Savor the Flavors of Fall

Fresh, locally grown vegetables and herbs make holiday—and everyday—meals something special.

| October/November 2007

When food is fresh, gathered from the garden just hours ago, something special lingers in the flavor. In November, you can taste the nip of last night’s frost, the subtle sweetness of mineral-rich soil and that certain vibrancy that comes only from being grown with personal care.

Those not-so-subtle flavor differences are evident with the first bite of Braised Garden Kale with Thyme, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Rosemary or Honey Lavender Crème Brûlée served up at the Glasbern Country Inn, where herbs play a lead role. Nestled among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania farm country, the Glasbern is blessed not only with 100 acres of lovely country vistas, but also rich, living soil that has sustained generations.

Once part of a family farm, the land supplied food to local markets for nearly two centuries. Now an elegant inn, the Glasbern continues the tradition of providing backdoor-fresh organic vegetables and herbs, as well as pasture-fed chicken, beef and lamb.

A few steps from the kitchen door, sage, thyme, rosemary and dozens of other herbs grace Glasbern’s terraced, hillside herb garden. In November, hardy greens, root crops and brassicas finish the season in the 2-acre production garden, while recently dug potatoes and winter squash occupy their fall quarters in the pantry. What the inn cannot grow for its patrons, it buys mostly from other local growers.

“Having fresh herbs and vegetables on hand makes an enormous difference in quality,” Chef Michael Corrigan says. “Herbs add so much to a holiday celebration—not only flavor, but also texture and color. They give every dish a more festive look and exciting flavor.”

Of course you don’t need an inn-sized production garden to create a flavorful holiday feast at home. Even just a few sprigs of your remaining garden herbs can transform the typical turkey dinner into a memorable harvest celebration. Gather the rest of your holiday fare at the nearest farmers’ market—a cornucopia of fresh, local flavors. Think of the market’s collective offerings as your community’s “family farm.”

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