Out of Home Range: Lookout Farm in Natick
Dear Weston, I admit that sometimes you annoy this Owl. Once in a while, and purely by chance, the Owl Family stumbles on a local place that is so delightful that I know in my heart of hearts that someone has hidden its existence from me in order to keep it for themselves. Examples of this are Halibut Point and well, Gloucester in general, Hudson and Medusa Brewing, and various eateries such as Mooncusser in Boston. I am on to you, New Englanders.
Yesterday, Mr. Owl and I “discovered” Lookout Farm in Natick. The fact that this charming working farm has existed down the street from us on the other side of my alma mater in Wellesley for the last 300 years more or less and we are just finding out about it…well it’s pretty incredible. We found it as we looked for an outdoor dining location near the Natick Mall where we had just dropped off an owlet and four friends on a particularly gorgeous Sunday. Why would you want to spend a Sunday indoors at a mall? Teenagers are weird.
In any case, I made a reservation for lunch at the farm through their website. We had no preparation for the size of the farm – as we drove in, it was outbuilding after outbuilding, a farm market, a big red barn, seasoned firewood and acres of trees and vines…what, vines in Natick? Yes. And a large convention of picnic tables, some covered with umbrellas and tents, and some uncovered. If you must have shade, go before 12 or after 2. We were fine with baseball hats yesterday but on a hot day, it would be a bit harsh.
Once you check in at the “front tent”, you can choose your table. I will say that I felt a bit ridiculous having made a reservation when there were 8 billion tables, but they seem to prefer it and immediately asked if we had one. A QR code at the table brings up the menu with mostly sandwiches, a few salads, a BBQ menu on the weekend, and a few farm delights such as grilled shishito peppers. We particularly like those peppers not only because they remind us of a crazy artist uncle who grew them, but also because it feels like you are playing a type of spice roulette–some are so strong, they make your eyes water, and others are mild and innocuous. Which will it be, people? No one knows.
Talk about farm to table, and I will tell you that this is the real deal. Lookout crafts its own beer and cider. While beer options were few (the Hold Your Horses New England IPA was yummmmmy), the hard cider options were many. Drinks arrive at your picnic table via helpful pleasant young men and women — drinks in plastic cups with lids identifying their flavors. There seemed to be a tasting flight of cider as well, but we are not cider people so just enjoyed the rainbow of drinks coming by. Your food comes to the table in aluminum containers packed into cloth coolers, and you’re in full picnic mode. It all reminded Mr. Owl and me of a place called Scotty’s in Coconut Grove Florida a long time ago, another lifetime before owlets, and of course, minus an ocean and ice in ziplocs in pitchers of Sam Adams. Sigh.
Mr. Owl’s Impossible Burger was delicious, as was my spinach salad with strawberries. We were serenaded by a jazz ensemble which seems to be a special weekend brunch thing. Then we walked the walking path where we were shaded by grape vines, and perused rows of nectarines and pears. We will surely be back as summer turns to fall, and pumpkin picking and apple picking take over the farm, and the heaters come out in the greenhouse for outdoor eating even in the crispy fall.
So, Weston, I shall forgive you soon for hiding the Lookout Farm from me, but not just yet.
Belkin Family Lookout Farm is the oldest continually operating farm in the United States (est. 1651). You can find it at 89 Pleasant Street in South Natick. http://www.lookoutfarm.com.
Wednesday Open at 4pm kitchen closes at 8:30pm, bar closes at 8:45pm
Thursday Open at 4pm kitchen closes at 8:30pm, bar closes at 8:45pm
Friday Open at 12pm kitchen closes at 8:30pm, bar closes at 8:45pm
Saturday Open at 10am kitchen closes at 8:30pm, bar closes at 8:45pm
Sunday Open at 10am kitchen closes at 8pm, bar closes at 8:30pm