In an ideal world, the term, "farm to table" should not exist. All restaurants should be farm (or dock) to table, and, in this world, the best ones are. We have visited five 'f2t' restaurants in the last month, and this is the best. Not only do we search out f2t restaurants to try, we try to avoid their antithesis: the food service industry. In Lancaster county, as bucolic and abundant as the land is, eating is a problem. The hoards of visitors encourage and require many food service providers to address their hunger. Even when the Amish open their homes for dinner, it is not what they serve their families. It is sincere, but it is an income-producing venture. John J Jeffries is a low-profile gem; I do not use five-circle ratings often.
We were greeted with a spoonful of a gazpacho-like preparation as an amuse bouche and a plate of a quickbread and risen bread as we sat down. These were very tasty and were a nice start to the meal. I do not like unsalted butter, however. If the diner at the next table has heart disease, why should I suffer?
We ordered two salads and one soup from the small plates as starters. My wife was interested in the berry salad, a green salad with berries and walnuts and vinaigrette. The berries were only blueberries, but they went well with the salad. JJJ avoided overreaching by not including a variety of berries as some restaurants might do for appearance, only to have some berries interfere with the serenity of the salad by being too strident. I ordered the Heirloom tomato and fresh goat mozzarella salad which turned out to be a little bland, but still very good, with a wonderful freshness to the tomatoes and to the mild mozzarella. It is amazing how something as pungent as goat's milk can make such a mild cheese. I also ordered the Tomato, Zucchini & Roasted Garlic Scape Bisque, and planned to share it with my wife by 'spoons across the table'. Our server, a kind and attentive but not intrusive woman, informed us that she had split the bisque into two bowls for us and wanted to reassure us that we were not being charged for two items. The bisque was wonderful, very flavorful with just a hint of garlic, and nicely set off by the small dollop of goat cheese floating on top. This cheese was more pungent, appropriately so.
Eating vegetarian as I do, I have had my fill of bland entrees that derive their pedigree from meat-seasoned dishes, only to suffer a loss of character when the meat is removed and nothing is added back to take its place. The Summer Squash Vegetarian Johnny Cake with Colby Cheese, Sautéed Summer Vegetables, and Tomato Cream Sauce could have fallen into that trap, but it did not. Redolent with vegetable sweetness and savoriness, with crisp, salty crusts of broiled Colby on top and a thin but substantial corn-wonderful Johnnycake on the bottom, it was a unique, satisfying dish. Moreover, it was free from the overused pasta, bean and rice vegetarian standbys. My wife's Barnegat Light Dry Packed Sea Scallops with Roasted Sweet Corn, Bacon-Potato Chowder, and Tomato Salsa were prepared very well. Moist and a little too pink on the inside for her, but perfect for my (prior) tastes and those of most diners. She 'stretched her envelope' away from her avoidance of anything pink and said that she thoroughly enjoyed them. The accompanying corn and potato chowder garnishes were delicious.
Alas, we were too full for dessert.
The tab was the smallest of the five f2t restaurants we have been to in the last month.
Do I have anything negative to say? One. I do not like alcohol and usually drink water with meals. The water served at JJJ is the hardest, most mineral-laden that I can remember tasting. It is downright bitter and interferes with the taste of the food. I could have ordered bottled water, but I was just to mesmerized by my dinner to care all that much. However, it is a small, low cost step that they could take to make a small improvement.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.