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.
A family-run operation, Meat Again has been satisfying carnivorous cravings for more than 30 years. Step into either of its protein palaces and peruse a savory selection that includes more than a dozen varieties of sausage made by the company’s own meat maestros, an array of top-quality cheeses, and a butcherly bounty of steaks and chops. Stuffed pork chops ($5.29/lb.), stuffed chicken breasts ($4.99 each), and marinated steak tips ($8.99/lb.) turn ordinary family dinners into flavor-filled bonding bonanzas. And rib eyes ($15.99/lb.), baby back ribs ($6.29/lb.), and ground sirloin ($3.99/lb.) help tailgating grill gurus prepare for whichever game, boat show, or opera they happen to be attending. A variety of made-from-scratch deli sandwiches and paninis—including a prosciutto-and-fresh-mozzarella option made with olive oil and baby spinach ($6.95)—are ideal for hurried hunger havers, while bulk deli meats and cheeses ($4.99–$8.99/lb.) are available to supply at-home sandwich factories.
Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House’s Mission Viejo location stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.
Since 1956, visitors to Elia's Country Store have enjoyed the shop's cozy, country feel along with a butchery of pre- and custom-cut meats, natural beef steaks, platters, and ready-made meals. Behind the counter, pork, sausage, choice beef, and Brandt all-natural beef offerings such as the bone-in rib-eye cowboy steak ($9.99/lb.) carouse with marinated chicken breast ($3.99/lb.), creating a delectable party that mouths beg for invitations to. Thinly sliced delectables splay across party platters laden with more than 10 savory cold-cut favorites such as roast beef, capicola, and a variety of cheeses ($2.75/person). Consult the meat masters about a custom cut of boneless sirloin or pork loin, or ready dinner plates for a landing of barbecue-marinated chicken wings. Stomachs racing the clock can sprint by Elia's ready-to-cook items to place stuffed portabella mushrooms into home-oven bull's-eyes in record time.