Did you hear those spring peepers? If so, it’s time for the big farm stores open! The Carrot Barn in Schoharie has finally transitioned from weekend hours to a full time operation. To celebrate, I joined Ev and Peg Rau and about seven little Girl Scouts in Schoharie on Saturday to sign our new book, Stand Tall, and sell cookies. There was an antique show going on the village, which drew a lot of customers into the store. I was happy to meet Richard Ball, who somehow manages to combine the running of a large, successful, farm with his duties as NYS Commissioner of Agriculture – and remaining a pivotal presence in this community.
I knew I was entering a sacred space when I caught a whiff of freshly baked cider donuts mingled with new potting soil as I opened the door. Ev and Peg were holding court in a little room between the greenhouse and the shop. Many old friends stopped by, but we were all moved when a woman mentioned that she was buying the book for her heart doctor to thank him for caring for her husband who had recently passed away. It turned out that he is the same doctor who nursed Peg through her recent bout with congestive heart failure. It’s wonderful to see Ev’s book travel from hand to hand, adding new links to the web of gratitude.
Winter is a tough time if you’re committed to eating local food in upstate New York. Outlets shrink and most of what’s available has been stored from the fall. This is reflected in the Carrot Barn’s current offering, so I like that they have a broad spectrum of produce from other sources to complement their local offerings. You could do your weekly grocery shopping here. Everything is labeled as to origin. You know that you’re buying their potatoes or carrots – but that the asparagus and lemons have come from somewhere else. They have a fantastic selection of local pastured beef, along with local eggs, milk, and butter. And of course, potted plants and home cooked cider donuts! All this is intermingled with a well-chosen mix of cards, books, and prints of local farms.
Schoharie Valley Farms’ Carrot Barn is located on Route 30, just outside the Village of Schoharie. They’re open daily March through December from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
They have a bakery, coffee shop, food market and greenhouse. 518-295-7139.