Stone Hollow

This week I had the pleasure of visiting Stone Hollow Farmstead, a goat farm in Harpersville. I found out about the lovely place via a Living Social coupon offer. I took a friend from church ; it’s nice to know people who will say yes when you ask, “Want to go to a goat farm?”

IMG_2352

Anyway, it was a perfect Tuesday morning when we arrived for our tour and tasting. The goats were adorable, the cheese delicious. The 80-acre farm also boasts chickens, cows, horses, a few rabbits and a bull, though he may not be around much longer. Beautiful raised beds gardens provide various herbs and produce for The Pantry in Crestline.

IMG_2359

The artisan cheeses are crafted on site by hand, as are a selection of jams, syrups, and pickles. After the tasting, I had a hard time making up my mind, but I finally decided on the Fig Cheese.

IMG_2393

If you want a nice drive to the country, or are hankering to pet a goat, or would like some delicious cheese, head out to Stone Hollow Farmstead.

Advertisements

Day-trip: Mentone, Alabama

ml8  Mountain Laurel Inn

Mentone was on my list of Day Trips so I was glad to have the opportunity to visit there this past weekend. This little town is about a two hour drive from Birmingham (I didn’t drive so I got to read most of the way – Yea!).

We went by way of Little River Canyon, which I will write about in a separate post. I had secured a night at the Mountain Laurel Inn, though I was hoping for two nights. I had  waited too long, however, to call and make a reservation. This is not a place you will happen upon by chance. I also neglected to read my confirmation email that included directions and said not to use GPS. So, we ended up lost at first, but a quick call to Sarah, the innkeeper, and she gave us clear instructions. We weren’t too far away. After several turns we were headed down a dirt/gravel road into a rustic setting on a rainy afternoon.

The weather was cool enough to leave our windows open. After unloading, we went into town for supper. I would NOT recommend the Moonlight Bistro, but afterwards we ventured on to the Wildflower Café for dessert and music. The Derby Pie was fantastic and the music brought back memories, ala Cat Stevens and Jim Croce.

Before breakfast we took a small hike – just 10 minutes from our door was Desoto Falls. Being on private property, there were no handrails, just au naturel – and it was gorgeous. Breakfast was a treat! Sarah’s Decadent French Toast is on the “100 Foods to Eat In Alabama Before You Die” 2012 list. It was fantastic!

ml3ml1

That day was JulyFest in Mentone, and despite the rain, it was a pleasant morning up on The Brow. We made several gift purchases, saw the end of the Pet Parade, and enjoyed the view. In town we checked out some antique stores and other shops, and then headed down the road to Fort Payne. All in all it was a short but lovely trip.

the brow The Brow

jf2jf1

The Charming Town of Helena

A good introduction to Helena comes through the small Farmers Market that is held there every Saturday. What other such market has southern belles (the Helena Belles) to greet you? Along with numerous vendors of fresh produce, shoppers may also find fresh bread, sweet smelling soap, or even a cookbook. In the background are musical notes from local entertainers and the hum of buyers and sellers and neighbors greeting each other. From vendors offering to take a purchase to the car of an elderly customer, to sellers giving out samples and explaining how to cook their beans, examples of kindness and good customer service abound.

Here are some of the local vendors to be found on a Saturday morning:

K and S Farms – lots of fresh, seasonal produce

Taylor Hatchet Boozer Farms – think peaches!

Cheeky Maiden Soap – made with pure olive oil, pure palm oil, and pure coconut oil

Mixon Farms – Owner Jared Mixon has also started a market in Chilton County

Five Points Farms – check out their facebook page HERE

Prattville Honey Farms – owner Allen Mills has been farming for over 20 years

B.B. Bread – started seven years ago; specializes in sourdough bread

Southern Natural Soap – made with goat’s milk

Little Bit Southern -this is where you can find a cookbook

Another treat is the guest chef demonstration. Recent appearances have been made by Chris Vizzina, Executive Chef and President of Campus Dining, Inc. at Samford University, and Matthew Guy Lagace of Bellinis Ristorante. You can check out the Helena Market Blog HERE for some delicious recipes.

After shopping, a stroll down a path, under the road and across an open grassy area will take you to the “falls” at the Buck Creek Dam. Here you may find picnickers, photographers, and kids wading in the cool waters. It’s almost like a step back in time.

In town there are many quaint shops in which to browse and buy. These will be featured in a later post, so stay tuned!

Tip Top Grill

Image

I think it won’t matter what you order at the Tip Top Grill because you’ll be so enthralled with the view. However, for a breakfast that is good and economical, it can’t be beat.

 

Image

On my first visit I ordered a ham and egg sandwich. And I said “yes” to the question, “Do you want mayonnaise?”  I DO like mayo, but I’ll never go as far as the man who plans to be buried in a Duke’s Mayonnaise jar. Anyway, it was tasty and a perfect start to a great Saturday morning.

 

Image

The restaurant  overlooks the Oxmoor Valley  Golf Course and a Lover’s leap. Quite a combination. The Lover’s Leap is a dramatic  set of limestone boulders that protrude out over the valley. One Indian legend says an Indian brave, weary of the attentions of an Indian princess, took her to the high crest where he stabbed her with a bone knife. Then, in remorse, he gathered her in his arms and leaped off the bluff.

 

Image

Next time I want to try out the lunch menu. Or, better yet, dinner and a sunset.

 

588 Shades Crest Road

Hours: Mon – Fri: 6:30 am – 7:00 pm; Sat: 6:30 am – 3:00 pm

89% like it at urbanspoon

Pepper Place and the Great Radish Discovery

Image

After having unpacked boxes all week, I was so glad to get out of the house today. We decided to find the Saturday Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham. I am grateful for GPS as there were a lot of turns to take. When we got there I was pleasantly surprised to find so much fresh produce. I’d gone online and found the vendors who practiced organic growing methods, so we tried to buy from them first.

One thing I bought was a bunch of radishes. Now, I’ve only had them in salads, but as I was researching the best way to keep them fresh, I discovered two things.

  1. You can eat the leaves – which we did in our salad at supper.
  2. Other people eat them with bread and butter. I tried this and can’t believe I’ve missed out on this all my life – it was delicious!

If you want fresh produce, coffee, soap, jewelry, music , and much more, visit Pepper Place.

Pepper Place

2829 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233.