BerkShares Business of the Month: Rolling Rock FarmMore Info
Sheffield — It’s common to see a farm named for a location, a family name or a state of mind. But what about naming it after one’s favorite beer? That’s what Tony Carlotto did when he named his homestead and longtime family property Rolling Rock Farm, inspired by the American lager in the iconic green glass bottles with a blue and white horse logo. About 10 years ago, Tony was getting ready to harvest 2,000 heads of garlic at Rolling Rock Farm when he came across a short paragraph in a $3.95 pamphlet on growing garlic from Storey Publishing about infusing salt. He spent the next few years testing recipes on friends and family and, in 2013, he officially launched his business.
Tony makes everything out of his home kitchen and produces about 15 jars per batch. After many years of research and development, he’s chosen three varieties of garlic to form the base of many of his salt, pepper and spice blends that aren’t too spicy, not too mild, but just right: Purple Glazer, German Red, and Music. With the exception of the no-salt blends, all recipes feature specialty salts like Himalayan, Hawaiian and Mediterranean. To capture the flavors in the salts and peppercorns, everything is infused fresh—including herbs grown on-site and locally sourced mushrooms and spirits—and then dried.
People are drawn to Tony because of his outgoing personality and cheeky sense of humor. Many of Tony’s 70 different products have PG13-rated titles which either delight or deter customers, he jokes, saying he’s an “equal opportunity pleaser and offender.” The top three sellers are “Tony’s Tremendous” all-purpose topping; “Darby’s Garlic Festival” garlic-salt blend named after Tony’s partner, Darby Weigel; and “Sex on the Beef,” a black garlic-based topping that’s rich in umami and intended for beef. Rolling Rock Farm makes custom recipes and labels upon request; couples often choose the Scarborough Fair blend with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to represent love and devotion.
You can find Rolling Rock Farm products at a few local farmers’ markets—West Stockbridge on Thursdays; Sheffield on Fridays; and Norfolk, Connecticut, on Saturdays—and at general stores throughout the region. Tony and Darby enjoy spreading the love beyond the Berkshires, so you’ll find these garlic fanatics at nearly every garlic festival in New England and at fairs up and down the east coast. They also sell their products online through Etsy.
Even though he’s always on the road, Tony prioritizes his community. When asked about the most important thing he’s learned from all his years in business, Tony said that it’s to be nice to people, adding, “When you’re happy and show up with a big smile, it spreads.” He applies that mentality to the local economy, too: When you help your neighbors, they help you back—that’s why he accepts BerkShares. Tony reports that his customers consistently use BerkShares and he encourages newcomers to spend them when they open their wallets to make a purchase.
Having retired from full-time jobs to pursue Rolling Rock Farm, Tony and Darby don’t like to take themselves too seriously these days. Darby said that their motto is “make some money, meet people and have fun.” Tony added, “and take anything we say with a grain of salt.”