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The Perfect General Store

The Perfect General Store
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One of the many pleasures of working at Yankee is that our offices are just a short drive from one of New England’s great general stores.

Like the best of its kind, the Harrisville General Store is part market, part eatery, part gallery, and part social hub. Incidentally, there were people all around me as I took this photo, but since they were eating, I kept them out of the frame.

The setting of the store couldn’t be more charming. Harrisville boasts remarkably well-preserved 19th-century mill buildings and homes and an abundance of beautiful lakes. Here’s the view from the porch of the store.

Inside, you can find grocery staples, wonderful breads, and the best eggs in the world, all brought in from local farms. There’s a rotating cast of suppliers, but today’s eggs are from Wellscroft Farm.

But perhaps the best part of the Harrisville General Store is the incredible food: homemade soups, panini, burgers made with local beef, organic salads, pot pies, pizzas, cider donuts made fresh daily, towering carrot cakes, a wonderful mac n’ cheese.

Much of this baked good greatness is the work of M’Lue Zahner, whose daughter, Laura Elizabet Carden, runs the place. Laura was out today, but M’Lue was gracious enough to pose for a photo.

But as great as M’Lue’s sweets are, my real addiction at the moment is to the seasonal raw kale salad. This is not a joke. Tossed with walnuts, feta, and dried cranberries in a shallot-rice wine vinaigrette, it is sweet, salty, tart, nutty, and crunchy. A perfect mix of flavors.

So thanks, Laura and M’Lue, for all that you do to feed us so well.

Amy Traverso


Amy Traverso


Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !
Updated Thursday, January 19th, 2012

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4 Responses to The Perfect General Store

  1. Tinky January 20, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    It sounds wonderful! Ours doesn’t offer meals, but it’s a great general store–and essential to the community. Avery’s General Store in Charlemont, Mass., which celebrated its 150th birthday last year and is still run by the Avery family, has everything local shoppers need (well, except fresh fish!). It’s crammed to the rafters with merchandise, from produce to paint, but the staff can find anything one needs. Best of all, everyone there cares about neighbors. When my mother was in her last year and couldn’t get up the steps, storekeepers would keep an eye out for her and pretty much carry her into the store. She adored them, and so do I.

  2. Janice July 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    I just had this for the first time today, and it was spectacular! . . . Now to the “lab” to figure out the perfect blend of vinaigrette ingredients . . .

  3. William August 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    I went to Thomas More School that was located on the Childs estate in the early 1960’s. At that time the site was occupied by “Ed’s IGA Store” and when I returned to the area to show my son a part of my growing up, the building was no longer active. Very glad to see part of my youth alive again.

  4. Bishop Emanuel Silva October 23, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

    I spent a year at Thomas More School as a Master of Latin, and Sacred Scripture. It was a memorable year where I probably learned more from the students than they did from me. My Volkswagen seemed to attract attention and it was once buried under a mountain of leaves and later decorated with shaving cream proclaiming it Yahweh’s Chariot and how was I to explain it to the Ukrainian Church parishioners in Manchester, where I served as Cantor? I regret that windshear erased it before we could take a picture. And I am still searching for the “artists”, who have long been forgiven. God bless them all and the hamlet of Harrisville!

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