Last Saturday, Cricket Creek Farm, a small dairy farm in Williamstown, held a grand opening for its new on-site bakery. Delicious food, friendly employees and adorable farm animals abounded at the event and helped encourage everyone to support this growing local business. I left confident that the bakery’s delicious products and positive visitor experience will attract both students from the College and many others to this hidden gem of the Purple Valley.
Cricket Creek Farm, which has been a working dairy since 2004, is a special part of Williamstown. “Our mission is to produce nourishing food that honors our animals, respects the land and feeds our community, and to exemplify a sustainable model for small farm viability,” the farm’s mission statement says.
This new bakery, run by Zach Sklarsky, is actually a revived piece of Cricket Creek. Two years ago the farm’s baker left, and since then the bakery has been absent from the farm. Finding Sklarsky changed that. “We were looking for someone to come here and start baking,” said Suzy Konecky, who has been working at the farm for five and a half years. “It’s a pretty particular kind of context, so it took us a while to find Zach. But he’s been a great fit – he makes amazing bread, cookies and other baked goods, so we’re happy to have him here now.”
Konecky could not have been more right about Sklarsky’s talents, and the farm produces amazing products as a whole – there was no shortage of tasty food at the grand opening. Cookies, flour, cheese, Skyr yogurt, milk, eggs and a variety of grass-fed meat products were all available for purchase.
The farm has a wide array of cheeses that are all freshly made. “Celebrate artisanal quality with our farmstead cheeses,” reads a sign in the store. “Each batch is hand-crafted and reflects the natural flavors of the milk, which is constantly changing.” Each of the eight available varieties, from “Fresh Harvest” to “Hillside,” has a unique style and flavor. Some of Cricket Creek’s non-food items, such as hand soap, bowls, mugs, candles and apple cider vinegar were also available for sale at the grand opening.
One of the best parts of Saturday’s event (and something particularly appealing to a stingy college student like myself) was its huge array of free samples. Cheese, apples, cookies, kale and lots of bread were all available for taste testing. My personal favorite item was the farm’s squash butter; I had never thought about spreading mashed squash on bread, but now that I have, I will never go back.
All of the employees at Cricket Creek are excited about the bakery’s new items for sale, especially the huge variety of bread products. “Right now my favorite bread is the sourdough walnut,” said Sklarsky. “All of my bread generally uses sourdough culture and takes on different forms, so I really like that.”
“I’m a huge chocolate lover, and I can’t get enough of the chocolate chip sea salt cookies,” Konecky said. “The milk loaf is also really unique bread – [Sklarsky] uses milk from our farm. It’s inspired by a Japanese-style bread, and it’s just really soft, especially when it’s warm. It’s just kind of like a bready cloud that melts in your mouth.”
Sklarsky is excited to bake at Cricket Creek Farm and share his products in fun and unique ways. “[I’m most excited about] just being able to bake for more people, and eventually start to do more events,” Sklarsky said. “We would love to do some pizza nights using a sourdough bread crust, hopefully burger and hot dog nights, and any other events like that.”
The Cricket Creek bakery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and Sklarsky’s delicious bread can also be purchased at Wild Oats on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. “If people don’t want to come all the way out here, they can still get the bread from Wild Oats,” Konecky said. Cricket Creek’s products can also be accessed through its Instagram account, although I would deem that way less satisfying than consumption. “We post every picture from the bakery and from the farm all on there,” Sklarsky said.
After perusing the bakery’s grand opening, I also had to time to explore other parts of the farm. In particular, I got the chance to take a peek at some of Cricket Creek’s many animals. The farm’s goats, chickens, pigs and, ranking as my personal favorite, an unbearably adorable three-week-old calf, were all quite the sight to see. These animals, the bakery’s delicious food and the array of enticing products for sale all made me excited to return to the farm. I would definitely encourage students at the College to check out this amazing and newly improved part of the local Williamstown community.