Four Star Farms is located on the prehistoric lake bottom of Lake Hitchcock in Northfield, Massachusetts. This family farm boasts several feet of the best topsoil in the world – Hadley Silt Loam – ensuring peak conditions for thriving grains and hops. As a result, more than fifty local purveyors have taken to using Four Star’s crops to make beer, pasta, and pastries, among dozens of other grainy iterations dreamed up by our creative culinary community. If the key to a great pairing relies on terroir (the French term for ‘earth’) it was written in the stars for the L’Etoiles.
Four Star Farms was built and passed down through fourteen generations of L’Etoiles. You’ve likely enjoyed the fruits of their labor at Central Mass breweries like Wormtown, Medusa, KBC, and Homefield as well as countless area restaurants. When it comes to Four Star Farms, it’s best to let the land do the pairing.
Four Star’s grains are something of a constant on the menu at Worcester’s Armsby Abbey where Western Mass breweries like Honest Weight and Brick and Feather have quickly risen through the ranks. Both Honest Weight and Brick and Feather benefit from Four Star’s plentiful harvest, making them natural pairings for dishes like the Abbey’s Pappardelle.
The Baby Carrot Pappardelle is made with juiced carrot and a house milled whole grain from Four Star Farms called Warthog Wheat. The dish is served with roasted baby carrots, kale and green garlic, carrot top salsa, aged goat cheese, and carrot crumb. Liz L’Etoile explains, “The warthog is used by lots of bakers for sourdough loaves and has a very strong wheat flavor; it can also be used in strong pastas.”
Warthog is a hard-red-winter-wheat variety. “‘Hard’ relates to the type of protein – a rising protein great for making breads, ‘red’ is related to the color of the berry – there are red or white berries, and ‘winter’ relates to the time of year the grain is planted – late fall,” says L’Etoille.
As for beer pairings, keep an eye on the draft list for selections like ‘Kitten with a Whip’ – Brick and Feather’s new Munich Helles Lager, or ‘Lightworks’ – Honest Weight’s American Blonde. Both brews are light and crushable, ideal for easy summer drinking. Brick and Feather’s head brewer, Lawrence George adds, “We are about to release a new beer that uses some of Four Star’s hops and also includes elder flower and honey. We don’t have a name for it yet but it is the 100th batch of beer we’ve brewed, and it’s a farmhouse style Belgian ale.”
You can find Brick and Feather and Honest Weight along with Damian Evangelous of Armsby Abbey at the Lettuce Be Local Farmer Dinner on Sunday, July 23rd. The event will be held at Four Star Farms at 3 p.m. and promises a heartfelt showcase of local and traceable ingredients.