Budget Beat

The Farm Kitchen: Lunch $10 & Under

The Farm Kitchen serves up lunch in a gorgeous picnic setting, complete with wicker baskets and red checkered table clothes at the Farm at South Mountain. For around $10, you can grab a seat in the great outdoors, with plenty of ambient noise, umbrellas to shield you from the sun and some feathered friends who are surprisingly timid, given the abundance of food.

Stroll in to the building to scan your options and place your order, being sure to note the Farm Fresh soup, salad and sandwich options for the day. We ordered the half sandwich and soup combination for a little variety. All main entrees are $9.95, so we stuck with water to keep our bill (before tax and tip) under $10.

The Farm Garden Sandwich packs tons of veggies between thick slices of super soft nine-grain bread. If anything is wrong with this sandwich, it's that's it's too thick. It's hard to get a bite with a little bit of everything - the guacamole-like avocado, havarti cheese, spouts, tomato, cucumbers, and herb Mayo - so we wound up squashing our bread and getting gauc on our nose in the process.

Freshness isn't sacrificed for quantity, though. It literally tastes like the fruits and veggies were picked, washed, and cut hours earlier.

The Grilled Chicken BLTDA Sandwich makes us wish we ate meat, packed with field greens, dates and apples in addition to the regular fillings served up on potato bread, and so does the Curry Turkey Salad Sandwich, which sounds like a curried Thanksgiving feast on a baguette.

As vegetarians, we were thrilled to hear the baked potato soup was bacon-free. Having once been big fans of bacon-loaded baked potatoes topped with more bacon bits and its alter-ego soup, we were astounded at just how tasty this meatless version was.

On first glance, the soup looks watery and oily, but on closer inspection, you can see all the components of the real deal: big hunks of skin-on potato, chives, cheese, and even sour cream. And that dense oily broth? It's super flavorful, acting like the melted butter melding everything together seamlessly.

With loads of sandwich options and daily changing soups, getting the half sandwich and cup of soup is the best way to go, unless, of course you're in a salad mood, in which case we would get the Raspberry Goat Cheese with candied pecans, field greens and jicama or (if we ate meat) the delicious-sounding Pecan Turkey Waldorf with apricot mango dressing.

A leisurely post-lunch stroll on the property is not to be missed, especially on a gorgeous day when the noontime temp hovers around or below 80˚F. Plus, you might burn off your lunch and work up an appetite for dessert.

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Hannah E Williams