Monday, September 8, 2008
There is a little town in the hills of Western Massachusetts called Ashfield. It is a mysterious town, not quite close to anything, but in itself it is a mecca for those desiring the certain food experience that Ashfield has to offer. Beyond the single block main street, there are a plethora of farms that offer angelically raised meat, raw milk, and perfect and chemical free tomatoes. Ashfield is also the home of the New England Cheese Making Supply Company, the spiritual center of home cheesemakers nationwide.
On this beautiful autumn Sunday morning however, I didn't come to worship the homemade cheese or to take my children to the llama farm. I came to have breakfast at Elmer's.
Elmer's has all of the traditionally fabulous elements of a local breakfast place. Almost all of the ingredients on the menu are locally sourced. The eggs are a deep pasture-fed yellow and the bread is made right there in the kitchen. They even give a choice between powdered hot chocolate and real melted chocolate hot chocolate (there must be people out there who like the powder better, I guess).
What brings Elmer's into the realm of the extraordinary, however, is the fact that the food is really, really good. It is worth a very long drive, even with gas prices as they are. The eggs, homemade toast, and sausage patty nearly brought me to my knees in that Sunday morning house of breakfast worship. The pancakes are cloud-like and you can even order a plate of 35 pieces of french toast for $105.50 if you are really hungry and really rich.
For those of us with more humble means, breakfast runs between about 5 and 9 bucks, but you'll like your waitress so much that you'll spend you're grocery money on the tip. And after breakfast, there's a little store to walk around, with everything from local potatoes to fancy candy. And we must take a saunter saunter around the store, as we all know that no trip out is complete without the experience of at least one child throwing a tantrum because they cannot have an Elmer's T-Shirt.
Okay, so maybe skip the store if there are small children involved. But definitely eat Breakfast.