On the doors of 34 Park St., white paper covers the former Pork and Pickles signs, now reading “Lazy Farmer.”
It’s a change some Essex Jct. residents and Vermonters are surprised by, but the name isn’t as new as some may think.
Five years ago, owner-chef Chris Simard debuted his aqua-and-white food truck, Lazy Farmer. He operated its catering component out of his home. In June 2016, he opened Pork and Pickles BBQ in Essex Jct. Last month, he closed the joint for a week before re-opening on December 1 under the new name.
The shift stems from Simard’s desire to shy away from smokehouse essentials, cook a varied menu and focus more on catering.
“I felt like I was locked in with Pork and Pickles,” Simard said. “We were doing BBQ, but I like to cook all sorts of stuff so it allowed me to open up what I can do and mess around with the menu a little bit more.”
Lazy Farmer’s menu is simplified: more sandwiches, fewer large plates.
Customers looking to test their palates can find a varying dinner menu every Friday and Saturday night from 4:30 – 9 p.m. and Saturday brunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Some evenings, Simard will switch up the menu altogether: Meatball, taco and fried rice nights may be fast approaching.
Last week, the appetizer menu showcased pork belly wraps, poutine and fried pickles. Sandwiches ranged from fried chicken, falafel, meatloaf and December’s hottest pick, the “Yes Please” burger. The three available large plates included pork schnitzel, strip steak and Simard’s famous fried chicken.
The latter is an offering from Pork and Pickles, which Simard said customers are happy to see remains and the star of a catering party Simard is hosting this week.
The Pork and Pickles space will now host private parties and in-house catering opportunities for Lazy Farmer.
In the summer, Simard caters about a wedding per week and up to three other events around Vermont. In the colder and less-hectic months, he’s answering sales emails and “messing around” in the kitchen, devising the next-best menu item between gigs.
Last Thursday, he was getting ready to indulge in a quest for the best house hot dog.
What will that entail, exactly?
“Well, we’re gonna make the hot dog from scratch,” he said, noting he’s made sausage dogs a few times prior.
“So I don’t know, I gotta mess around with it,” he said with a grin.
In 2010, the owner-chef graduated with an agriculture degree from the University of Vermont, after attending Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa culinary arts program for some time.
Then, he bought up a farm.
“I decided it was a little bit too much work for me, so I opened up [Lazy Farmer],” he said, hence the name. “Which is the same amount of work, just different work that I like more.”
Simard, a Colchester native, owns Lazy Farmer with his fiancée, Lizzy Williams.
Simply put, Simard likes to work with his hands and to eat — both motivating factors in his field, he noted.
The most gratifying aspect of his work is seeing a happy customer. Plus, he gets to support local farms and choose ingredients to his liking while doing so.
Last Thursday, as the door closed and the white paper signs — soon to be replaced — appeared again, Simard headed back to the cutting board.
He had some messing around to do.
To check out the latest menu and happenings at Lazy Farmer, visit facebook.com/lazyfarmervt.