Sunday, August 15, 2010

From Blueberries to Brisket: Tougas Farms and The Texas BBQ Company

All summer I had promised the kids that we would go blueberry picking. Last year we went to both Ward Berry Farm in Sharon and Honey Pot Hill in Stowe. But Kami had raved about the huge blueberries at Tougas Family Farm in Northboro. She wasn't kidding! And, to make it even better, we hit the mid-August jackpot: we picked raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, peaches and the same day! Tasting them was like tasting each fruit for the first time. Suddenly I understood the seductive, almost floral flavor of a nectarine, even though I had eaten store bought versions my whole life. The blueberries were also more subtle and luscious than any I have tried previously. My sons were as entranced and thrilled with the opportunity to load up on their favorite foods. The blackberries varied from mouth-puckering sour to sweet, but were still perfect for making into jam and frozen yogurt (recipes coming soon!) We had so much fun, that despite leaving with pounds of fruit we were already making plans for a return visit.

Before departing the premises the kids checked out their animal collection (turkeys, ducks, chickens, a pig and many a goat), and their assorted play structures. I had hoped to take them to a restaurant, but cranky behavior led me to grab lunch at Tougas.
At least they offered grilled cheese on wheat bread, while the pickier of my two sons ate his unfortunately common hot dog. I tried their raspberry slush made with their own raspberries and a tender and homemade blueberry donut.
Really, though, I was saving room for what I hoped would be a great meal. I knew almost nothing about the Texas BBQ Company, but I had a sense it would be good, even if I had to take my meal back home instead of eating it there.
I am not a BBQ expert by any means, but their ribs were finger-licking fantastic. They taste vaguely sweet and were lightly caramelized on the outside. They barely need the wonderful barbecue sauce that was served on the side.
Their brisket was so tender that I didn't need a fork. The sausage was clearly made in house, with a spicy kick. The cornbread was a cakey, sweet version. The coleslaw was "Texas style" and unlike any I have had before. It consisted almost solely of cabbage with vinegar and spices and was perfect for the beef. But my favorite food (shared by my two year old): the fried okra that will convince anyone that okra is a delicious veggie. Next time, we will eat it there!

Tougas Family Farm, 234 Ball Street, Northboro
Texas BBQ Company, 309 Main Street, Northboro

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