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Farmers Diner, VT

In a reply to an earlier post I gave a guess as to the address for the new Farmers Diner. It has moved from Barre to Quechee Gorge Village, Quechee, VT 802-295-6600, www.farmersdiner.com. I haven't been there yet but got the info from a mention in the 9/17/2006 Boston Globe Magazine.

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  1. My wife, my 5 year old son, and I dined at the Farmer's Diner this past weekend. First, the atmosphere is fun and genuine -- the diner is renovated and looks great! Second, the food is worth going back for (and I live three hours away). While it is simple, it comes as advertised -- fresh, using local ingredients, and well-prepared.

    We started out with the hush puppies (made with local corn). Five puppies sat on a pool of homemade maple barbeque sauce. They had nice, oniony flavor with bits of corn, and the sauce was very nice -- spicy/sweet, and easy to mop up with the last puppie. My wife thought that plain maple syrup would have gone better with them; I wished that the Farmers Diner could hook up with a local pig farmer and a smoker, and start to offer a nice platform for that sauce.

    For our entrees, my son had the grilled cheese on white with fries, my wife had the penne pasta with pesto cream sauce and (local) turkey (offered as the special), and I had a roast beef club on rye with late season corn on the cob. My son and I also split a pint of organic chocolate milk.

    Everything was delicious. My son's grilled cheese was made with Cabot cheddar on homemade white bread. Although he enjoyed the cheese, he prefers fake Wonder bread-like pasteboard to real bread. That's OK -- I found room to snack on it. His fries were fresh cut from local potatoes, a little limp but with savory potatoey flavor. I snuck in one taste of my wife's pasta, and nearly had my hand speared with her fork. Again, nicely prepared -- the pasta was al dente, the sauce creamy, and the (again, local) turkey moist and flavorful. My own sandwich, on homemade rye bread, had plenty of flavor as well. It's surprising how fresh tomatoes, local bacon, and local beef can make a big difference in taste. The corn on the cob, however, was typical late-season corn -- OK, but a little tough (I shoulda ordered those fries).

    For dessert, my wife and I shared a blueberry-apple pie, with a homemade crust and vanilla ice cream. My son had a scoop of mint ice cream -- but what ice cream it was! This treat was made with fresh mint leaves on a vanilla base -- after he abandoned it, my wife and I finished it off just to savor the difference from what passed for mint ice cream these days. My coffee was hot, strong and perfect for a meal end.

    The cost? A mere $50, including tip. If you're in Vermont to peep at the leaves, definitely check out the Quechee Gorge and have a good, affordable meal with local flavor.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MUGger

      Just wanted to second this emotion. Went to the Farmers Diner over T'giving weekend with my parents, who aren't food snobs but feel, in many cases rightly, that they can cook better food than they get in most restaurants. They were very impressed. We didn't have anything fancy (steak and eggs, a patty melt, and scrambled eggs and bacon -- don't miss the bacon!!), but everything was tasty. People may skip this place because it's in the middle of a tourist strip on U.S. 4, near Quechee Gorge, and food in tourist strips is often terrible. But that would be a mistake in this case.

      1. re: MUGger

        LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PLACE!!!
        We had a group of 24 that had all met up in the Upper Valley of VT for a reunion. The Farmers Diner was recommended to us by a local after another restaurant down the way had lost our reservation (how aggravating). I have to be honest we called to see if they could serve us with about 5 minutes notice, they said it would be no problem and that although fairly busy that they could work something out. Upon our arrival we were informed that it would be a minimal wait, which lucky for us wound up being almost immediately. They reset their whole dining room to get us in there as fast as possible after we had told them what had happened. They made our outing a success.
        Then...THE FOOD was OUTRAGEOUS!!! Even the pickier young ones cleaned their plates. I had an incredible and tender maple bbq pulled pork sandwich which came on a tasty roll and included fries, I was informed that everything on my plate was from within VT, until then I never thought of the difference it would make, YUMMY difference. Everyone was happy. Then came the ice cream desserts, maple sundae for me and my hubby, locally made as well, also AMAZING!
        The service was understandably a little slow ( I think about 30 other customers came in within a 10 minute span) but waitstaff was so attentive and handled it with smiles, it was as busy as any popular NYC or Brooklyn restaurant.
        I would recommend this place to anyone who loves good food, cooked fresh, with no shortcuts.

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        Farmers Diner
        5583 Woodstock Rd White River, Jct, VT

        Farmers Diner
        5817 Woodstock Rd, White River Junction, VT 05001

      2. I haven't been bowled over by anything at Farmers Diner, but the food has been pretty good overall, and a notch above many diners. I did a review at UVscene.com, but it's hard to find on that blog. A copy is at http://offbeateats.blogspot.com/2006/..., however.

        1. Farmer's Diner is good food with a great concept - they utilize local purveyors for their restaurant. They support small family farms and hire local help. They put their money where their mouth is as far as sustainable food industry goes. Great ham and bacon.

          1. We have been there seveal times (at least 4- trying to give it a chance) and have not been impressed- meatloaf dry - burgers the same. Long wait times for the food and awful service. They seem more into their "concept" with kitshy upselling -than actual good food.

            1. professor-

              i have no idea about the quality of the cooking--it may well be lousy, and if it is that's certainly grounds for harsh criticism. but supporting local agriculture is not a "concept," it's a whole different business model and a different approach to the way we relate to our food. again, i don't know anything about the new farmer's diner, but i balk at the notion that re-localizing food production is a concept or gimmick--it's much more serious than that.