New This Month

A Farm for the Future: Visiting Dean Carlson’s Wyebrook

Pay a visit to Wyebrook Farm in the lush green countryside of Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, where Dean Carlson and his wife, Emelie, have created a model of sustainable agriculture, complete with happy, healthy animals, delectable food, and an educational atmosphere for visitors from far and wide.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Lay of the Land

Dean Carlson and his partner, Emelie Ehn Carlson, have created a complete ecosystem at Wyebrook Farm, in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, less than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. Above, their flock of egg-laying Red Sexlink chickens trails behind the cattle herd in a mobile henhouse, helping to keep the fly population down for the cows.

Meat of the Matter

Alexi Alejandro is the head butcher at Wyebrook, where every part of the animals is put to use, whether in dishes served at the cafe or as parts sold at the market. The kitchen produces stock, bacon, sausages, and even hot dogs. The butcher’s case is the centerpiece of the market, which has the feel of a neighborhood shop from days gone by, and offers cuts that aren’t common in supermarkets (think beef cheeks and oxtail). Alejandro is on hand for questions about the animals, the cuts, or the best cooking methods.

A Cut Above

With Wyebrook Farm, Dean Carlson has created a special place people can visit to procure excellent food -- and witness firsthand where it comes from. He produces remarkable meat and fruits and vegetables using sustainable farming practices that reduce natural-resource usage. The pasture-based system mimics natural ecosystems to maximize ecological diversity, rather than relying on the chemicals usually present in modern agriculture. His motto is: If you want to know where your food comes from, go to the source.
  • Pasture-Raised Pork with Couscous and Vegetables
    Pasture-Raised Pork with Couscous and Vegetables

    Roasted pork tenderloin is served with a warm salad of farm-grown vegetables, Israeli couscous, and homemade harissa paste. The heritage pig breeds raised at Wyebrook spend their days pasturing in a woodland environment. They have more marbling and flavor than their modern counterparts, which are bred for leanness.

  • Fried Chicken
    Fried Chicken
    This batch of fried chicken was soaked in a mix of buttermilk, onion, and garlic before being battered and fried. It is then finished with lavender flowers and drizzled with honey from Wyebrook (which produces only a small amount each year) or surrounding farms.
  • Beef and Bacon Cheeseburger
    Beef and Bacon Cheeseburger
    Wyebrook's juicy cheeseburger contains grass-fed beef ground along with bacon. The fries are hand-cut and cooked in lard that is rendered on the farm.
  • Chef's Table
    Chef's Table
    The beds around this table are planted with herbs and edible flowers -- lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, and basil among them -- all used in dishes prepared for the cafe.
  • Fried Chicken
    Fried Chicken
    This batch of fried chicken was soaked in a mix of buttermilk, onion, and garlic before being battered and fried. It is then finished with lavender flowers and drizzled with honey from Wyebrook (which produces only a small amount each year) or surrounding farms.
  • Beef and Bacon Cheeseburger
    Beef and Bacon Cheeseburger
    Wyebrook's juicy cheeseburger contains grass-fed beef ground along with bacon. The fries are hand-cut and cooked in lard that is rendered on the farm.
  • Pasture-Raised Pork with Couscous and Vegetables
    Pasture-Raised Pork with Couscous and Vegetables

    Roasted pork tenderloin is served with a warm salad of farm-grown vegetables, Israeli couscous, and homemade harissa paste. The heritage pig breeds raised at Wyebrook spend their days pasturing in a woodland environment. They have more marbling and flavor than their modern counterparts, which are bred for leanness.

  • Chef's Table
    Chef's Table
    The beds around this table are planted with herbs and edible flowers -- lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, and basil among them -- all used in dishes prepared for the cafe.

Rustic and Refined

Long tables are set with burlap runners, herb centerpieces wrapped in butcher paper, and mason jars for drinking. The space is used for dining as well as events such as egg-gathering breakfasts, private parties, and barbecue master classes. In warm weather, guests are seated at tables outdoors.

Everything Old Is New Again

The main farmhouse is one of the property's many 18th-century stone buildings in the style known as Pennsylvania Barn. An 18th-century stone barn was renovated to house the market, which attracts locals shopping for dinner ingredients as well as food lovers from farther afield. Wyebrook grows some of its own produce and sources the rest from local vendors who share the farm’s passion for sustainable practices.

Comments

Be the first to comment!

Advertisement
Advertisement