Archive for the ‘Farmers Markets’ Category
Location: Somerville, MA
The Foodie: Strongly Recommends
New England farm-fresh wares can now be found in the ‘Ville year-round. Party on Wayne.
All dorky dated 90’s movie references aside, the Union Square Farmers Market is a serious affair for those who have an heirloom-tomato-shaped heart, like myself.
From June 2nd through November 17th, the intersection of Washington Street, Somerville Ave, and Mother Earth is bumping with bounty from 9AM to 1PM. Curious what you might be filling your recycled-plastic-bottle-bag with? Read on:
- Cranberry beans
- Lettuces of all kinds
- Chioggia beets
- Ground cherries
- Corn on the cob
- Ribeye steaks
- Breakfast sausages
- Fresh Basil
- Chicken of the wood mushrooms
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Artisan bread
- Fresh locally-crafted cheeses
- Jams and spreads
- The meaning of life
The list could go on and on. A leisurely stroll through the food tents on a Saturday morning with a Bloc 11 latte in hand is one piece of summer’villain illin’ fun that I always look forward to.
The size, selection, and vibe at the Union Market makes this my favorite slice of farm charm in town. The only thing they’re missing is a little Grey Poupon.
OK, this wouldn’t be a food blog unless I threw a post on the big city up here.
I know the type of New Englander with a gut full of Fenway Franks, a habit of dropping their “R’s”, and a closet full of Northeast pro sport team memorabilia will shun these words – but I really like NYC.
A true Foodie could not ask for more – I swear I’ve eaten at hundreds of restaurants in Manhattan and the Burroughs over the years and always leave with a different perspective on the food scene here.
This time I’m zoning in on the strong “Farm to Table” and “House-Made” trends that continue to bring great things to my belly. Though these are big movements that have been transforming the American dining world for years – it can be especially challenging to find fresh, local, and house-made gastro-ware in a place with so much edible noise.
So here’s a few tips on doing Farm to Table during one day in NYC this summer:
Bomb lattes, crumpets, and brekkie. | Ace Hotel
This Midtown, Chelsea-area Hotel is one of those places that hands you a few cool points just for walking in the door. They also serve bomb lattes from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a pretty decent scone, and “cute” house-made granola. Start your day chilling in the lobby here for breakfast.
The best of New York state and beyond. |Union Square Farmers Market
Wind your way down 5th Avenue to Union Square Green Market (open from 8AM to 6PM on Saturdays) to experience what has got to be one of the largest farmers markets in the land. Our heads were spinning at all the amazing produce, cheeses, breads, and funky new stuff we encountered here including samples of the following:
- Finnish yeast-free rye breads (Nordic Breads)
- Chilled exotic tea mixtures (very refreshing on a 95 degree day)
- Home-made liverwurst (NOT as refreshing on a 95 degree day)
- Solar-powered-grill-cooked zucchini latkes
Late Lunch, cheese, and a few brewskies | Beecher’s Handmade Cheeses
Head uptown a block or two once you’ve enjoyed all that the Green Market has to offer to witness a home-grown cheese operation. Beecher’s is a huge shop that sells cheeses from all over and actually makes a few of their own in-house using a huge contraption displayed in plain sight of customers. Oh, and they also feature breakfast, a selection of melty, gooey, cheesy sandwiches, mac ‘n cheese, and a downstairs cellar where you can water down your cheese with it’s natural bedpartners – wine and beer.
Golden beets, arugula, rabbit, fresh pasta, and peas. Bliss. | Calliope
Once you’ve taken a couple hours to digest all the aforementioned goodness, hit Calliope for a late dinner. This intimate farmhouse bistro in the East Village serves up a small and very well executed menu of Contemporary American dishes with a nod or two to Europe. The whole meal here was amazing from start to finish and featured:
- Salad of arugula, thin shaved rounds of golden beet, and goat cheese. Our server emphatically claimed these items had literally come in from a NY-state farm that day.
- What had to be house-made delicate wide pappardelle with generous rabbit meat and sweet English Shelling Peas.
- Steamed halibut over romesco toast swimming in a small pond of beautiful saffron mussel broth.
- Dessert special of the evening that was a twist on fresh berry clafoutis (tastes as cool as it sounds)
Where beer snobs go when they die.| Top Hops Beer Shop
If you have any room left in the organic section of your stomach – make a final stop at this beer-lovers paradise to enjoy a selection of 20 taps of mouth watering craft brews and 700 (700!) bottles. Far less crowded than the average Lower East Side bar on a Saturday night and guaranteed to have a better beer selection.
Location: Somerville, MA
The Foodie: Strongly Recommends
In the first episode of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s excellent sketch series Portlandia, a bohemian couple travels from the table they’re dining at out to a farm to see where the chicken they were about to eat came from.
When they arrive out to the farm they become mesmerized by the owner Aliki and lured into an organic farm cult, spending years entranced by his spell…
I felt the same way when I walked into the Somerville Winter Farmers Market for the first time, hypnotized by local treasures sold on Saturdays from 9:30 to 2:30PM November thru May at the Armory on Highland Ave.
Following is just a sample of what was available in this castle of homegrown New England delicacies:
- Valley Farm Natural Raised Beef (best breakfast sausages ever)
- Great Cape Baking Company (a killer rosemary loaf and a donut that has the addictive properties of crack)
- Local mussels, haddock and greysole from Gloucester and Maine
- Stillman’s Farm Meat
- Excellent seasonal produce from MA and NH farms (think celery root, parsnips, chioggia beets, exotic cabbage, etc)
- Fresh milk and vats of butter
- Fiore di Nonno Fresh Mozzarella and Burrata
Spending a winter morning here strolling from table to table sampling (and oogling at) all kinds of amazing goods while rubbing shoulders with the producers themselves is what food shopping was and is always meant to be.
So do your shopping here next weekend, feel like you’re walking into an episode of Portlandia, and allow yourself to be enthralled by the bounty of the earth.