Bringing the Corner Deli Back to Danvers Square

Posted: November 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Danvers, Danvers Fresh Marketplace, Deli, Marketplace | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

When you hear the phrase “corner deli,” you might think nostalgically of the days before computers and cell phones. But the truth is, this type of establishment has more relevance than ever for today’s busy shoppers.

Late last year, John Gross opened Danvers Fresh Marketplace one block from the center of Danvers Square, bringing produce from his Chelsea-market business and adding a selection of bakery, deli, and gourmet products.

The produce is the star in this relatively small space—carefully laid out groupings of vegetables and seasonal fruits, nothing past its prime or bruised. A table near the door holds specialty items; on a recent visit, there were last-of-the-season berries, persimmons, figs, and concord grapes. Nearby was a large table of good-looking sugar pumpkins for $.75 each. (Weekly sale items are listed on the store’s Web site.)

Also by the door is a small deli counter with a huge selection of Boar’s Head meats plus cranberry walnut chicken salad, bean salad, ham salad, dips, and cut fruit. Sandwiches are made to order, and deli platters are available. In front of the case is a selection of half loaves from West Concord-based Nashoba Brook Bakery.

In the back corner is an immaculate salad bar featuring the usual suspects along with less common items like grilled chicken, ham, artichokes, feta cheese, banana peppers, and sunflower seeds. Nearby are kettles of soup from Chelsea-based Kettle Cuisine ($2.69 small, $6.99 large). Manager Andrea Harry suggests coming early if you want soup—lunchtimes are busy, and many selections sell out.

Whether you stop in for lunch or a produce run, you may want to seek out a few of the store’s other treats. In the dairy case are small containers of Rachel’s yogurt, which come in exotic flavors and are creamier than other low-fat yogurts. Near the soup kettles are bottles of Il Moretto olive oil from Sicily and small jars of Christopher Ranch garlic, ginger, shallots, and pesto. Last but not least, tea breads from The New Salem Tea Bread Company in Amherst are near the register. We tried the apple cinnamon—not inexpensive at $5, but hard to distinguish from homemade.

Although it would be great to see a few more local products in the store, we give John Gross and his team high marks for bringing back the corner deli—and making it better than ever.

Danvers Fresh Marketplace
17 Elm St, Danvers
(978) 774-2756
www.danversfreshmarketplace.com

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Eating Our Way Through the Newburyport Farmers Market

Posted: September 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Marketplace, Newburyport, Newburyport Farmer's Market | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

We had a great time last Sunday at the Newburyport farmer’s market—with 27 vendors and a jazz band, the place was hopping. Along with the bountiful vegetables, there were baked goods to sample, all-natural sausages cooking, and crafts galore.

Our pick for best farm stand was Middle Earth, which had a beautiful display of onions, turnips, tomatillos, and watermelon. Watermelon was also present at the Heron Pond Farm stand, which had great looking eggplant and a trailer full of corn picked that morning ($.60 an ear).
 
Other produce of note included gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from Arrowhead Farm and regular and golden raspberries ($4 for a ½ pint) from Applecrest Farm Orchard, which also had delicious cider donuts ($.75).

The aforementioned baked goods were from Blue Egg Baking Co., which had cookies and scones for sale, along with whole grain cake and brownie mixes that are formulated to be made with vegetables like beets or zucchini. We tried a small square of each, and they definitely do not taste like they’re good for you.

The sausages were from Kellie Brook Farm in New Hampshire, where they raise all-natural veal, port, chicken, turkey, and beef. There were chicken pot pies for sale ($15), quarts of chicken chili ($12), and ½ pints of chicken liver pate ($5).

For those still looking to munch, there were samples from Me and Goji, a design-your-own-cereal-or-granola company as well as smoothies, wraps, and chai from White Heron Tea.

If you live in the area or feel like taking a Sunday drive, we highly recommend stopping into the market, which is held at the Tannery Marketplace (about four blocks from the main square).

If you’re there on September 20, you’re in for a treat: Toyota’s Farm to Table tour is sponsoring a special event featuring nine local chefs paired with farms to showcase local offerings. There will be a chance to win a culinary prize and free rides in a Prius or Highland Hybrid.

The market runs through October 25th, and founding director Shari Wilkinson says she’s looking at ways to continue it into the winter months.

We’d like to give a big shout-out to Kim Gobbi of Newburyport Today, who met us at the market, talked with us about the local food scene, and introduced us to some terrific people and places. Definitely check out her site if you’re headed up that way, and if you’re not, take a look at the What’s For Dinner? section of Newburyport Today, featuring delicious recipes using local products.

Newburyport Farmer’s Market
Tannery Marketplace, Newburyport
thenewburyportfarmersmarket.org

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Henry’s of Beverly: A Food Lovers’ Paradise, Now With Wine

Posted: July 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Henry's Fine Foods, Marketplace | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

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A few months after Kristen moved back to our home town, she called me. Instead of “hello,” she demanded, “Why didn’t you tell me about Henry’s?” She was right—I had neglected to tell her about one of the richest food resources on the North Shore. My bad.

For those who’ve been, you know about this market’s amazing array of products and fantastic service (did you know you can phone in your order and have it delivered by a retired policeman?). Now there’s even more to enjoy because last month, Henry’s owner, John Keohane, took over the adjacent space previously occupied by a bank and turned it into a lovely wine store. And if you’ve never been to Henry’s, you’re in for a real treat.

With its combination of groceries, produce, butcher shop, prepared food, and top-notch bakery, Henry’s is unique to the North Shore, offering great ingredients for when you’re in the mood to cook and hand-made prepared foods for when you’re not. Add a little New England-style hospitality (and young men to help you to the car with your groceries), and you begin to get the idea.

Henry’s is our go-to resource for hard-to-find items like pink peppercorns from Morton and Bassett spices, oatcakes from Effie’s, sauces and jams from Stonewall Kitchen (a huge selection), and gluten-free items including mixes from The Really Great Food Company. They even have lingonberries for your Swedish-themed dinner and LU’s Petit Ecoliers in white chocolate.

Then there are the made-to-order sandwiches, soups, quiches, lasagna, pot pies, and chicken salad. Sure, there’s also ham salad, egg salad, and seafood salad, but it’s the paté-like chicken salad people crave for their summer picnics. (900 pounds of chicken are cooked every day at the market to be made into chicken salad and chicken pot pies.)

Other stand-outs include dairy products like Better Than Bakery infused butters, uncured applewood smoked bacon, and Boars Head diced pancetta; store-made bottled sauces including buffalo wing, citrus grilling, and merlot wine steak sauce; a fresh fruit bar; and cheese that runs the gamut from camembert to chevre, halloumi, and cotswold.

The produce section not only carries seven types of apples and three types of pears in summer (along with rainier cherries and lush apricots), it has dried fruits like goji berries and cherries, fresh Indian simmer sauces, tubs of Henry’s fresh salad dressings, and house-made salads alongside microwavable hot entrees and sides. Right around the corner is our favorite guilty pleasure: individual pies from The Pie Guy. Yes, there are whole pies, too.

Those pies are only the beginning of when it comes to sweets at Henry’s, where the bakers come in at 1:00 every morning to make bread, rolls (dinner, hot dog, and hamburger), cakes, tarts, pies, old fashioned pastries like crullers and fruit squares, cookies, and brownies. Our personal favorite is the pastry case, where you can get individual servings of plain or turtle cheesecake, carrot cake, key lime tart, fruit tarts, and molten lava cake.

In the meat department, you can choose from three types of beef: traditional, Meyer angus, and Brant (aged for flavor and tenderness). Or go with a gourmet burger or slider, fresh-made kabobs or sausages, or one of the small roasts perfect for a special occasion. In a nearby case are Bell & Evans chicken, beef, and pork carefully trimmed and marinated using best-quality ingredients.

We love that Henry’s carries an abundance of local products, including Maria’s Gourmet Pasta (Malden) Sauces ’N Love pasta sauces (Lynn), Harbor Sweets (Salem), Ye Olde Pepper Company candies (Salem) Giovanna gelato (Boston), Shains of Maine ice cream, and Good Wives hors d’oeuvres (Wilmington).

We also love that the new wine store offers selections from very-affordable to let’s-splurge; a range of specialty beers from Belgium; and carries cheeses, dips, and frozen take-and-bake appetizers. To top it off, the store holds wine tastings Thursdays from 4:00 to 7:00 and Saturdays from 2:00 to 5:00. Sign up for the e-mail newsletter to learn what wines are being featured (sign-up is in the store).

Keohane started as kitchen manager 25 years ago and bought the business from its founder, Henry Swanson, five years ago. Today, he’s in the store virtually every day making sure the quality and service Henry’s is famous for never wavers. Of course, many of Henry’s 190 employees have worked in the store their entire adult lives. So don’t hesitate to ask questions of employees you see in the aisles or behind the counter—you’re sure to get a warm reception and good food advice.

Henry’s
588 Cabot St, Beverly
(978) 922-3885
www.henrysofbeverly.com

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Greens Galore at Salem Farmer’s Market

Posted: July 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Marketplace, Salem, Salem Farmer's Market | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

There are a lot of things to like at the Salem Farmer’s Market. The gorgeous produce, of course, but also bonuses like organic European-style bread and pastries, lobsters from A&J Lobster, goodies from Nana’s Kitchen, ready-to-eat seafood from Rowand’s Fisheries, and live music.

First, the produce. Our pick of farm stands is Green Meadows, which had a gorgeous display of all-organic vegetables including spherical zucchini and multi-colored chard. We also noted raw wildflower honey from Tomten Beeworks in Ipswich and adorable beeswax candles. The beets at Green Meadows were larger and better looking than the ones selling at another stand for the same price.

Along with the abundant greens at stands like Long Hill Orchard and Clark Farm, we spotted new potatoes and bright-pink radishes.

At the top of the courtyard, we were happy to find the much-smaller First Light Farm stand, which featured zucchini blossoms, organic eggs, and a selection of Valley View Farm goat cheeses.

One last note on produce: we were there at 5:30 and saw several signs for raspberries, but no actual berries. If you want fruit, get to the market nearer to its 4:00 opening.

We had never heard of The Swiss Baker, but we were drawn to Armand Bryl’s bright yellow truck and astounded by the breads and pastries for sale. Bryl, originally from Zurich,  bakes once a week from his truck, just before market day.

His products are pure European delight, and they are only available at the Salem market (and occasionally Lowell). The breads are 100% organic—we sampled the chewy, complex, and highly addictive multigrain—and the pastries are nearly so. (Organic butter would make them too expensive, Bryl said.)

There was a great selection of fresh fish at the Rowand’s booth, including pieces of maple BBQ salmon for $8 and fish kebobs with a mix of salmon, tuna, swordfish, and halibut, also $8. Patrons looking for something to munch on immediately were buying lobster rolls ($10) and Maryland ($2) or natural ($3) crab cakes.

The baked goods at the Nana’s Kitchen stand were almost sold out, and we could see why. The large brownies ($3) and double chocolate cookies ($1) looked terrific. These treats are sold mainly through retail outlets like Shubie’s in Marblehead.

One last thing to like about the Salem Market: it’s right up the street from Artist Row where you can shop for lovely crafts, use the public restrooms, and have a refreshing cocktail at one of The Lobster Shanty’s outdoor tables.

www.salemfarmersmarket.org
Thursdays 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Derby Square, Front St

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North Shore Farmer’s Markets

Posted: June 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Marketplace, North Shore Farmers Markets | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments »

For your produce perusing pleasure, here’s a round-up of times and locations for nearby farmer’s markets. These are up and running unless otherwise noted. Please let us know of any we’ve missed and feel free to recommend your favorite vendors in the comments.

Gloucester
www.capeannfarmersmarket.org/
Thursdays 1:00 to 7:00
Harbor Loop of Roger Street, Rte 127
(Begins July 9)

Ipswich
Saturdays 9:00 to 1:00
Ebsco Parking Lot on Estie’s Street
(Begins July 11)

Lynn
Thursdays 11:00 to 3:00
Exchange and Washington Streets, Central Square
(Begins July 2)

Peabody
Tuesdays 1:00 to 6:00
Railroad Ave., behind courthouse
(Begins in July)

Topsfield
Saturdays 7:00 to noon
Topsfield Fair Grounds, Rte 1
(Begins July 11)

Newburyport
www.thenewburyportfarmersmarket.org
Sundays 10:00 to 2:00
Parking lot of the Tannery Market Place

Our highlights of the Newburyport market are here

Marblehead
www.marbleheadfm.com
Saturdays 9:00 to 12:00
Marblehead Veterans Middle School
217 Pleasant St (enter from Vine St)

Our highlights of the Marblehead market are here

Salem
www.salemfarmersmarket.org
Thursdays 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Derby Square, Front St

Our highlights of the Salem market are here

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Summer At Last: Marblehead Farmer’s Market

Posted: June 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Marblehead, Marblehead Farmer's Market, Marketplace | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

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Saturday was opening day for the Marblehead Farmer’s market, and we were thrilled to see a good turnout, especially since produce is not exactly abundant at this time of year. Fortunately, the Marblehead market has plenty to see and buy other than produce, including Thai food from Sticky Rice, baked goods from A&J King (almost sold out at 11:00, so go early), meat from Stillman’s Farmssalsa from Pam, lobsters courtesy of our favorite lobsterman, Paul Crowell, and interesting craft and community vendors as well.

The Marblehead market is located behind the Veteran’s Middle School (the old high school for us old-timers). It runs from 9:00 to 12:00 every Saturday, and there is plenty of parking.

There were lovely looking strawberries, of course, along with herbs, fresh eggs, honey, lettuce, and flowers. Having just been to the grocery store on Friday, we kept our purchases to a head of butter lettuce from Cider Hill Farm and a log of goat cheese from Crystal Brook Farm. The lettuce was fine but more bitter than we’re used to (not sure if this is due to the variety or the time of year); the cheese was wonderfully creamy and tangy.

Throughout the summer, we’ll be visiting many North Shore markets and reporting on our food finds. If you frequent your local market, please let us know of stands or edibles you recommend by leaving information in the comments or e-mailing us at email@northshoredish.com.

For more information on the Marblehead market and a complete list of vendors, go here.

And don’t forget your sun hat!

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