Farmer in the Dell Features Delicious Farm-to-Table Cuisine in
in the Dell, Walpole, Massachusetts.
Eric Hurwitz. Page created on 4/20/17.
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Just as you thought the barn door was closed on any unique,
new food spots opening in the southwest Boston, Mass., suburbs, along
comes the Farmer in the Dell in Walpole, Mass.
Named after the famous nursery rhyme game, the Farmer in the Dell
became part of a growing downtown Walpole dining scene a few years back
first farm-to-table restaurant within a 12-mile radius (Boston area
driving translation: 25-minute drive). That's great news for residents
of this pleasant small town as well as surrounding communities like
Norwood, Medfield, Westwood, Dover, Foxboro, Norfolk and Sharon.
The farm-to-table theme -- using seasonal, fresh and wholesome
ingredients that are sourced locally, whenever possible -- serves as a
much-needed concept in a world that often favors fast food and "same
old thing" dishes like pizza, burgers and chicken tenders.
Judging from the early stages, the Farmer in the Dell taps into the
farm-to-table business model exceptionally well. "Day one" in business
often suggests what's to come as grand openings test owner
preparedness. Have menus been printed? Does the restaurant offer what's
on the menu? Has the decor been finalized? Does staff present itself as
professional, composed, pleasant and efficient?
The Farmer in the Dell delivered on its promise the very first day with
a complete menu, full display cases of baked goods, an active kitchen
with a chef presence, an appealing small sit-down dining room
atmosphere with rural touches, and a staff that warmly welcomed
customers upon arrival.
Don't let the rural name fool you: this is not a hokey Hee Haw
cornfield subsidiary. Farmer in the Dell feels more like a special
dining spot you'd find in the city with a penchant for fine cuisine --
the kind of place you might expect to show up on the Food Network.
Owners Thi Bowles, and Adam and Brooke Laliberte live in town, have
significant culinary experience and a mission to share their love of
innovative cooking to their hometown. Executive chef Adam has a
background in Italian cooking, Brooke as a baker and pastry chef, and
Thi in Asian cuisine and as a catering director and cooking instructor.
"There's a tremendous need for this type of food in the Walpole,
Norwood, Canton area," said Adam, a Biddeford, Maine, native who
attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, N.Y., for
three years and had most recently worked as a general manager at Au Bon
Pain and as a chef Bon Caldo in Norwood. "There are a lot of places
with burgers, Chinese food and pizza. We wanted something more and we
know a lot of people in town feel the same way. People who come here
will have a wide variety of food offerings and a place that it unique,
that they can really call their own."
It's hard to know where to start -- the myriad baked goods on display
and, on the menu, an excellent variety of soups, salads, breakfast and
lunch sandwiches and dinner entrees. Offerings include unique items
like Green Eggs and Ham (herb omelet with country ham, farmers cheese
and pesto), roasted turkey flatbread with artichoke pesto, carmelized
peppers and onions, aged cheddar and baby arugula, slow roasted brisket
with horseradish cream and slaw on a pretzel roll, Asian chili noodle
salad, rotisserie chicken salad (tremendous!), lemongrass chicken,
house smoked barbecue pork, slow roasted brisket, flatbread pizzas, and
marinated pork banh mi with crispy bacon, pickled vegetables,
herbs and mayo on a baguette.
Roasted turkey flatbread from Farmer in the Dell.
Baked goods include individual fruit pies,
coconut cream tart, chocolate torte, whoopie pies, specialty brownies
(pictured to the left; the best I've ever tasted!) and maple glazed
cinnamon rolls. The baked goods have a lineage to the offerings of
Butter Cafe and Bakery, which formerly occupied this building --
although the Farmer in the Dell's approach to baking has a more
"natural ingedients" twist and many different offerings.
"It's exciting and ever evolving," said Laliberte, of the farm-to-table
food selections. "We always ask ourselves 'How can we get better?' We
always try to use local farms, keep prices reasonable and always do our
homework on what we have to do to make this concept work."
Laliberte added that the menu will be revamped for the four New England
seasons, tapping into the most relevant seasonal produce. He also said
that while The Farmer in the Dell will always strive to source from
local farms, the ultimate goal is to acquire the highest quality foods
-- sometimes that means searching nationwide.
"Sometimes, local is not better," said Laliberte."It's all about
finding the best sources that fit in with the (farm-to-table) concept."
So far, the concept has really taken off in Walpole, as the parking lot
is often packed and lines can be seen inside several times during a
given day. The Lalibertes and Bowles work on site together virtually
the whole time, six days a week.
"Our families have known each other for several years," said Adam. "And
this is what we want to do. The response has been great. We really like
Walpole as a community and that is why we decided to live here and do
business in town."
The most important element of this downtown Walpole restaurant is
that the Farmer in the Dell clearly gives one a reason to return.
You'll find items here that can't be found anywhere else locally and
the attention to customer service through its counter service is about
the best we've seen at a restaurant in the past few years.
Additionally, prices are reasonable for most items -- good news, given
that this is all high-end food. The Farmer in the Dell also has a beer
and wine license and now offers gourmet, prix-fixe
dinner events (call 508- 921-3647 for details).
Ultimately, small eateries can only succeed with pride of
ownership and the Farmer in the Dell clearly recognizes this
crucial element. As other restaurants with myopic business vision are
being put out to pasture in this rough economy, the Farmer in the Dell
-- given its initial impeccable attention to detail and unique
presentation -- has become a local favorite,
Farmer in the Dell is located at 935 East St., Walpole MA. Tel.
(508) 921-3647. Call for hours.
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