July 2020 Volume 6 . Issue 8 golocalmagazines.com
The apple place
baked goods, fruits and ice cream!
johnnyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roadside market garden Golden Irene restaurant
Check it out:
fenton river veterinary hospital GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 1
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new this month JULY 2020 . VOLUME 6 . ISSUE 8
THE APPLE PLACE IN E. LONGMEADOW When Cindy Normandin was age seven back around 1970, her parents purchased a 19-acre farmstead in East Longmeadow, which today serves as the backdrop for The Apple Place - an authentic New England farm stand selling fruits, baked goods, and ice cream.
THE APPLE PLACE
FENTON RIVER VET HOSPITAL
From The Editor Fruits, baked goods, and ice cream. in Tolland and new to Stafford Springs
GO LOCAL PICKS 22 Cool Stuff Just Outside Your Door
JULY 2020 . VOLUME 6 . ISSUE 8
golden irene restaurant
johnnyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roadside market garden
Feeding People and Fueling Hope
Grilled Red Potatoes Veggies and Flowers of All Kinds Put Your Thinking Caps On 7 Places for Take Out Ice Cream
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FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR . G. MICHAEL DOBBS
MANAGING EDITOR G. Michael Dobbs
There are few things more American than a road trip. Being a kid of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the Sunday drive or a magical mystery tour was common. My parents were pretty big advocates of the “I’ve heard of some place and let’s go see it” lifestyle. They had read in the Saturday Evening Post about a place in Weston, VT, operated by a Vermonter and Harvard graduate who had a career in the Consular Service as well as in journalism. After this interesting career, he settled in Weston, established a mail-order business and in 1946 bought an old building and established an old-fashioned country store. He started receiving national publicity in 1952. My parents made the road trip to Weston probably around 1959 or 1960 and it became a favorite destination for them. As a little kid I marveled at it. It seemed like a time machine complete with a pot-belled wood stove with old geezers playing checkers near it. My standard request while at the country store was the bag of “penny” candy. It contained sweets that were both recognizable and not. I distinctly remember one called “moth balls” that did indeed look like the little balls you placed in drawers and trucks to get rid of moths. For the record, they had a vanilla taste. The Vermont Country Store is still thriving today with two locations and a large mail order division. They feature hard to find items from America’s past and my wife and I have continued the tradition of going there. My mom and dad went to Weston, which had other interesting businesses, many, many times. With each trip they would find other places along the way that interested them. That’s the essence of the classic road trip: you may have a destination in mind, but it’s likely you will find other interesting stops along the way. My wife and her father have their own version of a road trip. They will literally drive down roads with which they are unfamiliar and see what they discover. And in the years they have done this, they have seldom become lost and have always come back with news of a diner or an interesting shop they’ve discovered. In this issue of Go Local, there are some great road trip destinations. In fact we’ve mapped out a pretty good day for you. Gas up the car, strap the kids safely in and try The Apple Place in East Longmeadow first. See what baked goods they have, pick up some fruit and let the kids see some farm animals. Next, for plants for your home and garden, and vegetables for your kitchen, stop at Johnny’s Roadside Market Garden in Enfield. They grow much of what they sell themselves, plus get other produce as well. By now you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite. Why not try Golden Irene Restaurant in East Windsor? Greek cuisine is the eatery’s specialty. There is a solid, fun road trip that won’t take our readers too far from home. Bring a mask, practice social distancing and give yourself a break, while supporting small businesses. - G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor
Beth Thurber, Manager . Leigh Catchepaugh Elizabeth O’Donoghue . Susan Bartlett
DESIGN Michelle Johnson, Manager
Barb Perry, Manager . Kim Barba . Lisa Nolan Paula Dimauro . Scott Greene . Nancy Holloway Jeanette Grenier . Matt Mahaney Rosanne Miller-Longtin . Victoria Owen Carolyn Napolitan, Sales Assistant
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CONTACT US! 280 North Main Street • East Longmeadow, MA 01028 Tel: 413.525.6661 • Fax: 413.525.5882
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WE ARE OPEN! Effective May 26, 2020, our office is open, with service provided by appointment only. NO WALK-IN SERVICE IS AVAILABLE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Office hours will vary, so please call and leave a message and we will return your call. We have new procedures in place for your safety. Details are available on our Facebook page and website. Thank you for your patience.
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The Ivy at Ellington is the newest assisted living residential community from The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities. Ellington has its roots as an agricultural community as well as a resort community with Crystal Lake within its boundaries. Conveniently located at 123 West Road in Ellington, CT, our community oﬀers 79 one and two-bedroom apartments, as well as Reﬂections, our specialized memory support environment. In our elegant home-like environment, residents can enjoy many amenities, including dining on local culinary favorites, participating in engaging and enriching social opportunities, and quality personal care services daily. The Ivy Ellington oﬀers many levels of care. Please contact us for more information.
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! KEITH O’CONNOR NATE BLAIS
hen Cindy Normandin was age seven back around 1970, her parents purchased a 19-acre farmstead in East Longmeadow, which today serves as the backdrop for The Apple Place - an authentic New England farm stand selling fruits, baked goods, and ice cream. Before the move, the family owned a home and orchard where the Five Town Plaza now stands on Cooley Street in Springfield. “My father, Wallace McNeish, also moved most of our fruit trees to the farm,” Normandin said. McNeish had a love for growing plants and trees. Every year he continued to add many different varieties to the orchard, which at the time was purely a hobby. Eventually that hobby turned into a business when they were producing too many apples to eat or give away
to friends. So, he built a makeshift tent on the side of their driveway from which to sell his apples. After nurturing 20 trees, he moved the fruit stand to the farm’s big barn. Throughout the years, Normandin, who had her own family and jobs that kept her busy, helped her father to pick apples until he passed away about 12 years ago as she describes, “at the ripe old age of 88, still driving the tractor the week that he left this earth.” “We have a tender spot in our hearts for the farm and didn’t want to sell after my father died and see the land turned into just another development in town. In fact, my sister built a home next to the property,” Normandin said. After her father’s death, she moved her family to live on the farm and eventually assumed running The Apple Place. The GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 13
farm house, which has seen many additions over the years, is one of the oldest in East Longmeadow dating back to 1819. The original part of the home once housed a beehive oven and cheese room. Before turning her attention fulltime to The Apple Place, Normandin attended Johnson and Wales culinary school and worked as a chef for many years - including at Friendly’s cofounder Prestley Blake’s Lamitie’ restaurant in Longmeadow and The Chestnut Tree on Mattoon Street in Springfield - before opening her own breakfast and lunch shop in Springfield for five years called Tastebuds. Noting it “seemed like a good fit,” Cindy put her talents as a chef to work at The Apple Place by opening a bakery on the farm in 2010. “My father, who was a very stubborn person, wanted to fix up an old garage on the property. We wanted to rip it down, but he wanted to redo it before dying, and it is now home to our bakery,” Cindy said. “I was also inspired to open the bakery from our family trips to Cape Cod during the summer. My 14 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
son and I would walk to Woolfie’s, a family breakfast bakery, and I always thought it would be nice to have my own place like theirs,” she added. All of their baked goods, which vary from day to day, are made from scratch on the farm including their cider donuts, pies, muffins, scones, cinnamon buns, cookies, croissants, breads, bread pudding, turnovers, flats (think of a Pop Tart), and quiche. Homemade soups are offered in the cooler weather months. In 2012, Cindy began a project with UMass and the State of Massachusetts to plant high density apple trees that are planted very close together and rely on a wire for stability. As a result, a portion of the orchard grew to 1,000 trees where there once was 70. She noted it was hard to watch the trees she grew up alongside pulled from the ground, but lauded the fact that the new technique produces better fruit and more yield per acre. Since then, they have undertaken two additional phases to replace more of their older, larger trees and the farm now has more than 1,500 trees. Today they bear an assortment of apples including many heirloom varieties such as Wolf River, Ashmead’s Kernal, Winesap, Macouns, Honeycrisp, Baldwin, Macs and Cortland apples, as well as tree ripened peaches and pears. Peaches will be ready in late July and apples starting in late August at The Apple Place, which also produces apple cider, apple butter, chunky applesauce, and apple cider slushies from the crop. In 2015, The Apple Place built an old-fashioned ice cream stand from which they sell local farmfresh ice cream from Hadley’s Maple Valley Creamery, including cones, shakes, and sundaes. They also serve premium, creamy soft service ice cream.
But, Normandin doesn’t do all of this on her own. Her husband, Neal, assists with the day-to-day operations. “I couldn’t do this without his help. Neal tends the orchards and spreads cheer with customers,” she said. While any special events like their annual fall festival are on hold due to the coronavirus, Normandin noted they will continue with live music performed by small acoustic groups or solo acts, usually on the weekends once the state gets to Phase 3 in the re-opening process. “People love coming here on the weekends to hear the music, enjoy an ice cream or other treat, with the sight of our orchard in the background. It makes for a nice summer night out,” Normandin said. The Apple Place has a 6-acre themed corn maze every year. This year the corn maze will pay tribute to the doctors and nurses on the frontlines. Games in the corn maze will be on the customers own cell phone allowing for safe interactive fun. Also, their multi-colored Tie Dye Trailer from which they serve up hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries will be opening sometime in July. “We also have an area where visitors can see up-close some farm animals including pigs and chickens. And we have a little train garden with miniature people near the seating area which is another idea I took away while visiting Cape Cod,” Normandin said. “It’s been a challenge with the pandemic, and wearing a face mask is difficult to bake with, but we are managing. All of our staff wear face masks and we are taking extra precautions with special sanitation because of the virus. Face masks and social distancing must be observed will visiting with us, but we have a pretty sprawling place in which to walk around and be safe” Normandin said. Located on 540 Somers Road (Rt. 83) in East Longmeadow, The Apple Place is open from April through Thanksgiving, Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The farm stand is closed on Mondays.
For more information, visit theappleplace.net or call (413) 348-9628. GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 15
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IT’S BLUEBERRY SEASON AT DZEN BLUEBERRY HILL
PICK YOUR OWN BLUEBERRIES Call 860.644.4575
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Bring the whole family to enjoy “Dzens” best at one of the area’s few remaining Pick-Your-Own Blueberry Farms!
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Fresh picked blueberries are also available at Dzen Garden Market in Ellington.
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Barber Hill Road, East Windsor/S. Windsor Town Line Mon-Fri, 8am-12noon & 4pm-8pm • Sat-Sun, 8am-4pm
16 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
! VICKI MITCHELL
Fenton River Veterinary
Horses, iguanas, pigs, dogs, cats, reindeer, even frogs…but no lions or tigers or bears have been treated at Fenton River Veterinary Hospital…yet. But give them time…it could happen! The veterinary practice began as an ambulatory service in 2014, with Dr. Scott Morey traveling to farms and homes to treat animals in his truck, which was outfitted with the capability to perform x-rays, ultra-sound, and surgery. The current facility was established by Dr. Morey and his wife, Dr. Heidi Morey, in Tolland, Connecticut a year later, and has now grown to a nine doctor practice with over 30 employees. Furthermore, a second facility has just opened in Stafford, Connecticut and is a another complete, full service practice which offers veterinary and hospital care for both small and large animals, such as horses, cows, and goats. They are very excited about their new facility, and Scott Morey says they “will definitely maintain both locations. Tolland is a very busy practice and the community in Tolland has been excellent to us. Because of our amazing staff, our Tolland hospital has a welcomGOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 17
ing and caring atmosphere. Our facilities are bright and clean, and designed with the comfort of our patients in mind. We look forward to bringing this same level of care and spirit to Stafford as well. Our staff has always and will continue to work as a cohesive unit. Most staff will remain at respective locations, but our computerized records and protocols are one and therefore clients and patients can visit either location with ease.” Scott and Heidi Morey met as 12-year olds through the 4-H Club, and have now come full circle as veterinarians with their own practice. They live in Stafford with their children Ashlynn (age 6) and Jackson (age 5). The other doctors currently in the practice are Weston Brown, Kathryn Garner, Tracy Zulick, Sarah Plante, Lauren DelTosta, Audrey Wojtkowski, and Katie Pruett, and more may be added to help staff the expanded practice. Dr. Scott Morey refers to the staff as “a dynamic team” that can “put their heads together” and figure out the best solution for any problems which may arise. He constantly gets compliments on his “awesome staff,” he says. The practice treats any and all kinds of animals, and currently about 75% of their patients are small animals and exotics, and 25% are equine and large animals. They perform all types of routine and emergency surgeries, are on-call 24/7 for emergency care, and will soon be offering a 24-hour staffed emergency hospital at the Tolland facility. When asked what farm animals they treat in addition to horses, Scott Morey replied “we treat all farm animals. Our primary practice is equine, but we also treat dairy and beef cows, sheep, goats, pigs, alpacas, chickens, ducks, you name it. We actually treat a lot of pet pigs too, including spaying and neutering them just like we do dogs. They make great companions, too! Some of our veterinarians do small animal only and there are four of us that do large animals primarily.” He continued by explaining some of the more unfamiliar treatments required for some of these animals, particularly their equine patients. “Horses require an entirely different set of medicine and equipment compared to other animals,” he said. “Horses teeth grow continuously throughout their life, which require filing or “floating”. We safely and correctly perform this procedure using mild sedation and state-ofthe art instruments. Another treatment modality we use frequently on horses is shockwave, which uses electrically generated sound waves to 18 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
penetrate injured tissue. This sound wave stimulates and recruits the cells that heal tendons, ligaments and bone. We use this treatment for a plethora of lameness conditions in both recreational and performance horses.” When asked to share some of their more memorable cases, Dr. Scott Morey said, “the most exciting thing about our job is that every day is something different. No two cases are ever alike. However, we especially like working on some of the more exotic animals. One of our favorites is working on some of Santa’s reindeer that live at Dzen Tree Farm in South Windsor. Most recently Dr. Heidi Morey and I have done surgery on an emu, an iguana, spayed a baby bearded dragon, and Dr. Brown even performed a leg amputation on a green tree frog!” One of the primary points that Dr. Morey stresses about the Fenton River Veterinary practice is that “besides providing exceptional medicine and surgery to all species, what really sets us apart is that our customer service is impeccable. Our doctors and staff go above and beyond for our clients. We always do what’s best for our patients and we make sure to always get animals an appointment when they are sick. The diversity of expertise of our doctors allows us to collaborate with each other to ensure patients are getting the best treatment. We understand how strong the humananimal bond is and our philosophy is to ensure long lasting relationships between our veterinarians and their patients.”
FENTON RIVER VETERINARY HOSPITAL 9F Fieldstone Commons Tolland, CT 860-870-8701 73 West Stafford Road (Rte. 190) Stafford, Ct 860-971-7300 fentonrivervet.com GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 19
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COOL STUFF JUST OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR AND ONLINE!
SUMMER CONCERT SERIES IN SOMERS GAZEBO ON BATTLE STREET SOMERS, CONNECTICUT Summer Concert Series — 2020 Summer Concert Series every Thursday at 6:30 pm beginning June 25th to August 8th at the Gazebo on Battle Street. An inclement weather date will be the next day (Friday) same location and time.
July Concert Series Dates: July 2 or 3 Truck Stop Troubadours July 9 or 10 Decades Experience July 16 or 17 Kate Stone & Company July 23 or 24 The Knightsmen Band July 30 or 31 Steel ‘n Eazy Due to COVID-19 and State of Connecticut, state guidelines will be followed at all concerts. Please visit www.somersct.gov for more information.
ANNUAL SOUTHWICK FIREWORKS! THE WICK 338 46 POWDER MILL ROAD, SOUTHWICK, MASSACHUSETTS Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 5 PM – 10 PM Bonfire, Food Vendors, Bounce house, DJ and more! We are accepting donations to help fund this years fireworks, we need to raise close to $12,000!! Visit: southwickcivicfund.org Fireworks will be launched from starting line of The Wick 338, & the best viewing area will be Whalley Park or the bleachers in front of the Legion Bar. Bonfire, vendors, etc will be accessible from both Whalley park as well as the Legion area. 22 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
FARMERS MARKET AT SUN VALLEY 51 OLD SPRINGFIELD ROAD, STAFFORD SPRINGS, CONNECTICUT FACEBOOK.COM/ FARMERSMARKETSUNVALLEY We offer local residents a unique shopping experience. Shoppers can expect local farm, food and craft booths at a shady picturesque venue. Come join us for an enjoyable evening out. Friday’s from 4-7 June - August. Open to the public. We have a large spacious parking lot that is free to park in. There is also an on site Four Seasons Restaurant which you can plan to have dinner at or grab dinner to go. We do ask that you please wear a mask in the market area as well as bring your own hand sanitizer. Help to keep our market safe by social distancing 6 feet and only touching the items you plan to buy.
! VICKI MITCHELL VICKI MITCHELL/FACEBOOK PHOTOS
Golden Irene W
hen Billy and Hazel Akkouris opened their Greek restaurant in the early 1980’s in East Windsor, Connecticut, they named it Golden Irene. In Greece, Saint Irene is invoked by those seeking a swift and happy marriage, and so she was honored for the part she played in the couple’s love story. They ran the popular restaurant for the next 20 years, until health problems forced them to think about closing their business. Meanwhile, their son George graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in molecular cell physiology, and thoughts of pursuing a medical degree. Before investing the time and money that would be required to go to medical school, he decided to spend some time working in the medical field. He also wanted to find out if, emotionally, he would be able to deal with the inevitable situation of losing a patient,
FEEDING PEOPLE AND FUELING HOPE
or just not being able to help them. Therefore, he began working in the pharmaceutical field, and in the Patient Care System of a hospice cancer ward. He was working full time at the hospital and nights at the restaurant when his father informed him that if he did not want to take over the restaurant, he would have to close it. So, in 2001 George took over running the restaurant, and in 2004, he bought it from his parents. Today, he and his wife, Christine, are busy running Golden Irene and raising their two children, Vasili (age 3) and Stavros (age 1). When asked how he learned to cook, George Akkouris said that he grew up working in the restaurant, and was basically a “glorified line-cook.” He began to study different cooking techniques, and claims that one of the most valuable lessons he learned in college was “how to find information and put it to GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 23
good use.” He also budgeted for expensive dinners out at high-end restaurants, and would work on “deconstructing” a meal he had enjoyed, and used that to create his own menu. For instance, he told the story of a plane ride home from Chicago where he kept thinking about a beef ragout. “I could see it in my mind, and I could taste it,” he said. When he got home, it only took him two attempts at making it the way he had envisioned it. “I like to push the envelope to make things better,” he said. 24 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
With that thought in mind, he insists on making all of the bread and pasta served in his restaurant from scratch. Making his own bread was partly born of necessity (buying it was getting too expensive) and partly because of the memories he had of the excellent bread in Greece when he spent summers there with his grandmother. He says, “when you start out with something good, you end up with something good,” which means he uses only the freshest, quality ingredients he can find, butchers his own meat, and even grows much of his own produce. His 10acre garden in West Suffield, Connecticut yields lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, onions, eggplant, herbs and more. The “second pickings” are donated to local food shelves. Soon, the garden will be supplying a second restaurant in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, due to open in the near future. That restaurant, to be called Red Stone Pasta Company, will feature a craft cocktail program, a bar that seats 130 patrons, and a dining room that seats 120 with a “show kitchen” in the center for the wood oven. Akkouris plans to feature his “divine” handmade pasta, and pizza baked in the wood-fired ovens. “There’s something primal about cooking with wood and fire,” he says, and it “takes extra skill to master it.” He shared that a six month renovation plan turned into a year, and then COVID -19 came along, further delaying the opening of the new restaurant. The coronavirus pandemic, surprisingly, paved the way for Akkouris and his dedicated managerial team to step up and serve the community in a big way. Just before the actual shut down occurred, they held a meeting to discuss the safety measures that they would implement. Once the shutdown was announced, the regular staff was laid off so they could devote their time to keeping themselves and their families safe while collecting unemployment benefits, if they so desired. Akkouris knew that a lot of people would have a hard time feeding their families if they lost their jobs, and he wanted to help. In addition to his regular menu items available for take-out, he began to offer what he calls “family meals.” A family meal serves four people with a variety of “real food” and includes his homemade
bread. Choices vary from day to day, and have included dishes such as chicken marsala, cheese raviolis, Mexican lasagna and chicken rigatoni. The cost is only $25.00, and that includes the tax. At that price, and the additional cost of the containers to serve it in, the restaurant makes no profit. In addition, Akkouris posted on their Facebook page that if a family couldn’t afford the $25.00, the meal would be free. He has made 50 to 60 family meals per day, which translates to feeding 200 to 240 people every day with no profit to Golden Irene’s. Throughout the shutdown, Akkouris has been “blown away” by the generous support he has received from his loyal customers and the community in general, in wanting to help him with his endeavors. As an example, a regular customer who was still ordering take-out from the regular menu, donated $150.00 per week for three months to help keep the free family meals an option. Another customer wrote him a check for $1,000.00, and some businesses have made donations, as well. The generosity of people has “turned me into a different person,” Akkouris said. “I’ve now seen both sides of this…those who need help, and those who want to help.” He can’t say enough about his management team…Hector Jimenez, Bethann Dumas, Dennis Timmons, and “pizza guy” Mike Mazza, whom he refers to as “the real heroes here.” They have been working 6070 hour weeks to prepare the family meals in addition to the regular take-out business they have been maintaining. “Every day there’s a miracle happening here,” he says. “As much as people are praising me, they are the ones who deserve the praise.” When asked what drove him to begin this charitable effort to help feed those in need, he said, “the honest answer is… God. The second Great Commandment tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves.” He believes that what will get us through this crisis is, “God’s love for us and our love for each other.”
Golden Irene Restaurant is located at 18 Mullen Road in East Windsor, CT 860- 627-5971 Website: www.goldenirenes.com Coming soon: Red Stone Pasta Company at 642 North Main St. in East Longmeadow, Ma GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 25
! RECIPE SUBMITTED BY JANET PARĂ&#x2030;
GRILLED RED POTATOES
With grilling season in full swing, try this light and easy twist on traditional potato salad at your next cookout. It's great hot or cold!
FOR THE GRILLED POTATOES 2 lbs. red potatoes, whole, unpeeled 2 tbsp. olive oil 6 slices bacon, cooked, chopped 4 scallions, chopped 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced FOR THE DRESSING 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tbsp. cider vinegar 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tsp. sugar 26 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
Whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth and set aside. Parboil the potatoes, whole and unpeeled for 15 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Place potatoes in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Preheat grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grates. Grill whole potatoes for 15 minutes, or until fork tender, turning occasionally to get grill marks on both sides. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes; cut into quarters. In a large bowl, toss potatoes, bacon, scallions and parsley with dressing until evenly coated. Serve hot or cold. Enjoy! JANET PARĂ&#x2030; is a home cook who began baking with her Memere (grandmother) at the age of 6. Retired and living in Southampton with her dog, Ziggy and cat, Elie Mae, she now enjoys cooking for family and friends.
! KEITH O’CONNOR NATE BLAIS
Roadside Market Garden
ust picked healthy vegetables to serve at the dinner table. Juicy, ripened fruit for eating whole or baking your favorite creation. And flowers of all kinds. That’s what you’ll find when pulling over to visit Johnny’s Roadside Market Garden in Enfield. Johnny’s has been in business since 1949. It was started by John Swols, who grew up growing tobacco with his mother and brothers. Farming was in his blood, and after he married he cleared the seven acres where the greenhouses and produce stand are today to make room for his new venture - Johnny’s Roadside Market Garden. Swols, an industrious pioneer in the day, built his own home, wood-framed greenhouses one by one, and later the stand. Throughout the years, greenhouses have been updated and added, the stand has increased in size, an endless number of flowers have blossomed, and acres of vegetables have been harvested. Farming was also in the blood of his grandson, Justin Latkofsky, who assumed full
operation of the business this year. “I’ve always worked on the farm. I was in high school when my grandfather passed and his daughter took over, and I pretty much worked full time for my aunt after I graduated in 2005. Farming is more than a job….it’s a lifestyle. I enjoy its fast pace and the challenges that farming can throw at you during the growing season. It can be stressful at times, but it keeps you on your toes. There’s never really a dull moment, no downtime, there’s always something to do,” Latkofsky said. The farmer noted the biggest stress includes the weather, which he said plays a role every single day in the planting, maintenance and harvesting of his produce. There’s also the stress of being a small business owner and “being able to pay your bills on time.” “But, it’s very rewarding to see all your hard work come to fruition,” Latkofsky said. He noted that more and more people recognize the importance and benefits of “buying direct from the farmer.” “People want to know where their produce is coming from. And from a business standpoint, you’re not just supporting me, but the community. There’s a trickle down effect. Farmers own their own land or rent, they pay taxes and higher local help, 28 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
including providing summer jobs for local kids,” Latkofsky said. He noted customers today also want to know they are buying the safest, cleanest product possible. His produce isn’t organically grown, but he does sell the next best thing. His fields are maintained the “old fashioned way.” If there are weeds, they physically pull or hoe them out. If there are bugs, they simply aren’t picked for sale. If it is a poor growing year and a plant needs chemicals to make it through, it is their loss. It’s a rule that Johnny always followed and taught them. “You won’t see someone out in the fields wearing a white suit and spraying the crops. I wouldn’t want to feed those vegetables to my family and certainly not to others. I take seriously the way Johnny did things and do my best to put out the best quality, safest product possible. We also rinse and wash our produce before putting it on display,” Latkofsky said. Johnny’s Roadside Market Garden begins its selling season for plants around May 1 with a huge assortment of annuals and perennials. “We grow a bunch of different hanging baskets and flats for bedding plants, along with single potted annuals and large perennials. One whole greenhouse is dedicated to our vegetable plants, which include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuces and herbs. Throughout the summer, we have a few summer plants available, then we move onto fall plants which include mums, asters and others,” Latkofsky said. When the Fourth of July comes around, that’s when Johnny’s begins to offer a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables. “We grow our own tomatoes, that’s a big thing for us, a lot of them. We also grow our own beets, radishes, carrots, squash, cucumbers, and eggplant. When fall comes around, we have our own fall cabbage to sell, as well as an assortment of corn stalks, gourds, and pumpkins. We also use a big part of our field for growing flowers to create our own bright, colorful, large country bouquets that we sell from summer into the fall,” Latkofsky said. “My goal is to sell as much locally-grown native produce as possible, mainly from Connecticut or Massachusetts, with only a few exceptions such as the bananas, lemons and limes we sell. We bring in corn, green beans, melons, potatoes, sugar snap peas,
strawberries, blueberries and more. As you can imagine after being in business for 71 years, we have made important connections with other local farmers to sell their products. And, there is a really good orchard from Glastonbury where I get my apples, peaches and pears for the farm stand,” he added, noting if it isn’t grown on his farm, he’ll tell you. Tomatoes are one of the most popular veggies that attracts customers to any farm stand, and Latkofsky said he is proud of the different varieties of home-grown native tomatoes - of all sizes, shapes and colors - that he sells from greenhouse to field grown. “You’ll be surprised at the flavor of our greenhouse-grown tomatoes which offers us a better control factor with less disease. Because they are grown indoors, we can start selling them earlier right when we open and later into the season,” Latkofsky said. He also sells a variety of heirloom tomatoes which he said are “increasingly becoming more popular.” “These are old-fashioned tomatoes that haven’t been modified genetically over the years. They come in all sorts of funky colors and shapes. Some love them, others hate them,” Latkofsky said. He is also now growing hydroponic lettuce, including Bibb, Green Leaf, Red Leaf and Romaine, as well as hydroponic basil. Again, both are a healthy choice and no pesticides or herbicides are used during the process. Hydroponics - a growing area of commercial food production - is the process of growing plants indoors in the controlled setting of a greenhouse using nutrient solution in water without the use of soil. One of the many advantages for the farmer is that it is not dependent on the weather and allows for year-long growing, especially in the winter months. Latkofsky doesn’t tend to the land and run the stand without some help. “My wife is a school teacher in Longmeadow, but she is my number one supporter as the spring arrives and through the summer which she has off. I also have two brothers who lend a hand along with the support of my mom and Aunt Linda. There’s also a good group of guys who come back year after year to work on the farm. They helped my grandfather and my aunt, and it is key having these seasoned employees in the transition, he said.
The stand is open through October. They traditionally open for plants on May 1, and add a full line of fruits and vegetables around July 4. Located on 336 North Maple St. in Enfield, Johnny’s is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit johnnysroadsidemarketgarden.com or call (860) 763-1300. GOLOCALMAGAZINES.COM 29
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE - NO GOOGLING!
WHAT COMPANY HAS PROVIDED EVERY TENNIS BALL FOR THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE 1902?
WHAT BREED OF CAT IS KNOWN FOR ITS OWL-LIKE APPEARANCE? [A] [B] [C] [D]
Devon Rex Turkish Angora Scottish Fold Norwegian Forest Cat
[A] Slazenger [B] Penn [C] Wilson [D] Prince THE SCRIPT FOR WHAT MOVIE WAS WRITTEN DURING SHOOTING BREAKS ON THE SET OF RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK?
WHICH TWO U.S. PRESIDENTS DIED ON JULY 4 IN THE SAME YEAR? [A] George Washington & John Quincy Adams [B] Harry Truman & Woodrow Wilson [C] Thomas Jefferson & John Adams [D] Abraham Lincoln & James Buchanan
[A] Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom [B] Close Encounters of the Third Kind [C] E.T. [D] Poltergeist WHICH TV CHARACTER’S POPULAR CATCHPHRASE IS BAZINGA!?
WHAT IS THE OLDEST ACTIVE VOLCANO ON EARTH?
[A] Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory [B] Phil Dunphy – Modern Family [C] Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother [D] Cosmo Kramer – The Jerry Seinfeld Show
[A] Mount Etna (Italy) [B] Mount Fuji (Japan) [C] Mount Olympus (Greece) [D] Krakatoa (Indonesia)
WHAT IS THE NAME OF A SWEET CONFECTION PRIMARILY MADE WITH SUGAR (OR HONEY) AND ALMOND MEAL?
WHAT WAS THE NAME OF LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE’S DOG? [A] Buffy [B] Fluffy [C] Sandy [D] Brownie
[A] Mascarpone [B] Macarons [C] Marzipan [D] Meringue
[A] Purple [B] Green [C] Pink [D] Orange
30 GO LOCAL JULY 2020
8-9 5-7 2-4 0-1
160 110 50 3
Prodigy Egghead Meh Simpleton
1)C 2)A 3)C 4)C 5)A 6)A 7)C 8)C 9)B
WHAT COLOR DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MIX YELLOW AND BLUE?
The Final Countdown
7 Places for takeout ice cream *Please note: List is subject to change given recent circumstances. Please be sure to check each location’s website/social media pages when possible before going.
MOUNTAIN VIEW DRIVE IN RESTAURANT 25 ALLEN STREET, HAMPDEN, MA MTVIEWHAMPDEN.COM
Swing by this Hampden staple for a refreshing ice cream, frozen yogurt, milkshake, frozen yogurt shake, Italian ice, or an Apple Crisp ala Mode to enjoy at their picnic tables.
9 POWDER HILL ROAD, ENFIELD, CT FIND THEM ON FACEBOOK Great flavors in a simple setting with outdoor picnic tables bordering green fields, located “on the quiet side of town.” Traditional hard ice cream and soft serve, Italian ices, sorbets, and frozen yogurt.
GRASSROOTS ICE CREAM
SMYTH’S ICE CREAM
This artisan ice cream shop’s motto is “rooted in creativity”, constantly coming up with new flavors using natural extracts and real ingredients. If you don’t stay for the ice cream, bring home a pint or quart, or order one of their custom-made cakes and pies!
“An Enfield tradition since 1977” uses a state-ofthe-art Italian Capigiani machine to make their ice cream in-house. Offering an extensive soft serve and hard ice cream menu, including both soft and hard frozen yogurt and Italian ice.
4 PARK PLACE, GRANBY, CT GRASSROOTSICECREAM.COM
75 HAZARD AVENUE #3887, ENFIELD, CT SMYTHSICECREAM.COM
112 ALLEN STREET, E.LONGMEADOW, MA FENWAYGOLF.COM Visit Fenway’s snack bar for some chilly treats, including over 24 flavors of soft serve and frozen yogurt. Be sure to try one of their sundaes, flurries, or shakes! They also offer hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken sandwiches.
THE SUMMER HOUSE
552 COLLEGE HIGHWAY, SOUTHWICK, MA SUMMERHOUSERESTAURANT.NET Enjoy an ice cream treat from their takeout window at one of their outdoor picnic tables. In addition to their extensive menu of burgers, fries, and traditional diner foods, try a traditional ice cream flavor, soft serve flavor burst, or frozen yogurt.
MT. TOM’S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & CANDY STORE 34 COTTAGE ST, EASTHAMPTON, MA MTTOMS.COM
Place your order online for takeout for walk-up service by visiting their website first. In addition to traditional ice cream flavors, they also sell no sugar added flavors, hard scoop frozen yogurt, sorbet, and vegan gelato.