Northshore Magazine: November 2016
Blog & Photos of Surprise Marriage Proposal Picnic at Smolak Farms. Photography & blog by Sarah Jordan Photography – October 2016
Blog Engagement Photo Session at Smolak Farms – October 2016
Boston.com – September 2016
Blog & photos about a family’s apple picking experience at Smolak Farms – October 2016
Nift – Fall 2016
Governor visits North Andover Farm to discuss statewide drought conditions – September 2016
Smolak Farms appreciates Military members – September 2016
Northshore Magazine – July 2015
Northshore Magazine: Summer Pop-up dining kicks off at Smolaks’ WHIM
USA Today – July 2014
Northshore Magazine – August 2013
Northshore Magazine – Sept/Oct 2013
|Be sure to check out the write-up on Smolak Farms in the latest issue of Northshore magazine which features our recipes for Apple Crisp and Harvest Squares.|
Boston Globe – August 15, 2013
Link to complete article: Essex County farms offer a unique dining experience
NORTH ANDOVER — Here’s a great new way to support local farms: Eat there.
You can shop at farm stands, buy produce at farmers markets, or even join a Community Supported Agriculture program. But an increasingly popular way to enjoy the fresh, wholesome fruits and vegetables is to sign up for a farm-to-table dinner, where food from the fields is served right on the spot, in styles from casual to swank.
“It showcases our produce, and the chefs have been unbelievable — I’ve never had such good food in my life,” said Michael Smolak, owner of Smolak Farms in North Andover. “It makes a profit for us, too, so it does help.”
On a recent night, a capacity crowd of 125 gathered under a white tent in a pine grove by a pond on the Smolak property to enjoy a four-course meal prepared by chef Christopher Coombs of Boston restaurants Deuxave and Boston Chops.
As the sun set over the lantern-lit path and nearby fields, guests enjoyed cucumber soup with marinated shrimp and lemon crème fraiche; a two-hour egg over orecchiette pasta with grilled kale and summer squash; sausage with warm potato salad and a peach and sweet-pepper relish; and blueberry cobbler for dessert.
At Smolak Farms, Christopher Coombs with Jade Fong and David Ellsworth (center) make a two-hour egg over pasta with kale and squash.
Most of the produce was grown right there. “The tomatoes, the zucchini, the kale, the cucumbers in the first course, the potatoes that came with the sausage, the peaches that came with the sausage, the blueberries in the dessert,” said Coombs. “So every course used produce that came from Smolak Farms.”
The prep was actually done in one of Coombs’ restaurant kitchens. The cost was $69 per person, comparable to many city restaurants, with drinks and tip extra.
“We just really enjoy the atmosphere. We’ve gone every year they’re had it,” said Diane Pierson of North Andover, who was there with her husband, Tom. “We like the farm-to-table aspect, and the access to the chef and the big tent with all the growing things around.”
The Piersons live nearby and found out about what Smolak calls the Whim Dinners — now in their third year — when they stopped in to buy produce. “We love to try new chefs, too, so that’s a real bonus,” said Diane Pierson.
And why does a hot chef from the city want to cook under the trees in Essex County on a Wednesday night?
“I think that our local farms are very important, and I love the venue at Smolak, and [they’re] super people, and it just feels good to help them sell out their farm on a Wednesday night,” Coombs said.
Chefs and farms alike can benefit from simply showing off what they do, attracting suburbanites to the city or fans of the chef to return to the farm.
Back Bay resident Emily Chang had taken her husband, Cliff, to Coombs’s Boston Chops a couple of days earlier for his 31st birthday. Cliff had seen Coombs on the Food Network show “Chopped” and wanted to try it.
“While I was reading up on Chris Coombs to see if he had a cooking class or something more special than just a standard dinner that I could do for Cliff’s birthday, I came upon the pop-up restaurant [at Smolak] and I thought, ‘Oh, looks perfect,’ ” Emily Chang said.
“We loved it,” she said, and not just getting to watch Coombs and his staff at work close up. “We really enjoyed the scenery and the setting and getting to see more of the farm and learning more about what they do with their fall activities and their farm share. We want to try their ice cream, maybe another time when we haven’t already had four courses of food.”