Found at the State Street gateway to the Renaissance Farm stand will certainly notice its wealth of artisanal herb products.
Located in Spring Green, the farm specializes in herb-based food products, including pestos, vinaigrettes, herb-infused extra virgin olive oil and Zalta herb-infused sea salts. Additionally, all of its herbs are grown in certified organic fields. While the Saturday gathering on the Square is the only market where fans can find them, these products are swiftly building a reputation, most recently as an ingredient in a line of gourmet frozen dinners. Renaissance Farm has spent the last two years setting up distribution and broker networks, and is now poised to expand from the upper Midwest to a national presence.
The Daily Page: How did you become a farmers' market vendor?
It was easier than staying home and working for my Dad, and I was the only one of nine kids who could drive at the time. With Renaissance Farm, I knew from the get-go that the farmers' market would play a big role.
What else do you offer through the summer season?
Fresh basil tops. No stems here!
What's your most popular product?
It really depends, and I certainly have not been able to pick out why the Zalta Grinders sell one week and the Zalta Shakers the next, or why the Rosemary-infused EVOO sells better one week over the Sweet Basil EVOO. If it is a gorgeous day with an event, you may want to get your cinnamon rolls early or risk being teased about getting up earlier.
What's your most remarked upon offering?
The accolades are like the applause at the end of a performance: they come in several times an hour and are across the board. There are no slackers in this product line, with 36 items to choose from. It is the wonderful and kind comments that keep me going when my passion seems like work.
What's your favorite product elsewhere at the market?
Helen's Old Fashioned Buttermilk Fry Cakes.
What's your pre-packaged, supermarket-shelved guilty pleasure? I do not believe in guilt. I do, however, strongly believe in pleasure and say that it is Häagen-Daz coffee ice cream. I used to enjoy a pint at a sitting, but now I am not so efficient with how I burn calories, so I eat only half a pint at a time.
If you were to make a dish incorporating your products, what would you make?
Mary's Spicy Thai Pesto Sauce with Pasta.
The recipe is: 6 cloves of garlic 1 red onion A dozen or so Kalamata olives (don't skimp) A can of stewed tomatoes A splash of red wine Renaissance Farm's All-Natural Spicy Thai Pesto to taste 3/4 lb linguini, angel hair, or fettuccine pasta Salt and pepper to taste Parmesan cheese
Sauté chopped garlic and onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add olives, 1-2 Tbsp Spicy Thai Pesto and red wine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes. Cover and Simmer. Pour over pasta and top with Parmesan.