The Market at Ashlawn Farm in Lyme has taken on a life of it's own. Sure, it's a place to buy fresh food. Breads, vegetables, meat and cheese are displayed every week, along with a variety of unique items brought along by local artisans. But, it's also become a spot that is somewhat rare in this day and age where people can connect and feel like a "community."
"This is just a place where people can meet, shop and also hang out with their dogs and babies and enjoy farm life, too," says Carol Dahlke, who runs the farm, along with her husband, Chip. The former dairy farm stretches over 110 postcard perfect acres in the picturesque hill town. Only three families have owned the property in 300 years. Carol and Chip founded the Cafe', which has become an extremely popular local coffee shop. This endeavor helps fund the farm which features a family of goats that kids love!
Dorie Greenspan, who has written a host of well known cookbooks, looks forward to coming to the Farmer's Market, year after year. She loves the food: "It just makes your heart sing! It's a great, great place!" And, she also loves the atmosphere. "It's community," says the author. "Where else can you say, 'Can you save those apples for me?'"
That neighborly feeling has become so strong that the O'Brien's even felt comfortable setting up a booth at The Market. They're looking to spread their daughter's message. Recently, 11 year old Caroline passed away after a very brief struggle with a rare brain tumor. "This community reached out to us unbelievably," says Jenn O'Brien of Chester. Talking with friends and neighbors helps the entire family cope.
Ashlawn Farm is a special place with a unique mission. Visitors from far and wide travel to see this historic spot, year after year. "We think of ourselves as stewards of the farm not really owners," says Dahlke. "We feel we're here to take care of it and preserve the tradition of agriculture."
*The Market is open Fridays and Saturdays thru mid-October and will re-open in June.
*Dorie Greenspan's latest book, "Around My French Table", hits bookstore shelves on October 8th.