables and fruits are at their most scarce and most expensive.

    We make donations to food banks everyday of the week in the Needham and surrounding areas, but our longest partnership to date has been with Rosie’s Place, a shelter for poor and homeless women and their families. Our donations go to the food program and dining room at the shelter.

     “For 40 years Rosie’s Place has provided a safe and nurturing environment for poor and homeless women to maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. Our food programs further our mission by giving our guests access to fresh, healthy, and nutritious food that is too often simply not an option for families struggling to make ends meet.”

    -Patricia Jones, Food Pantry Manager

    Last year  you donated over 500 pounds of fresh produce, which allowed us to watch for a full half ton for the month. If we can do even more than that this time around that will be great, and the beauty of it is if there is too much the kitchen there will be able to get it to other needy people in the greater Boston area.

    Our cashiers will be asking you this March 1 & 2 and 8 & 9 if you would like to add something to the Rosie’s Place Donation Basket. We will even have some suggested items readily available to choose from, like apples, oranges, broccoli, carrots, and whatever looks extra fresh that day.

    Rosie’s Place volunteer, Tracy Firth, who picks up our regular donation here every week, will stop in on the following Monday, tally our totals for the weekend and let us know what we need to do to meet our end of the challenge.

    Tracy Firth, Rosie’s Place volunteer (l) and Teri Volante Boardman (r) revel in the match of produce from just one weekend last year. Cases of Strawberries and fresh Tomatoes make for a great winter menu. Each of those boxes packs another 25 lbs of fresh vitamins  and minerals into needy bodies.

    Please help us to meet and beat last year’s numbers, and share this post with your school and religious organizations. Please contact us at info@volantefarms.com with any questions.

    Thank You!

     “For 40 years Rosie’s Place has provided a safe and nurturing environment for poor and homeless women to maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. Our food programs further our mission by giving our guests access to fresh, healthy, and nutritious food that is too often simply not an option for families struggling to make ends meet.”

    -Patricia Jones, Food Pantry Manager

    If you would like to help spread the word on this outreach project in addition to participating, you may download and post this flyer on your community board:

    Ideal types of Donations, in addition to fresh fruit and vegetables  include:

     

     

    Shelters like Rosie’s Place depend on non-perishable donations throughout the year for their guests, and Rosie’s Place in particular has been striving in recent years to put fresh food and healthy produce on their tables to promote healthy diets for their guests. See the archived article in The Boston Globe about their efforts here:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2013/01/08/rosie-place-offers-nutritious-meals-with-high-quality-foods/ZzdAZNQfcmTaelF42dg9uI/story.html

     

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on

    Still working on the official name, but all the important information is in the title. You wanted more contests, and we found a way to give you one. The first Saturday in March we are trying out a Soup Contest.  How will it work? Well the beauty of the first one is we never really quite know. The Chili Contest has been a success, so we will take cues from it.

    The Rules are:

    1. Make your favorite soup, vegetarian, meaty, chowdery, etc. (Sorry, no Chili! That was last month.)
    2. Bring it in to the farm by 11:15 on March 1st, it should be ready to eat, we will have electrical outlets for crock pot available.
    3. Have copy of your original recipe available, we will want to share it on the website if it wins!
    4. Use ingredients from Volantes, at least one, highlight it on your recipe.

    Judging by our elite panel will take place @ 11:30 am

    Prizes

    1st place: $100 Volante Farms Gift Card, plus an opportunity to judge next year’s contest.

    2nd place: $50 Volante Farms Gift Card

    3rd place: $25  Volante Farms Gift Card

    Registration is free, all participants receive a 10% off coupon to use that day.

    Please register with our cashiers or on the form below

    Sign me Up for the 1st Annual Soup Contest
    March 1st 2014

    Name (required)

    Phone (required)

    Email Address

     

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on

    By popular demand, we bring you our first all vegetarian dining event, in the form of a Cooking Class with chef Todd on March 8 @ 6:30. We have been so meat focused lately with the arrival of John Dewar’s Meat to the farmstand, that we thought we could afford to even it out a little bit and stick to the reason the farm is here in the first place.

    Like our other classes tickets are $50 with a $15 wine pairing, you’ll be in an intimate atmosphere with chef Todd while he leads you through the steps of creating several vegetarian dishes, and then you’ll get to taste them as they are complete. He usually has an appetizer, entrée, and a couple of sides and dessert so there is a good array, and plenty to satisfy. Don’t worry, as usual the real menu won’t be ready til you arrive that night, fresh as can be. Best to let him know about any allergies in advance, he can get as wild as those mushrooms!

    So if you are a practicing plant eater, or have a lettuce loving loved one you’d like to learn how to impress at the dinner table consider joining us for the night.

     

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on February 14, 2014

     

    Volante Farms is thrilled to be bringing another local offering to your table as the new home of John Dewar’s Meats. We are pleased to announce – that we have created a strategic alliance with John Dewar Co and TF Kinnealey & Co – which allows us offer a broad array of the very same items that had been previously featured at their Wellesley store.  Whether it is for a special occasion, a holiday meal or dinner with the family – we have you covered.  

    We already carried much of Kinnealey’s fine products in our store,  and with the recent closure of John Dewar’s landmark store in Wellesley, we have been given a unique opportunity to bring you the same quality meat and service that you have long appreciated. If you are unfamiliar with John Dewar’s prepare to be impressed by the quality, variety and taste of the offerings. Volante’s will be carrying all of your favorite Dewar cuts in pre-portioned airtight packages, right in our meat case, so all you have to do is swing by the meat aisle, grab, and go. We hope to be able to offer you the same variety of a full scale butcher counter with the convenience of our reach—in refrigerated displays. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for please ask for Todd or Steve in the kitchen and we will do our best to help fulfill your needs.

    We will be adding to our offerings weekly with specials and seasonal favorites so be on the lookout for new cuts. As this program is just getting started we welcome any and all suggestions. We understand the importance of quality proteins and selection; your input is greatly appreciated. Let us take care of the product, so you can take care of the cooking.

     

     Current Offerings

    • Tenderloin
    • Strip
    • Ribeye
    • Skirt Steak Prime Cut
    • Veal Cutlet
    • Lamb Loin Chop
    • Allen Chicken Legs
    • Allen Whole Chicken

     

    Much more Beef, Pork and Poultry to come soon!

    Posted in | Leave a reply
    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on February 3, 2014

    Ok gang, another great weekend cooking event! Everyone seemed to have fun and enjoy the competition and what a great kick off to Superbowl weekend to get those spices going.

    A pattern is emerging though, that we have some real high-caliber amateur chefs in the neighborhood. No real surprise, as high-caliber chefs should be shopping at a shop as nice as ours *ahem* but still all of this year’s placing winners were not only former cooking contest contestants, but actual winners too!

    Special thanks to our own chef Todd, Alex of Alex’s Ugly Sauce, and last year’s winner Mike Bolio for lending their ironclad taste buds to the event to act as judges. They were certainly careful to taste and retaste, and retaste and for goodness sake hurry up everyone is getting too hungry to wait. But knowing how serious people are about their chili recipes, no one wanted to be accused of under appreciating.

    There were 9 contestants, so the odds were actually pretty good, and the breadth of chili types was vast. There was a white chili, a Texas chili, and even one with a strong hint of citrus to it. But the hands down winner was from this summer’s  Cooking Contest 2nd place winner, Lauren Murphy, with her Mexican Chili with Cactus and Hominy. Lauren has been getting into Mexican fine cuisine in her home and through recent travel and presented a super flavor rich Mexican Green Corn Soup this summer which is also a worthy recipe to try out in these snowy months.

    Lauren’s First Place Winning Mexican Chili with Cactus and Hominy

    Even though these judges didn’t seem too concerned with presentation, as the official photographer of chili pots, I have to say I loved Lauren’s presentation. It’s hard to make chili look appetizing regardless of how it’s made so the accoutrements on display certainly helped!

    A close up of Hominy and Cactus

    Her unique ingredients included a wide varirty of dried and fresh pepers, hominy, cactus with garnsihes of queso fresco, cilantro, onion, and homemade tortillas for garnish. The judges loved the complexity of the chili, the creeping heat, the huge variety of vegetables, and the slight sweetness. See below for recipe.

    Lauren’s Chili

    2nd place went to Jeff Weller, last year’s 3rd place winner, so he is certainly working his way up in the local ranks, and a force to watch in future contests. His Hot Dog Heaven Chili combined pulled pork, bacon, and italian sausage as well as three types of Baer’s Beans from Maine, including the Tolosanos, which I personally use in my chili and love the effect. The judges were wowed by the sweet, pineapply flavor which must have come from the lemon juice, the depth of flavor and tendder shredded texture of the meat.

    Jeff’s Chili

    3rd place was a tie, aren’t they always? This one between 2011′s Apple Pie Contest Winner Emily Williams and 2011′s Cooking Contest 2nd Place Winner Paul Gardener. The chilies couldn’t have been more different and their non-traditional tastes is what propelled both to the top of the pack. Emily’s Southwest by Northeast White Chicken Chili was the only white chili in the lot with a little tomato for garnish. The judges found it to be non-traditional and the least spicy of the winning blends for those of you looking for a little less heat.

    Emily’s Chili

    Paul’s Chili had a totally different look, with a finer texture than many of the others. Perfect for topping a chili dog in my opinion. The judges liked the heat, flavor, consistency, and classic flavor.

    Paul’s Chili

     

    The winners took home some great prizes yet again. the 3rd place prizes were a $35 gift card to Volante’s for each as well as a bottle of Alex’s Ugly Sauce of their choice. 2nd place took home a $75 gift card and two bottles of Alex’s Ugly Sauce.

    Lauren walked away with the grand prize, $100 to spend at Volante’s, a full trio of Alex’s Ugly Sauce in each of the varieties we carry, a kickin trophy, plus the coveted slot on next year’s Judges Panel.

    After all the excitement, we of course dove in, contestants, employees, and spectators alike to place our own votes on our favorites. It was a spicy sloppy mess for a few minutes, thank goodness we had a beer tasting with several of our new Dogfish Head brews going on at the next table.

    Our next cooking contest will be a first annual, so its a perfect opportunity to put your mark in on the early side of a tradition. You’ve got all month to finesse your favorite soup recipe into shape, and we’ll be holding our first ever Soup Contest on March 1 2014. More details to follow soon.

     

    This weekend be sure to stop by for our Winter Local Food Fest, from 10 -4 on Saturday to visit with over 20 of our favorite local vendors and food artisans, hear their food stories and taste what they bring to our little shop every week.

    Posted by Ryan in Theme Additions on January 13, 2014

    Update: SOLD OUT! Please email us at info@volantefarms.com or fill out form below to be put on the waitlist.

    Please put me on the waitlist for the Feb 27 beer dinner!

    Name (required)

    Phone (required)

    Email Address (required)

    How Many Seats Are You Requesting?

    We are thrilled to announce our first Beer Dinner at the farm, with our friends and local partners Jack’s Abby of Framingham. Slated for February 27 at 7:30 pm, we will be clearing out the farmstand and lining up tables for a fun evening.

    We think we’ve got room for about 100 or so of our closest friends too so you should come join us for a a casual night at the farm. We love the pageantry of the Dinners in the Field, but we also wanted to try something a little laid back. So here are the basics:

    $50 per person, tickets available online, HERE. If you want to purchase tickets in person check with one of the Volantes in the farmstand, but the fastest and easiest way is too purchase and reserve online.

    Menu includes 4 drinks: 1 each x 6 ounce  of Jack’s Abby 3 flagship lagers and 1 seasonal.

    The family style meal will include an appetizer, first course, main with side, and dessert. Each dish will also have a beer component in the ingredients. Our chef Todd is involved so the menu will probably be tweaked right up near the last minute, but we are excited to be launching our new partnership officially with John Dewar Meats the same evening. John Dewar will be on hand and the menu will certainly now reflect this exciting new aspect to our store.

    There will be a brief introduction from the brewers at Jack’s Abby and they will be on hand to discuss their beer, and Todd will say a few words about his kitchen’s meal as well, but for the most part we will just be enjoying the food and atmosphere.

    For questions and more info please email steve@volantefarms.com

    Looking forward to seeing you February 27th!

    Must be Over 21 and show valid ID.