With a population of less than 1,000 residents, Union is the smallest town in Connecticut and nearly entirely residential. Located a stone’s throw from I-84 (¾ mile west of Exit 73) and just minutes from the Massachusetts border, Bush Meadow Farm is tucked between well-spaced homes on quiet Route 190. Open four days a week for breakfast and lunch, you would surely drive right by if the large open flag were not posted outside.
This place is a true local gathering spot with a couple of large, communal tables (like the ones in your mother’s kitchen!) interspersed between shelves packed with regional jams, maple syrup, oils, and relishes. The menu may at first appear fairly simple—egg sandwiches for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch—but it is Barry & Nancy Kapplans’ use of farm-fresh products that elevates these menu standbys to an entirely different level.
There are two cornerstones to the menu that should certainly be incorporated into any menu selection: the goat cheese and custom-smoked meats. In addition to a feta and plain variety, the Kapplans make several flavors of spreadable goat cheese including bacon tomato horseradish, chipotle & garlic, and dill herb. Depending on the time of day, these flavors can be enjoyed as part of an omelet made with farm-fresh eggs or sandwiched with sliced tomatoes between two slices of grilled bread. Creamy and packed with flavor, we have found that any menu item will inevitably benefit from the addition of their goat cheese, and have discovered new ways to sample it on each visit.
The other standouts are the smoked meats, the availability of which will vary depending on the day of your visit. When it comes to sandwiches on homemade bread, we are particular fans of the spicy ham and the roasted pork loin; however, we are just as happy to add some bacon or homemade sausage to a fried egg sandwich during the breakfast hours. The smoky flavor is so enjoyable that any of these meats could certainly be eaten alone (and can be by ordering the smoked meat sampler plate), but one is also given the opportunity to create different flavor combinations by selecting condiments (e.g., house barbeque, spicy mustard, jams) from a tray that circulates around the small dining room.
It took us several visits to Bush Meadow before we sampled Nancy’s famous Chuckwagon beans, but they instantly became a must-have on our list. A hodgepodge that includes bacon, hamburger, kidney, pinto, and butter beans (“a recipe from an old army cookbook from 100 years ago,” Nancy quips), these beans are just brown-sugary enough without satisfying a sweet tooth. The contrasts between the sizes and textures of the beans and meat make for a deliciously satisfying side dish to any meal. Rounding out the meal is their selection of worldly sodas (our favorites are Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer and San Pellegrino Sparkling Limonata), and don’t forget that the Kapplans’ hircine ‘farmhands’ are always waiting by the fence outside for handouts and petting.