Wines will be bottled next spring, but as soon as all the licenses are secured, the deli will sell products from other local wineries
After several months of construction, one of Yates County’s newest businesses — Tabora Farm & Winery — was enthusiastically welcomed to the community at a soft opening Nov. 25. Since then, word is spreading about the freshly prepared deli and bakery items that can now be found at the countryside corners.
And while it’s a new business, its roots reach back to early fruit businesses of the area, and farm family recipes using simple, fresh ingredients.
Located at the corner of Lakemont-Himrod and Dundee-Lakemont Roads, the main building is a former fruit packing barn that underwent an extensive renovation to house a deli, bakery, and market. There, owners Roger and Jane Eatherton prepare a wide variety of baked goods, soups, sandwiches, quiches, entrees, salads, and desserts. The deli’s menu also includes trays of appetizers and casseroles that can feed a crowd.
Almost everything that comes out of the bakery and the deli kitchen is created on-site.
“We make things that remind me of my boyhood,” says Roger, who flew his mother from South Dakota to Pennsylvania years ago to teach him how to bake her cinnamon rolls.
“If the ingredients couldn’t be found in my grandmother’s kitchen, it wouldn’t be used,” explains Roger, talking about his evolution as a baker.
Although not native Lakemonters, the Eathertons have woven their way into the community over the 11 years they have owned vineyards here. In fact, Roger, a South Dakota native with a dry sense of humor delivered with a low-key demeanor, could easily have been a native of the small, historic community in southern Yates County. Jane, a native of South Africa, has an easy smile and personal warmth that isn’t typically found in chain food establishments.
While Roger, whose career path began as an industrial engineer but now a self-taught baker, kneads breads, bakes cookies, muffins and pastries, Jane prepares the items in the deli across the room. They can keep an eye on one another, and customers can watch Roger at work through a large window to the bakery. He proudly shows the efficiency of the workspace’s layout, pointing to his experience in industry which helps reduce steps and motions during a workday. “It’s the most efficient bakery in New York State,” he proudly declares.
The Eathertons previously owned a similar business in Bucks County, Pa., earning a reputation for their high-quality products. Their transition to Lakemont began after they purchased vineyards and began selling grapes to Finger Lakes region wineries.
Next spring, they will bottle the first wines from their own cellar, but as soon as all their licenses are approved, they will sell wines from Lakewood, Swedish Hill, and Thirsty Owl, wineries that buy their grapes.
The winery’s tasting room will first be located in the market, but will eventually move to another building that is currently under construction.
The layout of the bakery, market and deli is the result of lessons learned at the Pennsylvania market. It’s all under a Cape Dutch building reminiscent of South Africa’s architecture, but which fits with the historic homes and farms around it.
As neighbors stop in to check out their enterprise, they are hearing stories about boys playing basketball in the big barn with the gambrel roof, where fruit was sorted and packed for decades.
An antique fruit sorting table, given to the Eathertons by relatives of the late Claudia Sullivan, sits in the foyer. On the table is a copy of a book, “Grapes of New York State,” given to Roger by the late Bob Sullivan, Claudia’s brother-in-law.
When Seneca Lake Wine trail visitors who wander off Route 14 find the new business, they might be lucky enough to be greeted by one of the guinea fowl, the farm’s symbol, that roam the pasture at the nearby barn.
The deli, bakery and market are open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more about Tabora Farm, visit www.taborafarmandwinery.com.