Soon, farmers' markets all over New England will open and you'll be able to find fresh, local produce and artisan foods. This past Sunday, a warm and sunny day, I took a short drive up to the Newburyport Farmers' Market, one of the first markets to open this season. It was their opening weekend, and they will now be open every Sunday through the summer from 9am-1pm. The market is located in the parking lot of the Tannery Marketplace.
The market was fairly busy, the pleasant weather enticing many to visit. I liked that there were numerous tables, at one end of the market, where you could sit and enjoy some of the foods available in the market. So this is more than just a place to buy your items and leave. Instead, you can buy a sandwich or some pastry, and savor them while still at the market.
There was a good selection of vendors, easily 25 or more, though I'll note that there was not much fresh produce yet available due to the season. But I am sure that will change soon enough. It is an impressive market, and I recommend you check it out.
Here are some of the vendors you'll find here:
Arrowhead Farm had plenty of plants available for sale and they also run a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. In short, you can buy a share of the CSA and get a regular delivery of fresh, local vegetables and fruits.
Valicenti Organico, of Hollis, New Hampshire, sells hand-made pasta and pasta sauces using locally grown ingredients. This includes seven varieties of ravioli, which you can see listed above. I got to sample some pasta with the Valicenti Organico Red Gravy and it was quite tasty, and I bought some of their spaghetti which looked quite interesting. I do think I'll return to check out some of their ravioli as well.
You'll find plenty of different types of organic honey here as well, which can make for a good substitute for sugar in many recipes.
Cape Ann Pies has a good selection of fruit pies, available whole or by the slice. These handmade pies use only all-natural ingredients, and never any preservatives or artificial flavors/ingredients.
Heron Pond Farm sells organic vegetables and they run a CSA too. They had numerous potatoes available at the market, from blue potatoes to fingerlings. They also had some greens and a few other items.
I am a tea rather than coffee drinker so was eager to check out White Heron Tea. They sell organic, fair trade teas, and had quite a good selection of flavors. I tried a glass of their iced tea, which was refreshing and delicious. They had a few different types of iced tea available, a couple fruit flavored, though I went for the basic version. You can also buy loose tea to take home and make on your own.
The Crazy Camel, of Somersworth, New Hampshire, was selling his line of Dessert Hummus, which comes in six different flavors from chocolate mousse to caramel apple. Certainly an intriguing item which should perk your interest.
Rivers Lea Farm, in Epping, New Hampshire, sells hormone and antibiotic free lamb, mutton and goat meat, as well as prepared meals. You'll find ground lamb, sausages, chops, kabobs, rib racks and more. You might also be interested in their Shepherd's Pie, Mulligatawny Stew or Chili. I picked up a pound of the ground lamb.
Kellie Brook Farm, of Greenland, New Hampshire, also sells meats, though they have a wider selection, including beef, pork, and veal. They also sell their farm eggs. At the market, they make breakfast and lunch sandwiches. I tried their egg sandwhich, on a croissant, with cheese and chorizo. It was a good sandwich, the chorizo being excellent, with a nice blend of spices. After eating the sandwich, I had to buy some of the chorizo to take home.
Mary of The Savory Kitchen is an excellent cook and if you stop by the market then you must stop by her table to sample her baked goods. Mary is a friend of mine, but my recommendation is unbiased. Just taste her products and I am positive you will agree. These are the items you could find in any professional bakery, and they are scrumptious.
Muffins, scones, sticky buns, candies and more. Everything is fresh, moist and flavorful. Try a Bacon Cheddar Scone or a Banana Walnut Muffin. She sells breads as well, including bruschetta and a long, white bread called Stucco (sp?). It was addictive and I ate so much of the loaf at the market I had to buy another to take home.
Her Strawberry Cupcakes were perfect, the right amount of moist cake with a whipped cream-like frosting that burst with strawberry flavor. You can also get cookies, caramel corn and brownies. I should note that Mary also runs a personal chef service.
The Newburyport Farmers' Market had a great opening, and I expect it will only get better as more and more local produce becomes available. They have a diverse selection of vendors, and you can even sit down and relax there, enjoying some of the delicious foods available. I recommend you take a drive there some Sunday. Support our local farmers, cooks and artisans.
Addendum (5/6/10): The other night, for dinner I had the Valicenti Organico Spaghetti with some of the Kellie Brook Farm chorizo in the sauce. The spaghetti is a bit thicker than usual, with a ringed texture that seems to hold onto the sauce better. It was quite tasty, and more flavorful than boxed pastas. And I am sure it is healthier for you as well. The chorizo was also quite delicious, tender and well spiced. It was actually one of the best chorizos I have tasted in some time. An excellent meal, which I paired with a Sean Thackrey Pleaides (one of my favorite wines).