Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ard's Farm Market Country Store

Ard's Farm Market "where town meets country," is located at 4803 Old Turnpike Rd in Lewisburg, PA across route 45 from the Purple Cow going towards Mifflinburg. Ard's wears many hats: country store, restaurant, farm, home of the Susquehanna Valley Growers Market and family fun hub. This review focuses only on the country store and is pretty long, but gives a very thorough overview of what the store has to offer. (In the near future I will review the other aspects of Ard's.)

The store sells everything from seeds for planting to local produce with everything in between. They offer pies made on the premises in these flavors for $10.99-12.99 per pie: Shoofly, Cherry, Peach, Apple, Rhubarb and Lemon Crunch. They also sell shortcake right next to 6 varieties of fresh peaches. The shortcake has only 7 ingredients, all of them recognizable. Their cornbread is just about the best cornbread I've ever had, probably because the first ingredient is sugar. You can bring it home from the store for $4.29 a slab or eat in the restaurant and you'll get it for free as part of your meal. Ard's also makes its own banana bread with only 8 ingredients for $4.69 per loaf. They carry pretzel buns made by D & L in Mifflinburg (review on them soon), bread and crackers from Rip Rap Bakery in Mt. Pleasant Mills, PA. The crackers come in the following flavors and would be awesome with dip, cheese or all by their lonesome: real salt, seeded, cinnamon sugar, sunflower/pumpkin seed and whole grain. I had the real salt flavor ones during a camping trip in May and had to ask my friend to hide them from me because I couldn't stop eating them.

Ard's produce includes a good variety of mostly local fruits and vegetables with prices comparable to our local grocery store chains. Local blueberries were selling for $2.99/pint (same as Weis), local sour cherries were $3.79/quart, and local nectarines were $3.79/quart. One of the best cantaloupes I ever ate was from Ard's, it was huge, sweet and perfectly ripe. What I really like about Ard's is their Produce Pick-outs section, located to the right hand side of the deli counter. There were quarts of very ripe peaches for 25 cents a quart and 2 cantaloupes for 10 cents each. There were a little bruised, but the unbruised cantaloupes were selling for $2.99 each. Unfortunately, another woman beat me to the cantaloupes. I did snag some picked out peaches and they were delicious.

The deli counter has a good variety of meats (including bacon and ham hocks) and cheeses with 10% off of your order on Mondays if you sign up.

There is a fresh peanut butter machine that makes the most delectable peanut butter known to man. My relatives tasted it and then bought several containers to take back to California with them. The peanut butter is made from honey roasted peanuts. There are saltines next to the machine along with some fresh peanut butter to sample. A small tub sells for $2.69 and a large tub sells for $4.69.

Speaking of nuts, Ard's has a counter devoted entirely to roasted nuts: peanuts, mixed nuts, honey roasted peanuts, pecans, almonds and cashews. The chocolate covered everything counter is the the left of the nut counter. You can buy chocolate covered peanut butter globs, Nutter Butters, peanut butter filled pretzels, marshmallows, Zagnuts, graham crackers, potato chips, apricots, s'mores, Oreos, gingersnaps, raisins, pecan clusters, and Nilla Wafers. The only thing they are missing is some chocolate covered bacon. If you don't like chocolate, they also carry rock candy, honey sticks, old fashioned striped candy sticks, kookaburra licorice, dried peas, dried cranberries, and the list goes on and on.

If you would like to buy a non-food item for a friend or yourself, there is a lovely display of Edelholz rolling pins, plates, chopping boards and bread boxes made from Pennsylvania hardwood.

If you like hormone free milk, you can buy Galliker's for $3.69 a gallon. Raw milk from Swiss Villa Dairy in Lykens, PA can be purchased in a glass bottle for $5.99. If you return the bottle to Ard's they give you a $2 refund. I actually bought the milk for %50 off because the sell by date was the following day. The cashier told me that it would still be good for three days after the sell by date. The cream had risen to the top and the milk itself was very good and creamy. When I return the bottle, I will have only paid $1 for what usually costs $6. The refrigerated case also had raw milk cheeses from Stone Meadow Farm. They also carry cage free eggs, honey butter, pickled beet eggs, beet horseradish and other PA delicacies.

The meat section of the refrigerator contained young goose, chicken, ground turkey, bison, beef, elk and hot dogs (some of them antibiotic and hormone free). Ard's stocks an unusual variety of homemade soup that are served in the restaurant as soups of the day: blt, cream of mushroom, cream of salmon, cream of shrimp, hamburger-bean, hot dog-corn-bean, harvest vegetable, beef rivel, beef noodle, chicken noodle, and broccoli cheese.

The store used to serve Turkey Hill ice cream and now serves Galliker's. At the ice cream counter you can get 1-3 scoops of black raspberry, vanilla, chocolate, chocolate chip cookie dough, coffee, extreme cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, peach, peanut butter revel and teaberry. One scoop cost $1.50, each added scoop is a dollar more. A waffle cone costs an extra dollar and sprinkles cost 25 cents.

For the most part, I really like the store. I love the peanut butter and selection of dairy products as well as the candy. The staff is friendly, the produce I have purchased has always been of good quality, and I love the quirkiness of the items carried in the store. Occasionally, I can't find something that I need there.
My children love to go there and eat peanut butter samples and cheese samples and pick out old fashioned candy. I give Ard's a 9 out of 10 as a store. They lose one point for not having some of their products labeled with nutritional information and for letting go of Turkey Hill ice cream and the pretzel cone and for discontinuing a brand of milk that made orange creamsicle flavored milk.