Archive for August, 2011

The Garlic Farm in West Granby CT Is a Unique Destination for All!

August 23rd, 2011 by nancyross

Garlic Farm Braid

The Best Garlic Ever!

The Garlic Farm in West Granby CT is a destination not to be missed!  In June, they tease you with their harvest of garlic scapes (stay tuned for more on that subject next June), and then the big season soon begins thereafter with the most wonderful bounty of fresh vegetables and, of course, GARLIC! 

The Garlic Farm market is located in a vintage barn on the property, with beautiful fields of pick-your-own zinnias out back.  Bushels and baskets overflow with bright colorful vegetables, all of which are grown pesticide-free in accordance with the Northeast Organic Farming Association. 

Garlic is sold by the head, by the bunch, by the pound or by the bag, and garlic braids are available in late summer.  At the Dutch Iris Inn, we use all of the Garlic Farm’s delicious produce in our breakfasts as often as possible.  As a matter of fact, we always use locally grown and seasonal ingredients to start your day at the inn – everyone becomes a locavore at our breakfast table!

When you visit the Garlic Farm, you will find freshly harvested vegetables as they become available throughout the season:  onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, hot and sweet peppers of many varieties (love those cubanelles!), eggplant, tomatoes (heirloom and modern – try the Fourth of July sweeties early in the season and the German Stripe beauties later on – heavenly and tomato-y!), summer and winter squash of all kinds, pumpkins, basil and more.  As for the garlic, it is flavorful beyond belief.  Once you taste it, whether fresh in vinaigrettes and the like, cooked into savory dishes, or roasted and spread on fresh baked bread, you will truly be amazed at the difference locally grown garlic makes. 

Garlic Farm Barn

The Garlic Farm Barn

…and speaking of bread, Collinsville Bakery offers some of their special breads at the Garlic Farm as well.  One of our favorite summer suppers to make at home is a Caponata Panini, full of sautéed Garlic Farm produce, sandwiched and grilled on Collinsville Bakery bread.  Yum! 

Selected conventionally grown produce from nearby family farms is also available, including sweet corn, berries, melons and seasonal orchard fruits.  So, what better way to spend your day than to come out and support your local farms?  Visit the Garlic Farm at 76 Simsbury Road in West Granby CT, open daily into October from 10am – 6pm.  They are just 8 minutes away from the Dutch Iris Inn …we’re spoiled by being so close!

Last Blast of Summer - Celebrate at The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts

August 19th, 2011 by nancyross

The Big E, the largest fair in the Northeast, is home to The Big E Cream Puff & Craz-E Burger.  It’s a New England extravaganza with top name entertainment, The Big E Super Circus, The Avenue of States, Storrowton Village Museum, animals, competitive exhibits, adrenaline pumping rides, shopping, crafts, daily parades and Mardi Gras parades, and mouth-watering foods from around the world.  The 2011 Big E is proud to host a diverse line-up of talent this year, including Reba, Blake Shelton and Darius Rucker.  The Big E runs September 16-October 2, 2011, and is only 30 minutes from the Dutch Iris Inn!   

The Big E

NEW ENGLAND NAVY WEEK runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 2 and allows fairgoers to meet Navy personnel and learn about the Navy’s critical mission and broad ranging capabilities, while participating in engaging activities.

BIXBY’S RAINFOREST RESCUE, at the North End of the Avenue of States, is an exotic animal show that brings a message of preservation and conservation to The Big E through a variety of live rainforest animals, including a Burmese python, a singing toucan, and a kinkajou!

THE BIG EASY MEETS THE BIG E.  Fat Tuesday comes to life with music, lights, and beads galore at The Big E’s signature Mardi Gras Parade.  Want to take part in the festivities? Be a costumed reveler and toss beads to fairgoers on the parade route for just $10!

THE BIG E CORN CHALLENGE… The Big E challenges the food vendors to create a delicious concoction using corn. Try them all and find your favorite! You’ll find Red’s Tutti Frutti Popcorn at Red’s Red Apples, Corn Poppers at Osborne Mushroom Farm, Country Fried Shepherd’s Pie at EB’s in the Food Court and Corn Cake Pulled Pork Muffin at Scirrotto’s Cinnamon City behind the Stroh building.

ANIMALS GALORE!  The Big E’s roots are in agriculture and that tradition continues today with competitions for prize-winning animals from across the country in the largest livestock show in the East. In the Mallary Complex, animal lovers will observe cows, sheep and llamas as well as demonstrations on spinning, weaving and milking.  In Farm-A-Rama, look for pigs, the famous chick hatching exhibit, Hallamore Clydesdales, FFA exhibits and more.

SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND!  If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, visit the new Shoppes at Mallary Garden outside the Mallary Complex.  Winning cheeses from The Big E Gold Medal Cheese Competition are displayed, sampled and sold.  Winning wines from The Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition will also be on display.

CAPTURE THE PAST… Storrowton Village Museum is an authentic reconstructed 19th century, New England village arranged around a classic Village green. Special activities planned on the green include 19th century craft demonstrations, children’s games and tours of its historic buildings.

TAKE A WALK THROUGH NEW ENGLAND.  The Avenue of States is a broad boulevard featuring replicas of each New England state capitol with local products, crafts and vacation information within.  Experience what makes each state so special!


Outdoor Concerts at SS&C Summerwind Performing Arts Center

August 11th, 2011 by nancyross

Summer wouldn’t be summer without enjoying an outdoor concert in the evening, with picnic basket in tow, and fabulous music to be heard.  Summerwind Performing Arts Center, about 15 minutes from the Dutch Iris Inn, has a great lineup of summer entertainment this year.  Whether you sit in reserved seating under the canopy or casually relax on the lawn, this venue is THE place to be for an intimate musical experience.

SS&C Summerwind Performing Arts Center

The 2011 August season includes Siobhan Magnus & Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra; Steve Miller Band; American Legacies:  The Del McCoury Band & Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band; and A Night on Broadway with the Hartford Pops.

Last year, when Summerwind Performing Arts Center re-opened after years of being closed (a wind storm had destroyed the venue), we purchased lawn tickets and enjoyed the music of Mary Chapin Carpenter.  What a night!  Good music, good food (we pamper ourselves with our own picnic specialties), good company…what more could anyone want?  While the seats under the pavilion are closer to the stage, the entire area of the lawn section is still close enough to thoroughly enjoy the entertainment on stage.  We can’t wait to go back this month!

Celebrate 20 Years of Farm Fresh Ice Cream at the Gran-Val Scoop!

August 11th, 2011 by nancyross

The Gran-Val Scoop - Dairy & Gourmet Ice CreamThis nearby farm has been family operated since 1903, and the Brown Family has made this ice cream hot-spot a favorite among the locals.  The Gran-Val Scoop is located in Granville MA – the town just north of the Dutch Iris Inn (Granby CT).  In 1991, the family started making its own homemade ice cream from the fresh milk produced on their dairy farm.  They make over 24 flavors of gourmet ice cream using many local ingredients like maple syrup, wild blueberries, peaches and more.  “The Scoop” also offers frozen yogurt, sherbets and sorbets (sorbets are dairy-free).

The farm continues to raise milk cows and a variety of other animals, such as sheep, goats, chickens, llamas, and rabbits.  Kids and adults alike enjoy visiting the animals and feeding the goats.  We enjoy every visit, and we visit often!  For those that know The Scoop and all if its animals… Taco the Donkey is currently out of town on a breeding project.  You can follow him on Facebook – yes, donkeys like to keep in touch, too!

Summer at Six Flags New England Theme Park – Fun Fun Fun!

August 11th, 2011 by nancyross

Whether you are in the mood for thrill rides, easy rides (if you like a slower pace in life), or water park excitement, Six Flags New England is packed full of summer fun!  So many guests at our inn have taken the plunge (literally, at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor) into a crazy day of outdoor adventure.  Spinning, swinging, looping, brain-scrambling rides abound, if you dare.  High-flying rides that catapult you into the sky, or turbo-drop rides that … well, you get the picture.  To balance those dizzy spells, there are many traditional family rides like bumper cars, the scrambler, tea cups, balloon race, and the like.

Six Flags New England Hurricane Harbor Water ParkA bonus for summer includes a second park within Six Flags New England:  Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.  “Bottom line:  You’re gonna get wet.”  Entrance to this water park is included in your tickets to Six Flags New England.  Tackle the award-winning Tornado, catch a wave in Commotion Ocean, or float the day away in Hurricane Bay.  There are so many water rides to try, that you’ll want to get there early and stay until you feel waterlogged.  Bring your suit and prepare for a wet and wild experience.  Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is open through early September, so you still have time to prolong your summer fun!

Excursions along the Farmington Valley Greenway: Rosedale Farms & Vineyards

August 11th, 2011 by nancyross

Rosedale Farms & VineyardsAnother jaunt down the bike path leads to a gem of a place that has been providing local produce to the community for over 90 years…and now wine!  Rosedale Farms & Vineyards, located in Simsbury CT, has been a delightful resource for buying local.  Fresh-as-can-be vegetables, fruits, flowers and other delicious offerings are available at this roadside farm store.  What makes it extra-special is its expansion into wine.  This 5th-generation family farm also has a beautiful 4-acre vineyard.  Flavorful red, white and blush wines are available for tasting on Saturdays and Sundays 12noon-5pm, July through October.  Rosedale wines have won several awards, and they are a popular destination along the Connecticut Wine Trail.

Rosedale Farms & Vineyards teams up with the Max Restaurant Group for special evenings including farm tours, wine tastings, four to six course feasts created with Rosedale’s farm-fresh ingredients.  Chef-to-Farm dinners are held on Thursday evenings throughout summer and fall.  Other local farm dinners using the farm’s produce pop up throughout the summer as well, keeping Rosedale Farms & Vineyards a community favorite.