Farm Country Soup Opens In Great Barrington, Mass.
By Lisa Green
For Jackie Bergman, making soup is an act of love. The owner of Farm Country Soup, whose soups have been accessible at farmers’ markets and gourmet stores in the region for years, has brought her wholesale business to the wider community with the opening of her retail store and café in Great Barrington.
A self-taught chef, Bergman has been at the kettle from the 1990s, when she had her restaurant and bakery, Farm Country, in Millerton, New York. After fracturing her shoulder in 1998, she closed that shop, but soup was still calling her name. She opened Farm Country Soup in the Buggy Whip Factory in Southfield in 2002. Recently, the original barn of the White Barn complex became available, and she jumped.
“We needed a place that could house our whole operation, a kitchen to produce our soup and a space for our shipping,” Bergman said. “The retail aspect just came with the territory. Being right in the middle of other retail venues, people were assuming we would be open to the public.”
It seemed natural to have not just soup but a café with sandwiches and salads, farm suppers to take home, and local provisions.
“It’s similar to our original Farm Country but open for breakfast and lunch instead of dinner… at least for now,” she said.
All of the soups and other menu items are made right at the back of the café and Bergman has a team of cooks and servers to maintain this “community love-based effort.” This more central location also makes it easier to deliver to wholesale accounts in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Here, in White House Square on Stockbridge Road heading into Great Barrington’s Main Street, you can pick up your favorite Farm House Soup; among the selections are Tomato Cheddar, Chicken Vegetable Rice, Mulligatawny, and Farmgirl Chili. Gazpacho is a summer favorite, as is Berkshire Borscht.
Or, you can order and sit inside the light-filled, open space, a warm and inviting farmhouse kitchen with an industrial edge, filled with the zen qualities of peace and minimalism. Alternatively, you can sit in a lovely garden designed by Pamela Hardcastle of New Marlborough, filled with organic vegetables and herbs. Hardcastle enlisted Greenagers to build the raised garden beds. Kale, borage and nasturtiums mingle with heirloom tomatoes, grapes, lettuces, and culinary and medicinal herbs. Take your breakfast or lunch outside and pull up a chair at the 12-foot oak and cement farm table crafted by Greenagers director Will Conklin.
“I envision pop-up Friday night farm suppers there,” Bergman said.
Though the shop opened just last week, new customers and those who have traveled with Bergman from Millerton to Southfield have followed her soup trail. The summer menu will be printed and posted next week on the website and social media.
Soup is the ultimate slow food, Bergman said, and it’s not like we didn’t know this. But the intentional way she makes it, and the setting she makes it in, is far from your everyday soup experience. It is made, in her words, with “an overflowing sense of abundance for the food and the gratitude and the grace that accompanies deep nourishment.”
Farm Country Soup
389 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington