Saltbox Farm has been in Chef Ben Elliott’s family for almost three-quarters of a century. Built by Ben’s grandparents, Edward and Emilie Thomas, in the 1940s, the farm got its name from the saltbox style of the main house. During that time it has seen generations of children grow, families celebrate, snows come, springs arrive and harvests abound.
Ben spent much of his childhood at Saltbox Farm with his grandparents. It was a typical family farm with a variety of animals for their own use, including chickens and geese for eggs and meat, pigs, sheep, horses, and a cow for milking. They maintained a large vegetable garden and Ben’s grandmother put up much of the late summer harvest to enjoy during the cold winters. There was also an orchard, berries for jam making, and bee hives for honey.
In the kitchen, Ben would help his grandmother, a talented home cook, prepare classic New England dishes consisting almost entirely of ingredients from the farm, using recipes from a well-worn 1932 edition of the Fanny Farmer cookbook. With his grandfather, Ben spent countless hours in the gardens, planting, weeding, and harvesting and it was on this farm that a love of eating, cooking, and farming was born.
Ben and his family moved to the farm in 2004, and began restoring it in 2008. In 2009, Ben left the fast-paced urban restaurant scene to work full-time to establish a range of businesses at Saltbox Farm through which he could share his passion for cooking with fresh, local ingredients.