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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    Bring the farm home with White Gate to go

    Mini Quiche with Butternut Squash And Bacon from White Gate Farm (Marisa Nadolny)
    Beef Pho from White Gate Farm (Marisa Nadolny)

    It’s always a bummer when our local farmers market closes for the season. Every summer we mean to dig in on our local bounty, and every summer we squeak out a few salads and local BLTs.

    And yet, a loophole! White Gate Farm offers two of my favorite things: Prepared foods made with local produce and goods — through December!

    Here’s how it works: Every Tuesday, White Gate posts the week’s roster of available foods to go — at least 12 to 15 items covering most bases: snacks, main dishes, dessert, salad, soup and more. Orders are welcome through Wednesday. Select what you’d like to bring home, and anytime between 3 and 6 p.m. on Fridays or during farm stand hours on the weekend, head over to the farm where a bag with your name on it (literally) will be waiting for you.

    Convenience? Check. Bonus? The location. As most readers know, White Gate Farm is absolutely lovely. I rolled up on a recent bright-mooned night and took a moment to gape at the light over the fields in which one might be tempted to wait for the Great Pumpkin. Beckoning the visitor is a brightly lit farm “stand” which is really a shop stocked with local goods, White Gate items, and a roomful of preorders.

    Thanks to a very good menu selection, I was able to cast a wide net of items to sample and make a list of Things to Try Next/Reorder.

    At the top of that list is the amazing mini chicken pot pie ($9.95; 5 inches), the topping of which is very similar to a buttery, flaky croissant. Yes, it’s labeled a mini, but “mini” here is a dense package of chunks of chicken, peas, carrots and a wonderful dash of herbs that delivers every ounce of comfort and satisfaction one looks for in a chicken pot pie.

    We paired the CPP with some bagel chips (ours) and my number-two favorite item, the Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus, available in a half-pint tub ($9.50). Sure, that’s a pricey batch of hummus, but the nourishment therein is worth every penny. Beyond the health benefits of chickpeas and squash, this hummus is simply delicious, with a mild kick of heat courtesy of harissa and sriracha. The fluffy texture was perfect.

    Since it is indeed squash season, the Mini Quiche with Butternut Squash And Bacon ($4.95) also came home with me. While this mini is closer to what that means to most, it is also robust and filling. I’m not sure how one packs that much flavor into a wee pie, but White Gate has nailed it. Where some quiches will rely on a savory like bacon to carry tasters to Flavortown, White Gate’s is much more sophisticated and presents a balanced harmony of proteins and starch within a flaky surrounding crust.

    We sacrificed another bagel to sample the tub of Egg Salad with Dill I was physically unable to resist ($8.50/half-pint). I don’t think I’ve had egg-salad for a few years, but the photo of it on White Gate’s website — with bright green herbs in a silky base of egg — led to a quick add-to-cart decision. Be assured that you can judge this book by its cover (as long as you’re a dill fan), from the near-uniform cubes of chopped egg to the deft balance of herbs. Parsley underscored the bright tang of the dill and backup vinegar-y notes brought this smooth side-dish all together.

    Another happy discovery was the soup of the week: Beef Pho with rice noodles ($7.50/pint). Chilly fall nights demand soup, and pho is among soupdom’s coziest concoctions. The beef broth looked so tasty, we had to give it a sample before we dumped in the noodles and herbs (packed separately). This is a deeply savory broth, with back-end flavor notes of either fish sauce or some other umami source, and a smooth finish. Paired with the fresh, wiggly noodles., this little pint of soup becomes a toothsome, tasty meal.

    We ended up eating one night’s dessert selection for breakfast, because Pomegranate Chia Pudding with fresh berries and house granola ($7.95/pint) is perfectly appropriate first thing. If you ever want to feel instantly healthy, please try this pudding. Chia seeds add tapioca-like texture, and the zing of the berries and the freshness of the granola were enlivening and delicious. The cherries on top in this case were sliced red grapes, and the addition of their tart-sweet-firm profile added a very enjoyable layer to the whole mix.

    Good food makes for an overall good meal-time experience. Our meals were a fantastic Thanksgiving preview, and we look forward to extending the season of bounty with more farm-fresh dishes from White Gate Farm.

    IF YOU GO

    White Gate Farm

    83 Upper Pattagansett Road, East Lyme

    (860) 739-9585

    https://shop.whitegatefarm.net

    Cuisine: Seasonal locavore comfort-food meals, side dishes and snacks.

    Atmosphere: Cheerful and sizable farm stand on a beautiful farm

    Service: Helpful and welcoming

    Hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 23.

    Prices: A bit more than the equivalent items at the grocery store but reasonable—the quality is well worth it. That said, the most expensive item on a recent week’s menu was the four-pack of fresh cilantro-lime salmon burgers for $22.95.

    Credit Cards: Accepted

    Reservations: N/A

    White Gate Farm

    83 Upper Pattagansett Road, East Lyme

    (860) 739-9585

    https://shop.whitegatefarm.net

    Cuisine: Seasonal locavore comfort-food meals, side dishes and snacks.

    Atmosphere: Cheerful and sizable farm stand on a beautiful farm

    Service: Helpful and welcoming

    Hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 23

    Prices: A bit more than the equivalent items at the grocery store but reasonable — the quality is well worth it. That said, the most expensive item on a recent week’s menu was the four-pack of fresh cilantro-lime salmon burgers for $22.95.

    Credit cards: Accepted

    Reservations: N/A

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