Like a Bodega, but Nestled in the Hills

Neighborhood Joint

A series of articles profiling favorite local haunts.
What’s your neighborhood joint?

The Hawthorne Valley Farm Store is not really the kind of place discovered by accident.

Situated in Harlemville, N.Y., a no-stoplight hamlet 120 miles north of Manhattan in Columbia County, the health-conscious and earth-conscious grocery is tucked between asparagus-green hills and reached by winding roads with few signposts.

Just when you think you’ve gotten lost for good, it appears like an oasis, a low-slung stucco building with an old wagon out front, and pastures and silos as backdrops. Those in the know, including locals who drop in for bottles of raw milk and foodies who flock there for the eight types of rice, keep the 20-car lot packed on weekend days. The store, which opened in an adjacent red barn in 1989 before relocating to its current home in 2004, made eating organic cool well before Whole Foods took it mainstream.

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