The Larder, a storefront farm stand and kitchen across from The Little House cafe in Vineyard Haven was the brainchild of Jefferson Monroe, owner of The GOOD Farm, and longtime friend Daniele Barrick, chef/owner of the Scottish Bakehouse. “I needed a place to sell my chickens,” Jefferson told me, “and Daniele needed space for overflow from The Scottish Bakehouse to produce their sauces and ferments.”
Danielle and Jefferson looked around for a commercial space and found this former market on State Road — they’re now in their third season there. The Larder’s retail space is admittedly small, jammed with specialty items, refrigerators with cheese and meats, including Jefferson’s fresh GOOD Farm chicken.
“When you get two cooks together, you are going to want a lot of kitchen,”
Jefferson says about the space, which has a surprisingly expansive kitchen outback. Their plan for this space was not solely to meet their own needs, but to serve as a community kitchen: They rent the kitchen to small businesses that make things such as specialty nuts, vegan popsicles, and Kombucha (to name a few). Currently, there are about 15 certified vendors who rent kitchen space at various times.
The Larder itself produces its own charcuterie, sausage, pickles and ferments, but for the last year the big the big draw was Jefferson’s fried chicken.
Jefferson has been a poultry farmer and processor on the Island since 2010, supplying restaurants such as State Road, Port Hunter, the Harbor View, Noman’s and Woods at the Lambert’s Cove Inn. Also, fresh chickens from GOOD Farm (GOOD is an acronym for Gardens Of Our Descent) can be found in the meat section at Cronig’s Market and the Farmers Market in West Tisbury.
But something new happened last year when they began frying Jefferson’s own local GOOD Farm chicken at the Larder. They tried out a few varieties — Southern Fried and Korean Fried — but the one everyone loved the most was the gluten-free. Jefferson brines the chickens overnight then rolls them in his special gluten-free spice mix. The chicken has just the right amount of crunch and spice, and comes with an array of sauces such as honey mustard, several BBQ choices, and chipotle spicy mayonnaise.
He started out selling them just on Fridays at the Larder but this season Jefferson has also been frying chicken to sell cold picnic-style at the West Tisbury Farmers Market on Saturdays, which has been a big hit.
I have tried both, fresh-hot and picnic style. I was surprised how well the cold chicken reheated by just warming in a 375 oven for about ten minutes; even the microwave worked.
This is the ultimate comfort food, which usually means there is an element of, I should not eat this every day, it’s fried! Fear not, it is only once a week (year-round). And it’s as healthy as fried chicken can get: the chickens are fresh and raised humanely outdoors on Jefferson’s farm in Vineyard Haven.