The Farmer’s Daughter Makes Local Ingredients SingMay 22, 2019
The Farmer’s Daughter makes local ingredients sing
IN THE KITCHEN Evidently, there are 720 ways you can reorder six objects in a row. To my way of thinking, that’s about the same number of ways you can love what people do with food.
Chandra Gouldrup, chef-owner of The Farmer’s Daughter in Easton, inspires that love through her passion for local foods and layers and layers of flavor. Gouldrup, who won WGBH’s 2016 Culinary Stewardship Award, makes the labor-intensive and costly effort to do everything she can to further humane animal husbandry and a sustainable food chain. She buys as many of the restaurant’s foods as possible from area vendors, farmers, and makers.
Growing up with a Sicilian mother and a father who’d been raised on a farm, Gouldrup found her way from the backyard garden into the kitchen early in life, and hasn’t strayed. It’s reassuring to see the chef at a place, and on one recent visit she popped out of the kitchen twice, delivering plates to guests.
THE LOCALE The town of Easton seems to enjoy a low profile (few people I mentioned it to could place it, it’s near Brockton), but Gouldrup is changing that. The Farmer’s Daughter opened in 2013, drawing crowds for breakfast and lunch. In 2017, Gouldrup opened Towneship, for dinner, just up the street in a converted church. The restaurants anchor a main street that is both so quaint and so upscale it might be a Hollywood set.
Inside, The Farmer’s Daughter is country-chic made real by a couple thousand days of packed houses and dishes served. The 52-seat space has wooden floors and tables, a well-outfitted bar, large photos of scenes around town, banquets, and blackboards. On both my visits, there was a line, but people seemed happy to wait in rocking chairs on the sidewalk. And, joy of joys, outdoor tables give guests the option of eating al fresco when the weather is so nice you just can’t consider anything else.
ON THE MENU Many of the breakfast dishes at The Farmer’s Daughter (breakfast and lunch are served all day) are unique brunch-like specialties. Take the chicken & waffle Benedict ($16.95) (and you should): This dish alone (in early May) had at least six foods Gauldrup sourced nearby: eggs from Raynham’s Feather Brook Farms; maple syrup from Hollis Hills Farm in Fitchburg; chives from Easton’s Langwater Farm; buttermilk from Kate’s Homemade Butter in Maine; cheese from Grafton Village Cheese in Vermont; and butter from Vermont’s Cabot. The result is luscious forkfuls of crispy, brined chicken sauced with spilled yoke and some savory waffle clinging to bits of sweet bacon jam and the rich wetness of hollandaise.
At the same meal, I also ordered a single (crazy good) banana pancake ($7.95), with caramelized bananas and pecans, real maple syrup, and cinnamon honey butter.
Lunch options include bowls, sandwiches, and various sides as good as mains. The Sandwich Formerly Known As “Smoked Steak + Cheese” ($16.95) was a big old thing — enough for two — and so was Tad’s chicken salad ($16.95), which was sided with the treasure of ripe fruit.
The lamb grilled cheese ($16.95) was wildly over-salted, but one of the sides that come with sandwiches — the chickpea and black rice salad — was resolutely delicious and joins several other vegan options on the large, creative menu. The breakfast burrito ($10.95) was a very satisfying workaday meal: a grilled burrito filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar, black beans, hunks of ripe avocado, chewy black quinoa, and sided with local baby greens. You might want to peruse the menus online before your visit: There’s so much beautiful food here.