Appleton Farms has always catered to those who love their food fresh and local, with produce straight from the garden, beef from its own grass-fed cows and farm-made dairy products.
Now, it is taking the mission a step further.
The Ipswich farm, owned by the Trustees of Reservations, is launching a new series of cooking classes and meals this summer that will make the most of its own ingredients.
Some of these events will simply indulge the love of good eating and include Friday-night family farm dinners in July, when hamburgers will be grilled using Appleton’s beef, from cows raised on grass.
“That’s the cow’s natural diet. That produces a healthy cow, which, therefore, produces healthy meat,” said Susan Wood, who has worked for six years at the farm and is the newly appointed farm kitchen program manager.
There will also be three Friday-night pizza parties in August, with pizza toppings made from the farm’s cheese, tomatoes and herbs, all fired in the new earth oven built by volunteers.
“We finished building it (a few) weeks ago,” Wood said. “It’s a mixture of cob, made with sand, clay and water, that creates the top part of the oven. We built it on a pedestal of stone,” which was put together by a stonemason, she said.
A number of events are simply called “gatherings,” which will feature farm-to-table meals that have been prepared by Appleton and can be purchased restaurant-style, Wood said. These evenings may also include family-friendly movies and a visit from a Catmobile.
These dinners are only an appetizer, however, for cooking classes that will be offered at Appleton, at least once a week between now and Sept. 25, all featuring farm-raised food.
Appleton, the oldest operating farm in the country, recently finished renovations, which included building the new teaching kitchen where all the classes will be taught.