Linda

I get great joy at looking at large vegetable gardens. So it is no surprise that I was very happy to visit the Nezinscot Farm in Turner. Customers are free to roam around the farm where vegetables and animals are well tended.

I loved seeing all the beautiful veggies happily growing on a massive scale in and outside greenhouses. And if they aren’t served as fresh produce or food at the farm’s cafe, they are likely to be put up as pickles, jams or marinara sauce available at their store.

When you enter the store, you may not know where to look first. Terrific aromas are coming from the kitchen to your left, but it was the rack of freshly baked bread on the right that first caught my eye. Huge boules of sourdough bread, baguettes and an enormous tray of focaccia bread almost three inches high are sure to make your mouth water.

You will find many organic products here including their own meat and produce. There is a large assortment of teas in mason jars, sold by the pound.

I was very impressed by the organic Nezinscot farm cheese made from both cow’s and goat’s milk. Unusual cheese such as Chevron Bleu, Fromage Trois Lait and Gregarian cow’s milk Gouda are just a few of the varieties I found.

The produce sold here is magazine-photo quality, and you will also find prepared meals and soups to take home as well as their own frozen organic meat.

Be sure to climb the stairs and be prepared to step back in time. Yarns of varied colors, knitted goods, organic wool pillows and batting are in beautiful displays. Several large looms are set up to one side, while a row of sewing machines is set up at the back of the room. There are even comfortable spaces for groups to work on projects together.

Downstairs the store is also beautiful with dining tables in the back of the store and outside. There was even a section for entertaining young ones with toys and books as you waited to be served. We had come for lunch but many diners were taking advantage of their well-known breakfasts.

We ordered several luncheon items to sample. The sample of veggie soup came with a slice of that pillowy soft focaccia on the side. The tomato-based broth held a deep rich flavor and was great.

I asked for the Pesto, Tomato and Cheese sandwich. The sandwich came on anadama bread, and was made with their own boursin herbed cheese. It was both crunchy (being grilled), and creamy from the wonderful cheese. And it goes without saying that the bread was very good.

Make a trip to the Nezinscot Farm for a wonderful experience.

George

Gregg and Gloria Varney have created a very special place at Nezinscot Farm, and I knew my enthusiastic gardener wife would love it. We spent a lot of time outside, wandering and admiring the farm, then moved into the impressive store. Boy, I could have eaten my way through there — everything looked so tasty.

There was the shelf of doughnuts, peanut butter scones and other delicious baked goods, something called “Tip Dark Chocolate Dreams,” their own rhubarb sauce and so much more. I was eyeing the marinated mushrooms and Kalamata olives when my eyes drifted to the left and saw a beautiful coconut cream pie. Oh, how I wanted that.

The frozen meat display drew me in too, with goat, pork, lamb, chicken, beef brisket and more. All are free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free and wholesome meats. Now, I was starving. They also make lots of other products from body spritz and skin-care products to herbal bug spray and handcrafted soap.

As we sat at an inside picnic table perusing the menu, Linda said, “You are not having poutine. It’s deadly.” So, of course, I ordered that. Prices are low here and portions are large, so I requested a sampling of the poutine and it was soooo good — an unusual presentation with their own special sauce and fried potatoes, not the traditional gravy and French fries (this relieved Linda). It included cheese curds and crispy beef. I could see how the full plate ($16) would be a complete meal.

I opted for a burger of beef and pork, on a homemade bun ($8), and it was so good I didn’t add mustard or ketchup, very unusual for me. Even though I was too full to eat dessert, I think my stomach rumbled when an amazing smoothie went by our table.

Gloria and the staff are super friendly, and a young man, Justin, took our order and cooked and delivered it to our table. He did a great job.

A framed quote on our table described this special place very well: “What coming home should feel like: Creating a memory and experience that only farms can.” On our way to western Maine, we have often driven by Nezinscot Farm. We’ll never drive by again.

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.