ALTAMONT — If you build up an appetite picking apples at Indian Ladder Farms, drop in to the Yellow Rock Cafe in the Farm Market and have yourself a farm-fresh meal.
The apple orchard and working farm is nestled beneath the Helderberg Escarpment, which provides cool spring air that delays the apple blossoms, protecting them from early frosts.
There’s lots to see and do besides apple picking; Lisa and I visited the goats, poultry, and what must be the world’s largest bunny. We didn’t even get to the bees, the playground, or the berry picking. Indian Ladder is family friendly, and so is their cafe.
The cafe is in the wood-paneled Farm Market, but you’ll be diverted by the locally sourced products, including gifts and toys, and the bakery cases, before you get to a table. The nice cashier told us we could put in our orders, then walk around and shop.
The cafe space, with wooden glass-topped tables and Windsor chairs for four, is dominated by a picture window that looks out on the back of the farm. Various bright tablecloths and an assortment of Tiffany lamps make each table unique. Find the server, who will seat you and give you menus.
The cafe is now open weekdays for lunch, and weekends for brunch and lunch. You’ll find homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches that feature local and seasonally available products, specialty drinks and teas, and flavored sodas.
Yellow Rock Cafe at Indian Ladder Farms
WHERE: 342 Altamont Road (Route 156), Altamont, 765-2956, www.indianladderfarms.com
WHEN: Fall hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
HOW MUCH: $35.48, with tax and tip
MORE INFO: Children's menu. Not fully wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, Discover. Reservations accepted.
You won’t forget that you are at an apple orchard. There’s cider to drink, but also cider iced tea, and cider doughnuts show up on the brunch menu as the basis of a sandwich filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and applewood bacon, served with maple syrup. Then there’s the cider doughnut sundae, and a doughnut dessert topped with fresh whipped cream and the orchard’s own berries.
Our orders were promptly taken, and Lisa’s apple iced tea ($2.50) arrived shortly after. Part black tea and part cider, neither flavor dominated but it didn’t come together, either. And it could have used more ice.
I ordered the Saratoga ($8.95), a toasted pretzel roll with a thick piece of roasted chicken and a slice of cheddar that packed a smoky punch. The creamy chipotle spread added more smoky flavor and a bit of latent heat. I liked the cracked black pepper on the chicken.
Lisa loved the Mount Mac ($9.95), cheddar cheese, yellow tomato and applewood smoked bacon on grilled Tuscan bread that she called, “Cheesy deliciousness.” It looked imposing, but the tomato and the bacon kept it from being too gooey and the browned thick sliced Tuscan panini bread was lighter than it looked. “It’s a really good combo,” she said.
Sandwiches come with a side of homemade macaroni salad, chips, and a pickle spear. We gave the shell-shaped mac salad two thumbs-up; there was just enough mayo to hold it together and make it creamy and we liked the bits of red onion. The chips are the ripply kind, the pickle middle-of-the-road. We shared a small order of crispy fries ($1.95), that were steamy inside and delicious.
We could not pass up the cider doughnut sundae ($5.95). Two warm doughnuts are topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup, with dabs of whipped cream. You’d think maple syrup taken with the granulated sugar on the doughnuts would be too cloying, but the sugar added crunch and the dense whipped cream wasn’t very sweet at all, so it added up to just right. By the time we neared the end, the doughnuts had softened in the syrup and the ice cream had melted into soft submission.
The tab for lunch came to $35.48 with one drink, tax, and tip. Service was friendly and prompt. After we paid I headed to the bakery counter to buy apple cider doughnuts for husband Eric.
Make your apple picking experience even better this year with a visit to the Yellow Rock Cafe.