At Lakeside Farms Country Market and Restaurant in Ballston Lake, it’s all about family.
The business started when Robert Pearce bought the Schauber Road farm in 1948 for its 19th century barn and cider press. Today, the place is run by third-generation brothers Rich and Jeff Pearce and has grown to include a restaurant and market, a pavilion for special occasions and — just in the last year — a gift shop.
But it’s still the cider and the cider donuts that keep people coming back to Lakeside Farms, said Rich Pearce.
“We have people come and buy them just to send them to family members and military overseas,” said Pearce.
The Pearces make certain the cider press and the cider donut machine are front and center in the autumn months. According to Rich Pearce, Lakeside still uses the cider press which was built in the 1890’s. The cider donut machine is used daily and is always in front of the store.
Though there is heavy competition from other Capital District farms, Pearce said Lakeside Farms’ cider donuts stand apart from the rest. “I’m not bragging, but I think we have a very good cider donut,” said Pearce. “It’s got its own very unique taste.”
Beyond the cider and cider donuts, Lakeside Farms offers a variety of locally grown produce. Among the items for sale are eggs from a farm in Schuylerville, Battenkill milk, local honey, maple syrup from New York and Vermont and New York cheddar cheese.
Lakeside Farm isn’t just about the local produce and products. It’s also about the food! Lakeside Farms really began to diversify in the early 1980s, when it sold sandwiches and pies in the store. When that became popular, the business expanded to offer a breakfast menu in 1990, and then a full-blown dining area was created in the late 1990s.
It was also in the late 1990s when the Pearce’s built a pavilion for special events. Today, the pavilion is used for large celebrations including graduation parties and weddings, as well as craft fairs and meetings.
The latest evolution came last year when the Pearce’s converted their father’s house into a gift shop. Rich Pearce said it was something he had in mind for a while.
“My father asked me once, ‘What are you going to do with the house once I’m gone,’ and I said I’d either turn it into a gift shop or a bed and breakfast,” said Pearce.
After a soft opening in 2014, the Ye Olde Farmhouse Gift Shoppe at Lakeside Farm had its official grand opening on June 27, 2015. The shop is split into several theme rooms, including a children’s room and an Adirondack section. The Gift Shoppe offers a large variety of items including curtains/valances, specialty kitchen items, seasonal decorations, greeting cards, Christmas ornaments and clothing.
Pearce said the response to the gift shop has been strong. “A lot of people were in there last year because they were interested in seeing what we did with the house,” he said.
Between the gift shop, the pavilion, the restaurant and its famous cider and cider donuts, Lakeside Farms is primed to be a family favorite for generations to come.
“It’s been a generation-to-generation type of thing. Parents bring their children here, and their children bring their children,” said Pearce.
Lakeside Farms is located at 336 Schauber Road in Ballston Lake, approximately 2.5 miles west of Interstate 87 at exit 11. For more information, call 399-8359 or visit lakesidecider.com.
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