A Day at the Beach & Dinner at Woodman’s of Essex, MA)

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Oh, how I miss being in the country. The beauty of Clark Farm is unparalleled, don’t you think?

Last Sunday started at the crack of dawn, when the roosters started crowing and the boys barreled down the stairs like a herd of buffalo.With AHS ‘12 in the books, Henry and I finally had time to hang out on the farm with the Rodgers family. 

We were expecting Bill, Hayley, and Diane to pop by for brunch later in the morning, but I was too hungry to wait four hours to eat. For my first meal of the day, I fixed myself a rolled omelet with farm-fresh eggs, sauerkraut, sautéed greens, and a slice of cantaloupe. 

(Now that I’m back home, none of the “farm-fresh” pastured eggs I’ve purchased locally come even CLOSE to holding a candle to the pert bright orange yolks and thick albumen of Clark Farm eggs.)

By the time our pals arrived mid-morning, I was ready to eat again. Breakfast Part Two!

Diana baked trays of wild boar bacon…

…fried venison sausage…

…and sizzled some eggs in butter.

She also picked some Japanese eggplant from their garden…

…that were tossed in coconut oil before spending a short stint in a hot oven.

Mmm…mmm…good.

Once our bellies were full, we all trudged outdoors for a guided tour of the grounds and the animals.

Bill got up close and personal with the piggies that foraged in the shrubs.

Farmer Andrew spent his day off teaching a bunch of city slickers how he raises the food we eat.

Before heading back to the farmhouse…

 …we stopped by the mobile hen coop to gather more eggs.

Before long, it was time for Bill, Hayley, and Diane to head home, so we said our goodbyes.

Our plan for the rest of the day was to soak up some rays at Crane Beach. First, we stopped at a local Whole Foods…

…and picked up some meat and vegetables at the deli counter.

And then it was off to the beach to splash in the surf for hours.

The weather was gorgeous and the waves were gentle. At the end of the day, we managed to haul back a haf-dozen pails of seaweed and sea shells for the farm animals. Andrew told us that the hens peck the calcium-packed shells, which makes their egg shells harder. And the seaweed provides a natural source of iodine for the animals. Who’da thunk it?

The farmer’s walks (for realz!) on the beach made me hungry. For dinner, we drove over to Essex to inhale platters of seafood at a local spot called Woodman’s — the birthplace of the fried claim! — that’s been in business for almost a century.

A big plus: With just a few exceptions, all the menu items are gluten free.

Yes, I know that “gluten free” doesn’t mean “Paleo-compliant,” but I never said I was Paleo perfect. Besides, you know the saying: When in Essex, get the “Down River Combo” — a pile of crunchy fried clams, shrimp, scallops, and fish.

The gigantic plate of fried seafood also comes with a side of cole slaw and your choice of fries or onion rings. I opted to sub sweet potato fries for a small upcharge.

Crunchy, moist, and tasting of the sea.

We also shared some steamers…

…and Diana showed us the proper way to devour ‘em.

Butter makes everything taste better, no matter how ugly or phallic.

It was the perfect end to an exhausting, fun-filled day at the beach.

Only one more day of East Coast eats remaining!


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