In addition to introducing customers to the intricacies of brewing beer and wine with instructional books and DVDs, Strange Brew can actually train customers in the fine art of making booze from scratch during its monthly in-store classes. During these small-group sessions, brewers divulge the necessary pieces of equipment, explore the core ingredients, discuss their roles in the brewing and fermentation processes, and lead a tasting of the final product. Even when they aren't applying this hands-on approach, the staff excel at helping customers ready their first batch, whether for a party or as a way to make taking a bath more fun. Starter kits for beer and wine include essential tools, such as fermenting and bottling buckets, siphon hoses, and hydrometers. To help customers fill these components with the requisite ingredients, a range of basic and specialized recipe kits feature pre-measured selections of hops and malts or juices and yeasts. Other kits are suited to more specialty brewing projects, such as mead or sake. For the more serious craft-brewers, Strange Brew also carries heavy-duty stainless-steel instruments by Blichmann.
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.
Fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables fill the shelves of Weepin Willies, a local market that stocks produce and meats at two locations. Shoppers can find high quality cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, or opt for Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and prepared soups, salads, and sandwiches from the deli.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' expert fruit florists arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, grapes, and juicy Albion strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Staffers can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet chocolate, white chocolate, or their own special peanut-butter-and-chocolate blend. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize gift baskets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
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.