On a perfect summer afternoon, Local Pickins headed to Gloucester, Massachusetts to meet the farmers, food purveyors and artisans of The Cape Ann Farmers’ Market.There’s a lot to love at this weekly market, beginning with its location nestled on a rocky outcrop of Stage Fort Park with breathtaking views of the sea. A preview stroll of the market had us creating our dinner menus for the next few days – we found everything we needed for a few delicious, locally sourced meals that would cover the variety of fresh, seasonal flavors offered. Here’s a sample of our favorite pickins!
Fresh pasta in a rainbow of flavors drew us to Valicenti Organico. David, the chef and owner, offers a mouthwatering menu of ravioli along with every shape and flavor of pasta you can imagine. We decided on the Asparagus & Brie Ravioli and couldn’t resist topping it off with his Red Gravy made from the farm’s own organic tomatoes. A jar of arugula pesto also made it into our bag once we heard how delicious it is as a topper to fresh grilled fish.
An old guitar case filled with garlic scapes enticed us over to Alprilla Farm’s beautiful selection of greens, golden beets, napa cabbage, baby bok choy and bright light chard, all artfully arranged and irresistible.
Our salads were complete with tomatoes from Arrowhead Farm, scallions and radishes from Mehaffey Farm, and delicious sweet carrots from First Light Farm. We also couldn’t resist the strawberries from Farmer Dave’s and chose their kousa squash, a Lebanese variety, to cook up on the grill, along with beautiful heads of broccoli from Marshall’s Farm Stand. While strolling the market, we couldn’t help but sample a grilled flatbread sandwich at Markouk Bread, made on a traditional Lebanese Saj. The flatbread alone was a satisfying savory treat and we enjoyed our sandwich paired with a refreshing lemonade from Heinselman Confections who uses the rinds to make candied lemon peels. Swiss Bakers had a beautiful display of freshly baked loaves and Classic Cooks treated us to a mini key lime pie as a sample to their larger pies sold by the slice or entire pie. If you like key lime pie, and who doesn’t, this is the one of the best we’ve ever tasted with the perfect balance of lime and a light, creamy texture.
We also happily picked up fresh flounder filets from Fresh Local Day Boat Fish caught locally and brought to the dock that morning. You can also purchase locally raised, grass-fed beef from Seaview Farm in Rockport along with their fresh cage free eggs, chickens and cuts of pork.
We loved chatting with the farmers and food purveyors who make this market a true celebration of local food, and we left with full bags excited to create delicious meals with our favorite market pickins.
Find the Cape Ann and other Northshore farmers’ markets near you on the Local Pickins App.