RI’s Best Summer Farmer’s Markets
Thursday, May 31, 2012
We often run into food lovers who want to cook like professional chefs. They wonder about technique and where to buy the best ingredients. Luckily, we live in an amazing time when local artisans are procuring everything from meats and poultry to fruits and vegetables and farmers' markets provide a place for home cooks to get the same stuff that’s being served in the states’ best restaurants. We shopped those farmers' markets and have picked the five best for cooking like a pro.
Hope Street Farmer’s Market, Providence
This market has just about everything you’d need to make restaurant quality food at home: Bomster scallops from Stonington that are the choice of top chefs like Simon Keating at XO Café; Oysters from Perry Raso and Matunuck Oyster Farm; Seven Stars Bakery and incredible herbs and flowers from Robin Hollow Farms. One of the nice attractions at this market is the number of food trucks that ring the outside of it every week. Two of our faves are Hewtin’s Dog Mobile from the folks at Chez Pascal, and Like No Udder with their vegan-friendly treats. On a recent visit, we picked up some Bomsters and grilled them with a soy/sesame glaze and served them atop some Wishing Stone Farm bok choy . It was fresh and delicious. The cupcakes from the Cupcakerie were the perfect finale. Wednesday 3 pm to 6 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. 1059 Hope St. www.hopestreetmarket.com
Coastal Growers Farmers’ Market at Casey Farm, Saunderstown
There are only a few spots as bucolic as Casey Farm in the summertime. And the array of offerings at their farmers' market are very impressive. We fell in love with the delicious pesto sauces from Besto Pesto. Fresh and organic, they made a great topping to some grilled peasant bread from Olga’s. The basil and garlic are grown locally and the sauce was not one of those “too garlicy” pesto sauces -- it had nice balance. We also left with an armful of salsas from Poblano Farms in South Kingston. This is also a great market at which to sample some of the local tasty offerings. Weekly you can expect to find the supremely talented Jake Rojas of Talulah on Thames serving the food (fresh SoCal Mexican) that is his true passion -- and it tastes like it; crispy wood-fired pizza from Bravo Wood Fired Pizza and freshly ground coffee from the Coffee Guy. Saturday 9 am to 12 pm. 2325 Boston Neck Rd.
Ship Street Farmers’ Market, Providence
One of the newcomers on the market scene is the Ship Street Farmers Market that is located in the Jewelry District. When we saw the Brown Medical building being built in the area we wondered if a market would follow...after all, hungry, healthy med students tend to seek out fresh and local and so the market was born. Now folks in the area have a weekly place to find healthy alternatives to take home and make their own. This market features an array of fruits and vegetables from Shartner Farms; dfruits and ciders from Hill Orchards in Smithfield and hydroponically grown lettuces from Absalona Greenhouse in Chepachet. Growing hydroponically is the process of growing without dirt. The roots are kept in water and you can control everything that the lettuce eats, so we know exactly what we’re eating. This is also home to three of our favorite food trucks: Mijo’s Tacos, Rocket Truck and Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ. Come down, eat lunch, grab stuff for dinner. Totes convenient! Tuesdays 11:30 am to 2 pm. Ship Street Square, in front of Brown Med School.
Northwest Farmers' Market at Petersen Farm, Glocester
The area of Smithfield, Glocester and Chepachet is home to some of the top artisans in the state. Most of the top restaurants in the state use beef From Blackbird Farm in Smithfield and many incredible vegetable producers call this region home. It stood to reason that they would get their own market and so was born the Northwest Farmers Market at Petersen Farm. If you eat at the top restaurants in the state, chances are that you will find a poached Zephyr Farm egg on the menu. You will find Zephyr Farms here also, with their incredibly fresh eggs that defy description. If you’ve never had one of these don’t be shocked by the almost burnt orange color of the yolks -- that’s what your eggs are supposed to look like. Also featured is Hickory Hill Farms with a wide array of products that included fresh duck eggs.! And if you want to feel a little extra good for the day, pick up some baking mixes from Amos House Works. It’s a great way to give back and have some tasty cookies. Sundays 10 am to 2 pm. 451 Putnam Pike.
East Greenwich Farmers Market, East Greenwich
With connections to the open spaces of West Greenwich and Coventry and a spot on the Bay, East Greenwich is more than just a beautiful place to live. It is home to one of the best farmer's markets in the state from June through October. Many terrific farmers and artisans call this market home, but our first stop is always at Pat’s Pastured. Located in Jamestown, Pat’s produces some of the best chicken you will ever taste. Don’t expect that corn fed yellow color you get in massed-produced chickens. These free-range birds eat what they want: the grass, bugs and plants that their little chicken hearts desire. The Poulet Rouge is our current fave; we love the crispy skin and a little more depth of flavor. Other “must hits” include Luckyfoot Ranch, with its delicious vegetables, Salt Water Farms for the freshest shellfish that is all over restaurant menus, and for clean-up time we can’t resist the handmade soaps of Stella Marie Soap Company, made responsibly right here in Rhode Island. Mondays 3 pm to 6 pm, Academy Field at the corner of Church St. and Rector St.
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