And just like that, we’re back with another local feature! There’s nothing that makes us happier than showcasing the wonderful local vendors we partner with. This one was super exciting because they create such unique products. We got to meet with local maker of amazing herbal tonics, Town Farm Tonics.
We hopped in the car and headed over to Hope & Main in Warren, RI. Town Farm Tonics is based out of Westport and utilizes the kitchen facilities at Hope & Main to create their products. They are the brainchild of local herbalist, Carissa Wills-DeMello and partner Adam Davenport. Today, they were brewing some fire cider, a spicy herbal tonic, and we were going to get to see the process first hand. After a short drive, we pulled up to Hope & Main, which is housed in a charming repurposed schoolhouse. In the entry, we were met by the two smiling faces of Carissa & Adam. After exchanging some greetings and talking a bit about life, we spoke of the earliest days of the company. Carissa mentioned that she began getting interested in herbalism while in the peace corps. It was abroad that she witnessed the connection locals had with nature and herbal medicine, and once back in the states, she eventually decided to make it a full-time pursuit.
Within a few minutes of entering the kitchen, Carissa and Adam were zipping around preparing the area and equipment to start the process. Once the equipment was ready to go, they began getting all of the raw ingredients together. Chopped garlic and a bucket of beautiful dried herbs were brought over. The intoxicating aroma of thyme, mint and more perfumed the air as Carissa lifted the lid.
Next came bucket after bucket of apple cider vinegar. They began pouring them into two giant kettles. Once the vinegar was in, they starting adding the other raw ingredients. Garlic, red onion, the aforementioned herb blend (among other things) were added and gently stirred by Carissa. In the other room, Adam was cleaning and chopping horseradish. Adam mentioned that he “has to wear goggles for this part” since the fresh horseradish is exceptionally pungent.
Once everything was finished, the mixture goes into holding tanks. It’ll spend a month aging inside the tanks, after which it will be thoroughly pressed and strained to remove solids and bottled in its final form.
If you are interested in trying Town Farm Tonics fire cider, we regularly stock it (as well as their elderberry syrup) at all three of our locations! It’s great as a supplement and also has some fun culinary applications. Give it a try.
Until next time!
-Matt & Debbie at Lees Market/Clements’ Marketplace