Italian immigrants Frank and Mary Napoli began a new life in America in 1898 when they purchased 40 acres of land to harvest vegetables, poultry, and eggs. With their three sons in tow, the Napolis began a pushcart delivery business that evolved into a produce stand dubbed Idylwilde. Nearly 90 years later, that small-town stand has blossomed into a booming grocery business run by a third generation of Napoli brothers. Together, the trio designed the current store, which was built in 1985 from 100 tons of ash and pine and includes a Dutch barn and greenhouse.
From beneath the wood rafters and high ceilings of Idylwilde's store, carts of fresh, seasonal produce such as cape cod cranberries, english peas, and squash glisten under the lights. The deli houses the farm's own freshly made turkey burgers and daily delivered Scottish salmon, as well as Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef and Boar's Head meats. In the bakery, fresh-baked breads and jumbo cookies fill the air with the sweet scent of the hearth. Joining Idylwilde's proprietary stash of goods are items from other well-known vendors, such as Hogan Brothers coffee and Silver Cloud Estates spices, as well as special dietary foods including gluten-free breads. The market also carries an extensive stock of craft beer and wines ready for pairing with gourmet New England cheeses from their enviable pantry.
James Alexander Wilson, W.M. Wilson, and their brother-in-law George Reynolds traveled from Enniskillen, Ireland in 1884 to establish Wilson Farm. Once settled in Lexington, the trio bought 16 acres of land and rented nearby farmland to start harvesting a variety of produce. Since then, their farm has been passed down through the generations and undergone a number of expansions, with a farm stand built in 1952 and an 8,500-square-foot barn and 37,000-square-foot greenhouse built in 1996 by the most recent proprietors, Scott and Didi Wilson.
Today, the farm harvests more than 125 crops year-round, which range from rhubarb to fresh peaches, and it also carries farm-fresh milk and eggs, freshly caught fish, and homemade baked goods. The garden center and open-air nursery flourish with flowers as fresh as a newborn in parachute pants, as well as vegetable starters and spring bulbs, planting containers, and fertilizers.
Melt Gelato & Crêpe Café slakes sweet-tooth suspirations with a menu stocked with hearty small bites and 32 stand-alone flavors of Italian gelato. Crafted from high-quality ingredients, Melt's gelato derives its flavor from its density rather than fat, which results in a healthier, lower-calorie alternative to ice cream and plates of butter. Sample the gelato by the cup ($4.95 for a grande) or halt hunger with other edibles, such as the savory Andalusian crêpe—a flavorful slumber party of avocado, spinach, tomato, and cheese tightly wrapped in a thin sleeping bag of griddle-cooked batter ($7.25)—or the sweetly folded banana-caramel crêpe $5.50), which pairs swimmingly with a molto-sized cup of Italian coffee ($1.50).
As autumn descends and the surrounding trees take on the color of an ever-earlier sunset, George Hill Orchards is at its most active. The branches are heavy with ripe apples, the myriad varieties including cortland, northern spy, and empire. Visitors carry these juicy orbs home by the basketful, along with cider donuts and fresh pies. At the petting zoo, calves, llamas, rabbits, and sheep let kids rub their fuzzy heads. A hayride trundles along, maintaining a casual speed so as to not draw the attention of a scarecrow highway patrolman.
Three generations strong, Tilly & Salvy's Bacon Street Farm offers fresh organic produce as well as the atypical knowledge of its wares' origins. Browse the shop's selection for local treats such as heirloom tomatoes ($4.99/lb.) and new york strip steak ($12.99/lb.), which supply loads of flavor to tongues as a way of showing gratitude for having not been packaged in a faceless factory or a used pillowcase.