It’s not typically that you end up driving an hour away into the center of nowhere simply to get some ice cream, however that’s precisely what I discovered myself doing once I got here throughout this photogenic scoop-shop. Tucked within the winding roads of Fredon Township, NJ lies a farm that’s doing way more than simply rising produce.
Windy Forehead Farms was initially operated within the late 1800s as a dairy farm by the Inslee household. By the Nineteen Twenties, the primary fruit bushes of the farm had been planted. When a tragic barn fireplace destroyed the dairy manufacturing within the Forties, the Inslees turned their full focus to fruit— changing into one of many unique fruit retailers in Sussex County. For 60 years, the Inslee household continued to promote fruit till handing the farm off to new possession.
The area bounced round between homeowners till 2000, when Jim and Linda Hunt purchased Windy Forehead Farms. All year long, the Hunts develop 45 kinds of apples and 15 kinds of stone fruit. So far as the unique apple bushes planted in 1920? Some are nonetheless bearing fruit to this present day. The concept of selecting and consuming fruit that’s hanging from a 100-year-old tree is sort of unthinkable, however dedication and correct rising and harvesting practices permits us to do exactly that. Immediately, it’s as straightforward as ever to decide your individual fruit at Windy Forehead; the fields open in early September for PYO.
Windy Forehead operated for years as a produce farm and retailer, but it surely was Jim and Linda’s son, Jake, that took the farm to never-before-seen ranges of operation. Whereas learning on the College of Delaware, Jake Hunt discovered a knack for ice cream-making when working an on-campus creamery. Although he didn’t initially have returning to his guardian’s farm within the playing cards, Jake noticed Windy Forehead as the proper outlet for his dairy-rich imaginative and prescient. So, in 2013, the Hunts started to reimagine Windy Forehead Farms into what we all know it as in the present day: Probably the most Instagram-worthy farm within the state.
Not Your Common Ice Cream
So far as ice cream goes, Windy Forehead is placing out a number of the most creative and peculiar flavors within the state. A scoop of maple scented ice cream studded with crispy squares of Taylor Ham, chunks of french toast and swirls of maple caramel for instance. The Taylor Ham & French Toast was one of many unique flavors that boosted Windy Forehead to virality when the playful scoop started exhibiting up on Instagram feeds a couple of years again. And although it’s type of a gimmick, I’d be mendacity if I stated it wasn’t rattling good. Defining homogeneity of wealthy maple taste is completely complemented by the salty, cured meat. Placing cries of “Taylor Ham versus Pork Roll” apart, it’s a type of flavors that each New Jerseyan ought to attempt no less than as soon as. It’s Hunt’s excellent homage to the Backyard State.
The checklist of flavors goes on.
A whipped ricotta ice cream is brimming with native honey, caramelized walnuts and fig jam. Walnuts are a type of merchandise that I discover to be excellent for ice cream flavors— albeit, I’m barely allergic. Nonetheless, I might by no means go up a taste so attractive and one chunk couldn’t harm. The bottom ice cream is barely candy from the pure lactic sugars within the ricotta, and the honey is really particular: Cloying swirls of it supply the terroir of the encircling space as seasoning. Walnuts— my favourite enemy— and fig jam play off each other with the respective acidity and earthiness rounding one another out. My one chunk become a number of and I had by no means been happier to sport an itchy mouth.
One other nut and honey flavored ice cream was calling my title subsequent. Burnt honey ice cream is dotted with salty, roasted pistachios and swirls of honey caramel. Though sounding extraordinarily just like the previous, the flavors couldn’t have been extra summary in their very own rights. An invited bitterness from the burnt honey is the proper venue to deal with addictingly good pistachios. I’m an admitted fan of synthetic pistachio taste— its shiny inexperienced hues and floral notes. Nevertheless, this utterly pure (and native) pistachio ice cream is perhaps what I want going ahead.
An ice cream made with Madagascar vanilla and swirls of vanilla bean is Windy Forehead’s high vendor. Merely put, it’s vanilla ice cream, however for Jake it is likely one of the most necessary flavors on the menu. “Even when the Taylor Ham taste was going viral, vanilla was at all times our high vendor,” Hunt instructed me. “Vanilla is a should.” He was proper, you want a traditional vanilla taste on the menu, so why not make it nearly as good because it might probably be?
Identical goes for chocolate, and Windy Forehead places out a severe contender. A 64 % darkish chocolate ice cream is fortified with dutch cocoa powder. It’s subtly candy and wealthy proving, as soon as once more, that Windy Forehead can do the classics simply in addition to they do their bold flavors. For chocolate lovers, it’s a no-brainer.
For vegans and the lactose illiberal alike, Windy Forehead retains a always rotating roster of dairy-free ice cream flavors. Lavender agave, darkish chocolate sea salt and grapefruit rose are just a few examples of vegan flavors you may discover on the scoop-shop. Many ice cream lovers may scoff on the thought of placing a lot focus right into a dairy-free part of the menu, however for masters of their craft, like Jake, it’s about greater than that. It makes their menu extra inclusive, and it additionally creates a problem for Hunt when conceptualizing flavors. It is very important acknowledge that the dairy-free choices at Windy Forehead Farms aren’t simply good for being vegan, however they’re nice flavors that simply so occur to be vegan.
Lots of the flavors on the Windy Forehead scoop window are seasonal, and the 4000 apple bushes and 3000 peach bushes on the 130-acre farm guarantee that seasonal fruit will at all times make an look when obtainable.
Ice cream was not the one addition Jake introduced when returning to work on his household’s farm. The ice cream window additionally serves as a espresso and drink store. Fruit lemonades, lattes and chilly brews topped with home made foams are simply a number of the choices once you want a fast pick-me-up. My private favourite being what Jake calls the OG Summer time Shandy— a half-and-half mix of daring chilly brew and tart peach lemonade. Chilly brewing espresso typically brings out the fruity flavors of a espresso bean, and when mixed with peaches grown a pair hundred toes behind you, it makes for the proper summer time beverage.
In fact, as a result of Windy Forehead is seemingly in a continuing evolutionary state, Hunt introduced an intensive baking program into the enterprise mannequin a couple of years again. Naturally leavened loaves and breads are made with native grains from River Valley Grain Cooperative— a collaborative of grain farmers utilizing regenerative progress practices. Native grains are sometimes expensive, however it’s a value price paying to make bread that’s infused with the terroir of your surrounding land. French nation, seven grain, seeded buckwheat, sourdough and cranberry walnut are simply a number of the breads you may discover when purchasing round at Windy Forehead Farms.
It isn’t simply bread that Hunt is bringing to the desk. Home made pastries, lots of which make the most of the fruits of the farm, are in abundance within the store. Pies, apple cider donuts and laminated doughs can be found every day.
Hunt even does pizza nights on the farm, utilizing a mixture of recent yeast and levain to make a profoundly gentle dough. Baked in the identical bread oven as their loaves, the pizza is ethereal and kissed by a slight char. Pizza nights replenish quick, so keep watch over their Instagram to pre-order your pie for the subsequent one.
Above all, Windy Forehead Farms and the Hunts empower their surrounding group with all the pieces they do. Their store is stuffed with specialty objects, native companies and produce. Their ice cream, coffees and breads focus on the usage of regional elements. It’s extra essential now than ever to eat native as a lot as potential— bolstering your group and your surroundings. Each single ingredient and approach is fastidiously thought by means of by Jake himself; retaining sustainability and a neighborhood focus on the forefront of his enterprise mannequin.
Windy Forehead Farms Is Ever Altering
Windy Forehead Farms appears to at all times be rising. Each time I believe they’re at their apex, the Hunts add one thing new to spice up the farm ahead. This remarkability is inspiring, and the Windy Forehead mannequin has confirmed to work. Jake Hunt has taken one thing he likes to do and created a path for folks to do exactly that with ease. Instagram-worthy ice cream and expertly made pastries are what reeled me in, however the sense of group and fervour are what retains the farm recent on my thoughts.
Windy Forehead Farms is many issues: It’s an ice cream store, a bakery, a pizzeria, a pick-your-own farm, a discipline of flowers, an orchard and a lot extra. It doesn’t match into one particular field and it isn’t meant to. Jake Hunt and his household work tirelessly to convey group and farm-life collectively— one scoop, loaf or apple at a time.