Man, do we wish we lived up the street from Milk & Honey in Salem. With gourmet items, bulk grains and spices, fresh produce, a variety of groceries, and a great selection of artisan cheeses, this new market in downtown Salem is a gem.
Sharon Driscoll, a 14-year Salem resident, tells us the idea is an urban country store with an emphasis on natural and organic items. She also tells us her new venture is a lifelong dream, but we could see that the moment we stepped in the door.
The market is welcoming and well laid out, with wood floors and exposed brick walls. There’s a display of fresh vegetables from Crown of Maine and Maitland Farm (located off Loring Ave in Salem) plus bins of onions, potatoes, and shallots. There are organic grass-fed meats from New England Family Farms and Free Bird, as well as a selection of vegan and vegetarian items, including Macro Vegetarian prepared foods.
We love how many items are available in bulk, saving us from buying more than we need and all that unnecessary packaging. There are several varieties of beans; rice, lentils, quinoa, and polenta; loose tea; coffee; dried peppers and mushrooms; dried fruits; vanilla beans; and more.
The grocery section includes an interesting mix of the practical (cereal, pasta, dog food) and the gourmet (wine jelly, Taza and Vao Vao chocolate), plus a large selection of baking items, many of them gluten free.
We were happy to see a number of local products on the shelves, including Appledore salsa, Pemberton salsa, Lark cookies, and Effie’s oatcakes. Fresh loaves are available from A&J King and Nashoba Brook. Not food but quite local is a collection of Plum Island soaps and body butters.
The fresh pastries in the case next to the register are also local; some are from Nashoba Brook and the rest from Dough Raise Me in Amesbury. We sampled an individual pumpkin cheesecake, a berry berry tart, an apple tart (needed more flavor), and the ginger chocolate cookie. The cookie might have been the best of the bunch, with the almond-y tart taking a close second.
Ordinarily, we’d wish Driscoll good luck on her new spot, open for only two weeks, but we really don’t think she’s going to need it. We’re thrilled to see this well-thought out market join the ranks of the many businesses helping make the revitalized downtown Salem such a great place to shop.
Milk & Honey
32 Church Street, Salem