Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick.
At Wm. H. Buckley Farm in Ballston Lake, 1,000 caramel-colored chickens strut in the front yard. If you drive on Route 50, you’ve certainly caught sight of this poultry-palooza, as the flock is close to the road.
On 301 acres, the farm’s cows, pigs and chickens are raised the natural way, roaming free. Grass-fed Buckley beef, along with pork, chicken and eggs, are sold right at the farm and at more than a dozen stores around the Capital Region. Their products are hormone and antibiotic-free.
This spring, the farm opened a cafe that serves their own homegrown meat and eggs for breakfast and lunch.
Buckley Farm Cafe
WHERE: 946 Route 50, Ballston Lake, 280-3562, www.Buckleyfarm.com
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wed. to Sun.
HOW MUCH: $20.15 without tip
MORE INFO: All credit cards accepted. Parking, wheelchair accessible
One day, on our way to The Gazette, my friend Maggie and I decided to meet for a quick breakfast.
The entrance and exit on Route 50 are clearly marked, but I drove in the wrong way.
When I saw a man coming out of barn, I asked him for directions.
“Yep, just go around the silo,” he said.
Two of the fluffy hens scurried past my car, and then, just past the white barn, a low rustic-looking building came into view.
When Maggie arrived, we walked through the meat store with its bright white cases filled with fresh and frozen meat, to one of six tables in an adjoining room with real barn-wood walls.
Coffee, $1.79, and tea, $1.59, in paper cups, is do-it-yourself, at a table in the meat store.
On the menu, a Little Breakfast of one egg, one piece of meat (bacon, sausage or ham), home fries and toast is $5.95. Double the egg and meat, and it’s a Big Breakfast, for $8.95. There are also pancakes, house-made corned beef hash and a veggie hash plate.
Flip over the menu, and you’ll find the lunch menu, with all kinds of burgers and sandwiches, including pulled pork and kielbasa with sauerkraut.
Maggie knew what she wanted: the Apple Sausage Hash, $8.95.
The Breakfast BLT, $6.50, lured me in, with its promise of sourdough bread, parsley, fried egg and chive mayo, in addition to the traditional BLT fixings.
When our meals arrived, Maggie’s plate was heaped with a delectable mix of sausage bits, caramelized onions, potatoes and diced Granny Smith apples.
“Really good,” she said.
One nicely poached egg sat atop the hash, but she expected two eggs, as the menu indicated.
When we brought this error to our server’s attention, she told us that the regular cook had the day off, and they had a new cook.
The new cook had trouble with my Breakfast BLT, too.
It was missing the chive mayo and the parsley. There was no dressing whatsoever. Just the basic ingredients stacked on two pieces of boring wheat bread. They were out of sourdough.
Despite the faux-pas, Maggie and I decided it wasn’t fair to judge the food on one visit. Besides, we liked the atmosphere and the all-natural meats and eggs.
“I’ll definitely come back,” Maggie said, “and their coffee is really good.”
Raised on site
Before we left the table, we quizzed our friendly server.
“Is the pork in the sausage and bacon raised here?” Maggie wanted to know.
“Yes, all raised here,” she said.
“How many chickens do you have here?” I asked.
“One thousand in the front, 1,200 in the back,” was the answer.
They are Red Star chickens, I found out.
As we exited, I picked up a pound of ground beef from the butcher and looked over the array of local products, like Anna Mae’s jam and Whalen’s horseradish.
Outdoors, before getting back into the car, I took in the view of the distant Green Mountains and a deep breath of fresh air.
Bumping down the driveway, back to Route 50, I eyed the one thousand cluckers as they wobbled around.
And I couldn’t help wondering. Which one made my egg, the one in my breakfast sandwich?