by Vince Ferraiuolo
Leaves have decided to fall and the air feels just a bit crisper. You know change is coming but it hasn’t quite kicked in. Yet, you are reminded every day when it reaches five o’clock and the moon is full.
Winter is upon us.
Every Saturday November through April, Farm Fresh Rhode Island runs the largest indoor farmers market in New England: The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market. Over 80 farmers, fishers, bakers, coffee connoisseurs, other food artisans and just regular ole people congregate to enjoy a classic pastime, the simplicity of a personal marketplace.
As you walk into the Hope Artiste Village building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, you are immediately greeted with smells of rosemary plants, freshly roasted coffee, and wild oysters. Slowly it all starts to blend together with the sounds of mellow guitar and families hustling through the hallways.
What better place to start in Rhode Island than fresh seafood over ice? Matunuck Oyster Bar has been attending the Pawtucket Farmers Markets since 2004. I watched as bright faces lined up to take home the freshest scallops and oysters you can get your hands on just about anywhere. Gabe of Matunuck smiled as he described his favorite way to tell customers how fresh the seafood is. “I just love talking to people about food. When someone asks how fresh is your seafood, all I have to do is point that direction!” Matunuck Oyster Bar built its name and reputation from attending farmers markets and they don’t plan on changing their recipe for success anytime soon.
Natalie Cod is a first-timer of Hope Artiste Village. Natalie showcased an array of cheeses that are made fresh each week with top of the line ingredients. Exotic flavors such as Cranberry Walnut and Lavender & Spice sit side by side more traditional cheeses such as gruyere. Natalie and the rest of Meadow Stone Farms are proud of not only what’s in their cheese but what’s excluded in the process as well. “You can taste what’s not in it”, said Cod with a smile.
Frank Martinelli is a veteran of the Hope Artiste Village Farmers Markets. Since 2011, Martinelli has sold a delicious array of meats headlined by mouth watering boar & charcuterie. Martinelli runs a calf to cow operation. His animals are born on the farm, raised on the farm and then leave the farm. No funny businesses. Whether it’s wild boar salami or fresh Italian sausage, it’s just about impossible to leave PV Farm Stand without your arms filled if you are a meat lover.
Brian and Lori Halloran of Johnston recently started an innovative new company – Butter Cuisine LLC. While compound and finishing butters can add drastic flavor to a dish, not everyone has the time or expertise to craft tasty finishers such as truffle butter or chilli lime coconut butter. Brian spent many of his earlier years in traditional, corporate kitchens. After working in three michelin star restaurants of France, upscale dining restaurants of Cape Cod and plenty more, Brian and his wife decided it was time for change. With recipes on the label and products for vegans and vegetarians, Butter Cuisine LLC is sure to put a smile on the faces of your friends and family.
The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM in Hope Artiste Village until the end of April. It’s the perfect location to grab a special gift for the holidays, enjoy a next-level coffee or just pick up a special ingredient for your upcoming meal. Better yet, each market supports the local food ecosystem – real people and real food.