Vermonters seeking an easy-access Adirondack farm-to-table destination now have a farmstand café within biking distance. In early June, the folks at North Country Creamery in Keeseville, N.Y., reopened the Clover Mead Café & Farm Store at 933 Mace Chasm Road, just two miles from the Port Kent ferry dock.
Now serving breakfast and lunch Friday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the café features local meats and produce, including cheese from Clover Mead Farm itself. Creamery co-owners Ashlee Kleinhammer and Steven Googin took over the farm about a year ago and dove headfirst into production.
Kleinhammer and Googin are reusing the name and signage from an earlier iteration of the café, which closed a few years ago as the original farmers eased into retirement. The new owners' friend Marla Gilman suggested reopening it: "Marla's a great baker and cook," Kleinhammer says, "and she was excited about starting her own thing."
Now Gilman — whose résumé includes stints at Consider Bardwell Farm, New York's Blue Hill at Stone Barns and various NYC outposts — manages the café and handles much of the cooking, menu planning and ordering.
The menu features panini with North Country Havarti or the farm's super-rich, mild and extraordinarily creamy Camembert and local apples, among others. Find housemade feta in a salad; farm yogurt comes carrying dill in a tzatziki sauce with falafel, or plain and simple in a granola bowl. Gilman spreads cream cheese she helped produce on bagels from nearby Dogwood Bread Company. The café also offers a selection of savory popovers, quiches and other baked goodies.
And that's just the beginning. Clover Mead neighbors are hard at work opening a brewery (Ausable Brewing Company) and a farmstead butcher shop (Mace Chasm Farm). When those are up and running, Kleinhammer says, the creamery café will bring in more of their meats and brews.
"It's been wonderful," Kleinhammer says of business so far. "We haven't met our goal business-wise just yet, but we're close, which is great for being just a month in."
While Kleinhammer says she's enjoyed serving the local community, she also hopes to attract more out-of-towners, including folks from across the lake. "[The Port Kent ferry] is an expensive ferry," she acknowledges, "But if you take your bike or walk on, you can ride to us straight from the water."