Stock Your Summer Kitchen With These 7 Prepared Foods From Local Farmers' Markets
Show love to small-batch local foodmakers (and your taste buds!) with these 7 prepared foods from area farmers’ markets.
I previously wrote about ten local farmers’ markets for this splendid summer of 2016, and in the couple of months since, I've eaten my weight in farmers’-market foods, from produce to cheese to sausages to baked goods.
I am especially enamored by the prepared foods. When it comes to summertime cooking, I either have a sensible grasp of my strengths and weaknesses, or I’m a lazy millennial, depending on whom you ask.
But why waste the energy when I can leave it to the experts? Here are seven New England food companies who make these foods and beverages a whole lot better than I do.
1. Kimchi from Chi Kitchen
Whether you’re new to the spicy Korean pickle or a longtime fanatic, Chi Kitchen makes a crunchy, tangy, eye-watering rendition. The business was started out of the Hope & Main culinary incubator in Warren, R.I., and offers two varieties of kimchi (pictured above): the traditional Napa made with fresh-press, extra-virgin black anchovy fish sauce, and a vegan version made with miso. I mowed through my 16-ounce jar of vegan kimchi in a few days.
Schedule: Union Street Farmers’ Market in Somerville, every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Hope Street Farmers’ Market in Providence, R.I., Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and selected Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Armory Farmers’ Market in Providence every other Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and the Coastal Growers’ Market in Saunderson, R.I., selected Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Chi Kitchen — chikitchenfoods.com
2. Smoked fish pate from the Boston Smoked Fish Company
In another story of the culinary scene poaching talent from the corporate world, Matt Baumann ditched a career as a tax attorney to smoke fish. Cool. What started as Matt’s Amazing Smokehouse eventually became the Boston Smoked Fish Company, filling what Baumann and his business partner Chris Avery felt was a void in the market when it came to quality. Accordingly, Baumann and Avery buy their fish fresh as can be from the Boston Fish Pier. They’ve has been written up in Edible Boston and the Boston Globe, not to mention an award from the editors at Yankee Magazine.
So score yourself some smoked bluefish and smoked salmon pates. Offset the texture of the pate by spreading it over some crunchy crostini or crackers. And if you’re in the mood, Boston Smoked Fish Company also has cuts of smoked fish, with extra acclaim given to their salmon.
Schedule: Copley Square Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays and Fridays; Lexington Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays; Arlington Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays; Davis Square Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays; Belmont Farmers’ Market on Thursdays; Brookline Farmers’ Market on Thursdays; Roslindale Farmers’ Market on Saturdays; Union Square Farmers’ Market on Saturdays; Waltham Farmers’ Market on Saturdays
Boston Smoked Fish Company — bostonsmokedfish.com
3. Fermented sides from Cauldron Fermented Foods
I backed these guys on Kickstarter because I have a vinegar tooth and want to eat all the fermented things. Luckily for me, they ferment many a thing. Their staples include “Black and White Sauerkraut, which has white sauerkraut with black peppercorns; “Firecracker Carrots,” a simple carrot pickle with heat from jalapeno and chili flakes; and crunchy “Dilly Green Beans.” But they also drop in other offerings, like curtido, a Salvadorian cabbage relish with carrot, onion, cumin and a hint of heat.
Schedule: Salem Farmers' Market, Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Roslindale Farmers' Market, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Watertown Farmers' Market, every other Thursday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Waltham Farmers' Market, Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
Cauldron Fermented Foods — cauldronfermentedfoods.com
4. Popovers from the Popover Lady
The popover is a buttery New England version of British savory Yorkshire pudding. Naomi Cannistraci is all over the Boston-area farmers’ market scene with these pastries in a variety of flavors. Coated with orange cinnamon sugar or laced with Asiago cheese or drizzled with chocolate, the Popover Lady has you covered with high-quality baked goods. And if you’re having trouble deciding on a flavor, check out Edible Boston’s column on the Popover Lady’s varieties and what to do with them. Meanwhile, Danielle DeSiato wrote about the Popover Lady for Craving Boston earlier this year, complete with a recipe for carbohydrate enthusiasts who are less lazy than myself.
Schedule: SoWa Farmers’ Market in Boston’s South End, every other Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Brookline Farmers’ Market, Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Natick Farmers’ Market, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Melrose Farmers’ Market, Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Wakefield Farmers’ Market, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Newburyport Farmers’ Market, every other Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Winchester Farmers’ Market, selected Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Wayland Farmers’ Market, selected Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Popover Lady — thepopoverlady.com
5. Pierogies from Jaju Pierogi
This sister duo makes pretty little semi-circle pockets of unleavened dough, stuffed with all things yummy and sealed with a neat seam, all out of their Beverly storefront. They did the hard part —having a Polish grandfather with a Polish food business in Western Massachusetts who taught them how to make delectable little Polish pierogis — so you can just dunk the little darlings in a pan of boiling water. Flavors include cabbage and mushroom; potato and cheese; kielbasa sausage; and caramelized onion with sweet potato.
Jaju Pierogi —jajupierogi.com
6. Produce juices and nut milks from Blake Orchard Juicery
In the “barely prepared” foods vein, this Portland, M.E.-based juice shop is romantically organic. Blake Orchard Juicery sells raw nutrient-dense fruit and vegetable juices and “nut mylks,” made in small batches and sold in 16-oz. glass bottles. Varieties include “Skin Cleanser” made with cucumber, pineapple, spinach, celery and lemon; the “Glow” with carrot and orange; and the “Insomniac” with apple and celery. A three-day juice cleanse is also available. And if you trek up to their storefront in Maine, you can get devour “smoothie bowls” instead of just fawning over them on Instagram (@BlackOrchard).
Union Square Farmers’ Market, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Blake Orchard Juicery — blakeorchardjuicery.com
7. Caramel popcorn from Ava’s Caramel Popcorn
Kiss goodbye to Cracker Jacks, but don’t worry. You won’t miss them. Ava Vatsky obsessed over the recipe for her caramel popcorn for a year, and it shows in every sweet, salty, crunchy-and-chewy bite. Her low-tech small-batch one-woman show is way labor-intensive, as I wrote about in a previous Craving Boston article, but she won’t cut corners because she feels that it may compromise the quality. Anything less than the best just won’t do.
My favorite variety — ugh, I hate choosing favorites, but here I go — is the extra-dark chocolate, which throws sharpness into the rich flavor palate without throwing it off balance.
Ava’s Caramel Popcorn — avaspopcorn.com