Sunday, October 10, 2021

October (repost)

"After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with a mellow warmth…the Maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch.  The Oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze.  The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet.  Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her…In October any wonderful thing might be possible."  - Elizabeth George Speare

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Middle Beach Steamer Clam Chowder


We were asked to submit an old family recipe for the upcoming Madison Community Cookbook "Grow, Sow and Savor" and we would like to share our recipe with you - enjoy!

This recipe comes from our Aunt Betty Chamberlain, whose home was on Middle Beach Road in Madison, CT, and our Goddard family farm, Barberry Hill Farm, on Rt. 1 in Madison.  Our families have been in Madison since the mid-1800's.  Sea harvesting and farming have been in our roots for well over a century.  Each year we would harvest steamer clams from Circle and Seaview beaches when the potato vines withered.  With the harvest of fresh steamers and newly dug potatoes, freshly pulled onions, and cut celery stalks from our farm, we would gather on the beachside to steam and clean the clams while also preparing the potatoes, onion, and celery.  This was a family project which required all hands to prepare the vast vat of chowder that Aunt Betty closely guarded.  Her chowder was known far and wide as one of the best clam chowders anyone had ever tasted, yet the recipe was something that nobody had access to.  It wasn't until Aunt Betty was in her 80's that she finally relented to coach me through the nuances of her creation.  This chowder is not the thickly floured New England clam chowder one often has in a restaurant or out of a can.  Nor is it the clear broth Rhode Island type clam chowder, but a delicious blend of broth and cream thickened with the natural starches of the fresh potatoes.  We continue the tradition of making it each year, sharing it with friends and family, and now with you, the reader.  

Middle Beach Steamer Clam Chowder

5 lbs. soft shell clams
2 cups water
4 ounces bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 stalks fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Soak clams in saltwater, swirling till all the sand comes out.  
Once clean, steam the clams in the 2 cups of boiling water for 10 mins.  
 Make sure to reserve the water once the clams are done - this will be your broth.  
Remove clams from their shells and put them aside.

Brown the bacon in a soup pot.  Once cooked, remove the bacon and chop it into small pieces. 
Add the butter, chopped onion, chopped celery, thyme, bay leaves to the pot the bacon was in.  Saute 10 mins.  
Add the chopped potatoes and clam broth - broth should cover the potatoes, if not, add a little water.  
Boil for 10 mins - mash some potatoes for thickening.  Stir in clams and cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  
Do not boil again.  Serve.

Friday, July 16, 2021

At The Farm Stand This Week

Mid-July is the perfect time for fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoying our shoreline.  


Friday, July 9, 2021

Reader Question: The Origins of Barberry Hill Farm (repost)

Kingsley's Uncle Bronson, at the Madison Beach Club location, 1910

Dear Kelly and Kingsley,
Every time I pick up my CSA, I wonder about the history of Barberry Hill Farm. How did it start?  Thanks, and I loved my share box!  

That's a great question.  Barberry Hill Farm has been in our family since it was built back in 1909.

Kingsley's great uncle, Henry Warren Goddard was a circuit court judge in New York City.  As a little boy, he and his five brothers and one sister had summered in Madison in the mid 1800's.

Just after the turn of the century, he bought this property, while his brother Ralph Goddard bought the property across the street.  They both built summer and weekend homes.   When Henry Warren Goddard died, Kingsley's father, Richard Mason Goddard Jr.. bought it from Henry's widow.

While it has been a gentleman's farm, Barberry Hill Farm was evolved into a working farm by Kingsley when his father died in 1987.

Here are some family photographs of the farm and Madison from the early days.   

Our Driveway
The Barns
The original caretaker who lived in the farmer's cottage.
The Farmer's Cottage
The Farm Dog
The Maid

Middle Beach Road

Kingsley's Father, A Great Fisherman

"The Kite"

"The Florence"

Kingsley's Grandfather and Great Uncle in "The Florence"

Picnicking on Tuxis Island

Enjoying Madison