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.
Today, the farm harvests more than 125 crops year-round, which range from asparagus to zucchini, 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.
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.
The Wine Shop of Reading prompts clients to ask themselves, "am I the next Sam Adams?" But not because they're helping found a nation, but because they're interested in brewing beer. Onsite, The Wine Shop staff works with visitors to not just sell them great beer, but show them how to craft a solid home brew with the skills, ingredients, and equipment to do so. Instructors also teach wine making, as well as bartending skills, which involves more than artfully draping a towel over one shoulder and coming up with punny cocktail names.
With black-and-white checkerboard floors, fire-engine red booths, and vintage aluminum signage advertising quirky slogans, The Medford Square Diner cuts a decidedly classic-diner profile. But there's also abstract art and new furnishings that add a touch of modernity. This duality between classic and modern is reflected in the menu as well. Classic diner dishes come with little gourmet twists?think avocado, pear, and goat cheese omelets, brioche french toast, or mascarpone pancakes. The classics are well-represented too in meals like the Lumber Jack with pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs. The lunch and dinner menu follows suit; cooks dish out burgers, paninis, pasta dishes, and wraps. There's also a daily buffet and a full kids menu to keep little ones from getting cranky and filling up on their own tears.
Before you even get inside, Russo’s assaults the senses with a colorful spread of its bounty. Fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, and plants line baskets and bins, waiting patiently to be scooped up and carried home or lobbed at a rival landscaper. Inside, the temptations only get stronger as local eggs and milk, cured and fresh meats, and imported and domestic cheeses call out to browsing shoppers. It’s all in homage to founder Antonio Russo, who blazed the trail for neighborhood grocers more than 75 years ago. That’s when he first peddled the fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and beans he grew in his own garden to local shoppers. Today, his namesake store honors Russo’s legacy by selling only the freshest meats, produce, and groceries—both to individual customers and popular Boston restaurants. The shop's personal ties to local farmers and manufacturers mean everything, from bok choy and mushrooms to the bakery’s bread ingredients, arrives as fresh as the day it was imagined into being by a distracted third grader. Russo’s also caters parties with upscale hors d’ouevres, fruit platters, and hot entrées.
The Meat Spot has had plenty of time to perfect the art of hand-trimming a filet mignon—it’s been in business for more than 80 years. In that time, it's earned a reputation as a purveyor of high quality, custom-butchered meats, selling only beef, lamb, chicken, and pork that is graded choice or higher, and cutting each order to the fit the customer's specifications or the shape of their favorite state. But Meat Spot's expertise isn't limited to crown roasts or sirloin strips––during its eight decades in business, the shop's inventory has expanded to include everything from cold cuts and cheeses, to spice rubs and marinades, to crackers and pastas. They keep their ovens fired up, too, baking fresh bread, coffee cakes, and cookies and cooking up a variety of prepared foods to accompany their made-to-order salads and sandwiches made with Boar's Head deli meats.