To Market, to Market…

Posted: June 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Marblehead Farmer's Market, Marketplace, Newburyport Farmer's Market, News, Salem Farmer's Market, Swampscott Farmer's market | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

For many foodies, the start of summer had nothing to do with the calendar or the weather—it’s all about the farmers markets. Personally, we are chomping at the bit. Apparently so are the folks in Newburyport, who had their farmers market opening day May 6th.  Marblehead jumps on the bandwagon this Saturday, June 9 (Veteran’s School, 217 Pleasant St., 9:00 to 12:00), followed by Salem on June 14, along with many others in late June and early July. Salem is held at Derby Square on Front St., Thursdays from 3:00 to 7:00, and Newburyport is at The Tannery Marketplace on Sundays from 9:00 to 1:00.

Many folks are excited that Swampscott is getting its own market this year, starting on June 10. It will be open Sundays through October from 10:00 to 1:00 at the high school. Clark Farm will anchor the market with a large variety of produce; John Crow Farms, Maitland Mountain Farms (known for their pickles and flowers), Fille de Ferme (homemade jams and jellies), Cherry Street Fish Market, and Big Sky Breads round out the initial group of vendors.

If you aren’t familiar with John Getting’s terrific resource North Shore Locavore, you should click on through and check it out. Not only does John keep a full list of farmers markets, he  continually updates with great information on farms stands, CSAs and local foods all over the North Shore.

Please let us know about your favorite market or vendor in the comments or by email. We’ll be visiting markets all over the North Shore this summer and posting about our finds.


For Savory Sandwiches and Craft Beer, Stop into Swampscott’s Cup n Board

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cup n Board, Marketplace, Swampscott | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Since opening last October, The Cup n Board, a new specialty foods market in Swampscott, has been steadily gaining Internet buzz, a new favorite of food and wine bloggers and craft beer devotees.

Located on Burill Street, directly across from the commuter rail station in the former Fiory’s Market space, the spot is both convenient and awkward. Those unfamiliar with the area may find it difficult to navigate, but there is plenty of street parking on the adjacent block, and it’s perfect for commuters.

A small wonderland of local, organic, and fair-trade items, Cup n Board is worth stepping into just to peruse the shelves. Many local favorites are in evidence, along with beautiful baked goods supplied by Christopher’s Café in Lynn, a nice selection of cheeses, fair trade coffee, organic teas, and gelato.

Although the market carries a respectable selection of wines, the real standout is the craft beer case. The impressive array of imported ales and craft brews includes local favorites like Clown Shoes, Cody, and Notch Sessions as well as Pretty Things, Blue Hills, and Mayflower. If you’re hesitant to buy a whole six pack in order to try something new, many are available as mix n’ match, so you can put together a combination to take home.

Cup n Board holds one beer and one wine tasting a month, each accompanied by small bites crafted specifically for the occasion. In July, they’ll have a Notch Session beer tasting with Chris Lohring of Salem on the 8th and an Argentinean wine tasting with Swampscott’s Michael Lancaster of Global Wines on the 22nd.

Swampscott resident Susan ‘Suki’ Ellsworth and several neighbors developed the idea of the market together, but when the others backed out of the project, she decided to continue on her own. With a background in catering and food service, a ready smile, and an upbeat manner, Ellsworth seems ready to take on the world, one fabulous sandwich at a time.

And the sandwiches are really that great. At $7.95 a pop, they are large enough to save half for later and stuffed with fresh ingredients. On our first visit we tried the Thai Chicken, which contained chicken, lettuce, carrots, onion, cilantro, spicy sauce, and peanut sauce in a lightly toasted roll. It was crunchy, savory, and delicious. We also tasted the Vietnamese: carrot slaw, cilantro, cucumbers, red onion, siracha, and soy with pork (you can substitute portobello mushroom), which had much more of a kick.

Another night we called ahead an ordered sandwiches so they were ready for pick up after stepping off the train. The Rueben was a lighter, pressed version of the classic, with turkey in lieu of corned beef, and the Mediterranean was a taste revelation. A pressed sandwich with turkey, olive spread, red onion, spinach, and feta cheese, it was tangy and unique and will definitely be making a return to our table.

Ellsworth also offers a variety of salads for $6.95 each, based on what produce is locally available.

The Cup n Board is open from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm during the week and 9:00 to 6:00 on Saturdays so commuters can grab their coffee and muffin heading in and a light dinner and libation on the way home. You can find additional information about daily specials on their Facebook page.

Cup n Board
205 Burill Street, Swampscott
(781) 595-0511


Anyone For a Cocktail?

Posted: June 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Drinks, Marketplace, Powell & Mahoney | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

We’re constantly amazed at the things we find in our own backyard. For example, did you know that frozen-cocktail wholesaler Maui Beverages is located right in Beverly? Even better, its parent company, Creative Juices, recently launched a line of all-natural cocktail mixers based on classic drinks like lemon sours, bloody marys, and margaritas.

The Powell & Mahoney line is sold all over New England in liquor stores and specialty markets for $6.59 to $7.99. It uses high-quality natural ingredients and is made in small batches for better taste and a more consistent product, according to co-owner Mark Mahoney. His partner, Brian Powell, is a former vice president of Stirrings.

We recently got a chance to chat with Mahoney, who  grew up on the North Shore and currently lives in Marblehead. He is understandably proud of the new mixer line, which he said has been very well received by retailers and consumers. “Half the battle is getting people to try it. Once they do, we have a customer,” said Mahoney, whose favorite local bar for cocktails is Beverly’s Soma.

The Powell & Mahoney line launched in 2010 with bloody mary, red sangria, lemon sour, pomegranate martini, margarita, mojito, cosmo, ginger, and hot toddy mixers. Within the next few months, the company will introduce peach bellini and low-calorie margarita mixes (the latter will be around 35 calories per ounce, not including alcohol, and made with a natural sweetener).

Mahoney gave us samples of several of the original products, plus the new peach bellini. We found the bloody mary fresh-tasting and pleasingly spicy. The ginger is a standout—perfect for making dark and stormys or perhaps a ginger martini. Those who like a sweeter drink should try the cosmo, and for the perfect brunch drink, definitely add champagne or prosecco to the bellini, which is very fruity and not overly sweet.

As our favorite summer drink is a gin rickey, we decided to experiment at home with the pomegranate and whipped up a pomegranate rickey. Fun, refreshing and far from ordinary, it’ll be the pick of the patio this summer.

Mahoney, whose favorite drinks include pina coladas and pomegranate margaritas, told us to watch for “bar chefs” continuing to create signature cocktails and tailored drinks at high-end restaurants. He also expects to see margaritas in flavors like white peach and prickly pear and a proliferation of shelf-stable, eco-friendly packaging for everything from wine to cocktail mixers.

On the North Shore, the Powell & Mahoney line can be found at Pamplemousse (Salem), Haley’s (Marblehead), Henry’s, Depot Liquors, and Cosgroves (Beverly), Harrigan’s (Hamilton), Ipswich Bottle (Ipswich), Leary’s Fine Wines (Newburyport), and Kappy’s and Route 114 Liquors (Peabody).

Powell and Mahoney Ltd.


Topsfield’s Main Street Market Features Local Favorites

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Main Street Market, Marketplace, Topsfield | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

For a while, Main Street Market in Topsfield had residents wondering if it would ever open, but it finally opened its doors last October, and we think it was worth the wait.

Owner Terry Lee Carabillo closed the previous incarnation, New Meadows Market, in the fall of 2008 to develop the property and construct a new building for the market. The process took much longer than anticipated due to construction frustrations and setbacks, but that’s now ancient history.

Main Street Market has an welcoming layout reminiscent of an old-fashioned general store, piled high with fresh local goods that read like a list of Dish favorites; milk and ice cream from Richardson’s Dairy, bread from A&J King, Taza chocolate, cookies from Lark Fine Foods, Grillo’s Pickles, Boxford Bakehouse granola, and Topsfield’s own Valley View goat cheese. Select meats, including grass-fed beef, and produce are also on hand in the cold cases.

Toward the back is a counter that offers fresh brewed coffee drinks and teas, salads, and sandwiches made to order from 11:00 to 3:00 daily and ice cream by the scoop. Cookies, muffins, and other house made treats are available as well.

Adjacent to the counter are beautiful stainless vats containing Ariston Select olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can fill your own stoppered glass bottles and return for refills, which lightens the load on both your wallet and your recycling bin.

The market also offers a terrific array of wine and craft beers. Thoughtful selections in a range of prices as well as beers from local brewers such as Ipswich, Cody, and Clown Shoes fill the shelves. Next to the beer and wine, a fun aisle filled with funky gift items lends a festive feeling and rounds out the store.

With inventory like this and genuinely helpful staff, Main Street Market is the sort of place we wish was our local corner market. Their website is minimal, but they do list daily specials and keep current information on their Facebook page.

Main Street Market
17 Main Street, Topsfield
(978) 887-2005


Give Local Tastes this Holiday Season

Posted: December 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Marketplace | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

It is, as we all know, the time of year when gift-giving is on most people’s minds. Last year I did a bit of soap-box preaching about shopping locally, and that’s still my mantra.

What we need to realize is that here on the North Shore, “local” doesn’t just mean your backyard, but the surrounding towns as well. The whole North Shore is our neighborhood, so let’s forget sports rivalries and townie stereotypes and support each other.

If you were going to drive to Boston or the Burlington or North Shore malls to buy gifts, why not use that mileage to hit Rockport, Gloucester, Newburyport, Salem, or Marblehead? All have terrific downtown areas with great shops and markets. And there are many ways to support the local food community this holiday season.

The most obvious is to give friends and family gift certificates to favorite restaurants, and several places this year are offering incentives for you to do so. One of Salem’s newest eateries, Adriatic Restaurant and Bar, is offering a free $20 gift certificate with the purchase of a $100 gift certificate. Cape Ann Brewing Company has a two-way offer: from now until Christmas, every gift certificate you buy will be worth 20% more than you pay for it. On top of that, every gift certificate purchased for more than $40 and used from now until they move in to their new location will have additional $5 value.

If you’re not sure what to give someone, keep in mind that most towns sell Chamber of Commerce gift certificates that are honored at many restaurants and shops. You support town businesses, and the recipient chooses where to spend it.

If gift certificates aren’t your ideal, how about locally made food and beverages? Get out to your local bakery for tasty treats, or try cookies from Lark Fine Foods and Plum Island Cookie or Whoopies from Chococoa found at many local markets. The North Shore has an embarrassment of riches where chocolate is concerned. Stowaway Sweets, Harbor Sweets, Prides Crossing Confections, Turtle Alley, and Ye Olde Pepper Companie all offer gorgeous sweets at both their own locations and through area markets. And how about craft beer created right here on the North Shore? Pick up some Ipswich Ale, Cape Ann, Cody, and Clown Shoes for the brew fan on your list.

Someone you know an oenophile? How about a gift card to your favorite wine shop? Or pique their interest with a bottle of honey wine from Isaak’s of Salem, which just hit the shelves this month. Or perhaps a gift that keeps giving: a membership to Wine ConneXtion’s Wine Society, which includes one bottle of wine a month for a year with an information card, as well as special discounts and event invites.

Many restaurants schedule wine dinners in January and February, keep an eye out for upcoming events at your favorite and treat your sweetie to a memorable meal as a gift. If there’s a burgeoning cook in your midst, Matt O’Neill has a great class coming up at the Blue Ox on January 18, and Salem’s Mamma Licia has two sessions of Authentic Italian Cooking coming up.

Beans and mugs from Jaho or Atomic Café, those awesome hoodies from The Lobster Shanty, house-made jam from the Wenham Tea House, breakfast from Sugar Mag’s delivered to someone’s door…the list is endless. What are some of the great local food-related gifts you like to give? Feel free to chime in with comments.

Shop local, eat well, and, above all, have a terrific holiday season!


Summer in a Bottle

Posted: September 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ellie's Going Green, Marblehead, Marblehead Farmer's Market, Marketplace, Salem Farmer's Market | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

One of the things we miss most about summer is fresh basil from the garden. Yes, we made pesto and put it in the freezer in anticipation of the January blues, but we wish we could somehow bottle that wonderful flavor. And that’s exactly what four enterprising women did just over a year ago, creating Ellie’s Basil Vinaigrette.

Actually, Ellie Monnin, a chef, had been making the vinaigrette for many years, but last July, she got together with Darnell Vipperman, Barbara Bane, and Heidi Jarcho to turn it into a business. All four partners are Marblehead residents, and the product is currently made in the town’s St. Andrew’s Church kitchen.

The dressing is not only delicious, it’s sugar free, cholesterol free (it’s made with extra virgin olive oil), and gluten free. It’s also highly versatile—it can be used to dip bread or artichokes, as a dressing for potato salad, or a marinade for fish, chicken, or beef. It’s also good with hot pasta, as dressing for pasta salad, and drizzled over vegetables. We had it last night over chopped tomatoes and cubed fresh mozzarella for an easy, extremely tasty side dish.

Thus far, the vinaigrette has only been available at the Salem and Marblehead farmer’s markets. But Monnin and her partners are looking for a commercial kitchen where they can produce larger quantities and hope to have it in local stores this winter. Once that’s accomplished, they plan to expand into other products (they mentioned cookies), so stay tuned.

Ellie’s Going Green

Photo: Darnell Vipperman (left), Barbara Bane (middle), Ellie Monnin (right), and Heidi Jarcho (missing).


Milk & Honey: A New Twist on the Urban Grocery Store

Posted: September 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Marketplace, Milk & Honey, Salem | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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
(978) 744-6639


Gloucester Goes Gourmet at Duckworth’s Market

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Deli, Duckworth's Beach Gourmet, Gloucester, Marketplace | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Need a night off from cooking? A gourmet picnic to impress a date? How about a great sandwich to take to the beach? Duckworth’s Beach Gourmet could be the answer to all these desires if you’re in the Gloucester area.

There’s a lot packed into this store’s fairly small space, owned by the folks at Duckworth’s Bistro, including wine, prepared foods, gourmet cheese and charcuterie, and gift items. Indeed, we were impressed with the store’s selection of red wines, supplemented by a cold case with white wine, champagne, Ipswich Ale, several other high-end beers, Reed’s ginger ale, and Harney & Sons bottled juices and teas.

Put a bottle of wine with a loaf of Iggy’s bread, a jar of jam, a gourmet mustard (black current dijon sounds good), some wine vinegar, or a bottle of hazelnut or truffle oil, and you’re all set for a hostess gift. If your friend has a sweet tooth, try gourmet tea accompanied by lavender or provence-flower honey, a pretty canister of flavored sugar from local purveyor Didi Davis, a bag of Lark cookies, or a box of Marich candy.

For beachgoers, Duckworth’s has hot and cold sandwiches, containers of potato salad (no mayo) and cole slaw, Deep River Snacks chips, individual desserts, and hand-made sandwich cookies with Captain Dusty’s ice cream (also available by the half-gallon).

Those looking for help with dinner will find containers of roasted tomato soup and marinara and alfredo pasta sauce, fresh uncooked pasta, house-cured salmon, and prepared foods such as flank steak, haricots vert, chickpea burgers, roasted fingerlings, and pasta salad. Hand-made pies are available most days; go early for the best selection.

The deli case is filled with a charcuterie-lover’s dream: serrano ham, prosciutto, and speck from La Quercia alongside pancetta, sopressata, and salameto from Fra’Mani. The cheese selection is extensive, ranging from chevre from Topsfield’s Valley View Farm to New England-sourced Cabot clothbound cheddar, Champlain Valley Creamery triple creme and Seal Cove chevre. Imported selections include raclette, morbier, robiola, and Delice de Borgone.

We stopped in last weekend after brunch at Sugar Mags just to see what was on offer, but we plan to return for sandwiches and treats the next time we head for Good Harbor Beach—seagulls, stay away, please.

Duckwoth’s Beach Gourmet
24 Washington Street, Gloucester
(978) 282-1414


J-Mart in Danvers: Convenient, But Not Abundant

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Asian, Danvers, J-Mart, Marketplace | Tags: , , | No Comments »

As much as we love discovering the wonderful Asian-food treasures at H-Mart, we were hoping J-Mart in Danvers could save us a trip to Burlington if we only needed a few items. But it was not to be—this is more of a convenience store with some Asian items than an Asian food market.

There is no fresh produce in the store, and the freezer shelves were not laden with goodies. We did see frozen round wonton wrappers for making dumplings and some packages of steam buns. On the non-perishable shelves, we were pleased to see rice stick, nori, unsweetened coconut, wasabi paste, and shrimp paste. The rest of the small store consists mainly of cookware, Asian candy, and coolers with ice cream treats.

There were some issues when the store first opened with it being closed during business hours that have now hopefully been resolved. When I visited last week, the gentleman at the register assured me the store is open from 10:00 to 8:30 Monday through Saturday and closed all day Sunday. The store does not have a Web site; it has a Facebook page, but it’s not exactly filled with information.

120-A Water St (Rt 35), Danvers
(978) 767-9229


Summer Bounty, Coming Up!

Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Gloucester, Ipswich, Lynn, Marblehead, Marblehead Farmer's Market, Marketplace, Newburyport, Newburyport Farmer's Market, Peabody, Revere, Rowley, Salem, Salem Farmer's Market | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Sure, this gorgeous spring has been wonderful for walking and biking, enjoying the flowers, and getting a head start on our tans. But let’s face it: the best thing about the recent weather is the bounty we’ll soon find at the various North Shore farmers markets. To that end, we’ve got a list of the markets, their opening dates, their locations, and their hours, plus links to our FM posts from last year. Enjoy!

Revere Beach, Thursdays 12:00-6:00
Revere Beach by the William G. Reinstein Bandstand
Opening day: July 23

Lynn, Thursdays 11:00-3:00
Union St and Exchange St
Opening day: July 2

Marblehead, Saturdays 9:00-12:00
28 Vine St, behind Veteran’s Middle School
Opening day: June 12
Summer At Last: Marblehead Farmer’s Market

Salem, Thursdays 4:00-7:00
32 Derby Square
Opening day: June 17
Greens Galore at Salem Farmer’s Market

Beverly, Mondays 3:30-6:45
Veteran’s Park, Rantoul St and Railroad Ave
Opening day: June 28

Peabody, Tuesdays 1:00-6:00
Central St and Railroad Ave
Opening day: July 1

Gloucester / Cape Ann, Thursdays 3:00-6:30
Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center
Opening day: June 24

Rowley, Sundays 8:00-1:00
Rowley Town Common, Rte 1A
Opening day: July 11

Saugus / Cliftondale, Tuesdays 10:00 – 3:00
Cliftondale Square off Rte. 1 at Jackson Street
Opening day: July 6

Ipswich, Saturdays 9:00-1:00
Ebsco Parking Lot on Estie’s Street
Opening day: July 10

Topsfield, Saturdays 7:00-12:00
207 Boston St, Topsfield Fairgrounds
Opening day: July 10

Newburyport, Sundays 9:00-1:00
The Tannery Marketplace, 50 Water Street
Opening day: May 2
Eating Our Way Through the Newburyport Farmers Market