Posts Tagged ‘Rockport Farmers’ Market’

Buried Baked Beans, Homemade Sausage, Gino’s Fishcakes, and Rockport Festivals.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

buried beans

 Last Friday night Tim Sullivan dug a large hole in his back yard. He backed a truckload full of lumber and firewood up to the hole, unloaded the wood into it, and threw in a match. A good, hot fire began spitting flames.     beans and hole


hot coals

beans ready to cook

just out of the ground

  Sullivan, the burly bearded bagpiper and maple syrup purveyor at the Rockport Farmers’ Market, then stirred together soaked kidney beans, maple syrup, onions and a few mystery ingredients in a large black caldron. He placed the lid on the pot, and set it down into the hole of now inferno-worthy embers. Grave-digger style, he shoveled the dirt back on top of all, burying the pot of beans within the glowing coals. Then he turned back into his house, had dinner, and went to bed.

That same Friday, I pulled out the best cod cake recipe I know, from Gloucester’s Gino Mondello at the Dory Shop. I made a bechamel, which mixes gently into a bowl of freshly steamed cod and potatoes. I tossed in an egg, and a few stray ingredients, mixed all, covered the bowl, and refrigerated it. Then I went to bed.

Early Saturday morning, Sullivan shoveled the soil off his sweet, bubbling, ruby-colored beans; I patted my mixture into fishcakes, rolled them in breadcrumbs and fried them in a pan shining with a shallow layer of hot olive oil. All this while, Mike Ciaramitaro was mixing together his Trupiano’s sausage, like he does every week for Saturday’s Rockport Farmers’ Market.

This – the steaming brew of smokey beans, the tender fish cakes and the grilled savory chunks of Trupiano’s sausage – we served for a very special breakfast at the Rockport Farmers’ Market last Saturday.

Beans and Cakes Sign



  Admit it, you’re sorry you missed it, right? Besides lumber camps in Maine, and maybe some history-serious boyscouts, nowhere in the world are people still making baked beans this way. Homemade sausage is the only kind to ever have. Gino Mondello will serve you fishcakes browned in a big copper pan on his woodstove, but you better know when he’s making them.

Proceeds from the breakfast went to benefit The Rockport Farmers’ Market. This is the kind of quirky event we do at Rockport Festivals, the group that manages the Rockport Farmers’ Market – events that blend old and new, always with a nod to the granite, ocean and history that is Cape Ann. Thanks to Tim Sullivan and Mike Ciaramitaro for donating their time and deliciousness.  – and thanks to Tim Sullivan for most of these photos.

Tim Sullivan

Farmer’s Market Season Begins!

Monday, June 9th, 2014

The (outdoors) Cape Ann Farmer’s Market begins this Thursday, June 12

When:  Thursday afternoons from 3:00 – 6:30

Location:  Stage Fort Park


Rockport Farmer’s Market begins Saturday, June 21st 

When:  Saturday mornings 9:00 – 1:00

Location:  in Harvey Park right in downtown Rockport.  Harvey Park is the little park surrounded by hedges across from The Red Skiff restaurant.


Essex Farmer’s Market begins Saturday June 21st.

When:  Saturday mornings 9:00 – 12:00

Location:  Shepard Memorial Park, 24 Martin St., Essex, MA



Rockport’s HarvestFest, Saturday October 19th

Monday, October 14th, 2013


HarvestFest, brought to you by Rockport Festivals, the same people who synchronize Motif No. 1 Day and the Rockport Farmers’ Market, is back under the big, white Local Fare Food Tent on T-Wharf.  Celebrating the diverse local food culture in our little corner of the world, Rockport’s HarvestFest will offer local specialties from Sasquatch Smoked Fish to Top Dog Hotdogs to Fish Shack Bread to Harbor Sweets Chocolates.  If you’re over twenty-one you can enjoy a large cup of locally brewed Mercury Beer with that fish taco from The Happy Taco, or raw oysters from the Shuckin’ Truck.  If you’re younger, or not a beer drinker, Rockport’s iconic Twin Lights Soda will be serving sodas from the old delivery truck which once delivered Twin Lights Soda door to door.  The full line-up of vendors is here; for more go to the Rockport Festivals website.


The cooking entertainment begins at 11:00 a.m. with Paolo Laboa of Prides Osteria, who will be demonstrating how to make his world-famous pesto.  For those who haven’t heard the story yet, Laboa won the “World’s Best Pesto” competition in his native city of Genoa, Italy.  He worked at Farina in San Francisco, making his ethereal pasta until moving with his wife, Mercedes Flavin, to Cape Ann.  Laboa now creates Ligurian specialties at Prides Osteria on Rantoul St. in Beverly.

At HarvestFest, Laboa, with mortar and pestle, will demonstrate the secret of his creamy pesto.  He will also be showing the crowd how to make Foccacia di Recco, a thin, delicate Ligurian pizza weeping with warm melted cheese.  Pride’s Osteria will have a table in the tent selling bowls of warm, wild boar ragu over creamy polenta.

At 1:00, Laurie Lufkin, host of the local access cooking show “Inspired Cooking,” and one of our favorite local cooks, will be addressing a subject that haunts the giver of dinner parties: easy appetizer ideas.

The Seafood Throwdown, the centerpiece of the Local Food Fare, begins at 2:30.  The seafood is kept a surprise until the last minute, but local fisherman Paul Theriault, of the fishing vessel The Terminator in Pigeon Cove, will be cooking against Addison Gilbert chef Dave Gauvin, each sauteeing, grilling, searing or poaching their hearts away, hoping to create the prettiest, most delicious, best use of the entire fish dish for the judges, our hardworking Rockport Selectwomen and men.  While the chefs work, Steve Parks, facilities and waterfront manager at Maritime Gloucester, will demonstrate what we all need to know living on Cape Ann:  how to fillet a fish.

It’s not called HarvestFest for nothing; two local farms, First Light Farm of Hamilton and Moraine Farm of Beverly will be there with the best of their harvest, so bring your farmers’ market shopping bag, too.

Children can put on their favorite costume – or not – and chase the  scarecrow down Bear Skin Neck.  For pet owners who need an excuse to dress their dog up in a silly sweater, The Doggy Parade, sponsored by Cape Ann Animal Aid, begins at 11:30 in Harvey Park.  Prizes will be awarded!

There is music around town all day:  Old Cold Tater will be under the tent at 12:00, then  The Sturdy Oaks, a Rockport Festivals’ favorite, will start picking.  Sasquatch’s Bluegrass Band (no, he doesn’t just smoke fish; he’s a musician, too.) will be in Dock Square  at 11:00.   There’s much more, including polka music on Bear Skin Neck!  Bearskin Neck Leathers, the legendary shop on Old Harbor Road, is sponsoring the special appearance of equally legendary The Buddy Walker Band, a classic Polish polka band founded nearly 65 years ago.

The Contra Dancing begins at 2:30 in Dock Square; when was the last time you danced in Dock Square?

The best of local food and music, HarvestFest is changing the way we live in Rockport, and the way visitors visit in Rockport.  So lift a glass of locally brewed beer, and kick up your Contra Dance heels; Rockport celebrates autumn with old fashion fun in its own style.  Speaking of style, every year graphic artist Darren Mason creates a HarvestFest poster that reflects the best of the day.  That’s the one in the picture.  Join the wonderful, delicious local fun, and start your poster collection this year!



The Food Less Traveled – an update

Friday, July 5th, 2013


Buddy doesn’t care about fresh lettuces, garlic scapes, swiss chard, kale, spring turnips, fresh radishes, and kohlrabi, but he comes every Saturday morning  to the Rockport Farmers’ Market with his pal, Mike Raymond from First Light Farms.   Mike unloads a truck-full of locally grown (Hamilton) produce in a flurry, usually just as the market is opening at 9:00, while Buddy goes back to napping.  Mike’s a little late because he’s often harvesting and loading up his truck by himself in Hamilton, and he wants to pack as much in as he can.   Along with Buddy, it’s a friendly farm stand.  One of my daughters is often there to help Mike sell.


And now we have Apple St. Farms produce, too!




When your own cherry tomato crop overwhelms the  deck, bring your overflow to The Rockport Farmers’ Market.  We’ve got a “Homegrowers’ Wheelbarrow,” dedicated to local people with just a few of their own garden crops to share.


Local grower Marvin Roberts has been with us with his – whoosh!  There it goes! – Well, Marvin WAS selling his rhubarb, but it sold out before the bucket touched ground.  Marvin has a wonderful garden.  If the birds don’t get them first, he may bring raspberries and peaches, but we’re not promising.  Marvin’s had a beautiful selection of herbs and onions recently, but each week will be different.  You have to come check out the Wheelbarrow to see what Marvin – or anyone else – may have.


Last week at our “Ask The Expert” table, Mary White was answering questions.  The first week Marvin talked about perennial vegetables; this week he’ll be there answering questions, and probably giving a short talk.  I believe Jerusalem Artichokes (a native species!) are part of the syllabus.


Of course, we also have Pride’s Osteria with us.  Pride’s makes the pesto that won the World’s Best competition in Genoa, Italy.  But they’ve also been preparing homemade foccacia, which is for sale by itself, or you could take away a fresh foccacia, buffala mozzarella and heirloom tomato lunch, one of the most delicious meals I personally have had in ages.  This sandwich is perfection.  When Mercedes ran out of tomato, she substituted paper-thin slices of Mike Raymond’s spring turnip.  Perfection improved.

The best smoked fish ever is with us, too – Sasquatch Smoked Fish – along with Seaview Farms grass-fed beef, fresh eggs, and honey.  And more.  Brothers’ Brew coffee, homemade donuts, Anadama Bread.  And more.  Each week will be a little different, but we’ll never be too big, and we’ll always be dedicated to the best most local food around.



Here’s The Official Rockport Farmers’ Market menu; post it on your refrigerator; plan serving a variation of it every Saturday night from June 22 – September 7th.  While you’re there, add foccacia to your Saturday afternoon lunch.


Sasquatch smoked mussels served with toasted Fish Shack Bread croutons and salted First Light Farms spring turnips

Pride’s Osteria fresh fettucini and pesto

Seaview Farm Rib Eye Steaks

Brothers’ Brew Homemade Bread

First Light Farm salad of spring greens and herbs

Homemade Crostada from Mercedes Flavin 


The Rockport Farmers’ Market, “The Food Less Traveled,”

Located Saturday mornings, Harvey Park in downtown Rockport, 9:00 – 1:00

You can watch Paolo Laboa making his winning pesto on this video:

“The Food Less Traveled”

Friday, June 14th, 2013


We’re hoping farmers’ markets will mean a big cultural and gastronomic shift for Cape Ann.

In addition to the grand, festive Cape Ann Farmers’ Market on Thursday afternoons in Gloucester (3:00 – 6:30 at Stage Fort Park) both Rockport and Essex will be hosting Saturday morning farmers’ markets.

The Essex Market, featuring Frank McClelland’s Apple Street Farms and Aster B Flowers, will set up in the Ebb & Flow Interiors parking lot, 166 Eastern Avenue (rt. 133) on Saturday mornings.  “We’re small but mighty,” organizer Alison Taylor says.

The Rockport Farmers’ Market, “The Food Less Traveled,” will be a similar, small gem of a market.

Located in Harvey Park in downtown Rockport, the market should be the first ingredient to a recipe for a perfect summer Saturday.

Walk, ride your bike, drive if you must.  (It’s street parking, but park on a little side street and enjoy the local gardens you’ll pass on your walk to Harvey Park.)  Before you start shopping get a cup of Brothers Brew coffee, perhaps even a cappucino, a homemade donut or cannele, find a bench and enjoy seeing the kids racing off to their sailing lessons, the boats bobbing in the harbor,  Motif #1 still in shadow from the early morning light.

From your place on the bench you can eye First Light Farm’s produce, and begin planning your evening menu.

Your appetizer will be Sasquatch Smoked Fish.  Gloucester resident Paul Cohan chooses the plumpest mussels, the pinkest salmon, and smokes all the products himself.  This is the best smoked fish you will taste; nothing from a Zabar’s or Dean & DeLuca counter can compare to the sweetness and richness of this glorious Cape Ann product.

After your appetizer you will brag to your friends that you are serving the “Best Pesto in the World.”  Paolo Laboa, chef at Pride’s Osteria, won the Best Pesto in the World Competition in Genoa, Italy, Laboa’s hometown, and the city where pesto is king.  You can watch Laboa making his winning pesto on this video:

Laboa’s pesto will be featured on the cover of La Cucina Italiana in August.  Along with his silky fresh pasta, you will be able to purchase his pesto at our little Rockport Market.  Laboa lives in Rockport, and his wife, Mercedes Flavin, also a wonderful cook and baker, will have pies, cakes and breads on their table, too.

For your entree, you will be pick up Rockport-raised, grass-fed beef from Seaview Farms.  Seven generations of Lanes have run this farm since 1838; Ken Lane is continuing the tradition with his beef, and vegetable garden.  He has his own charming market at Seaview Farm, but the Rockport Farmers’ Market wouldn’t be right without a Lane presence.

Every week farmer Mike Raymond from First Light Farms will have a bounty.  This first week Raymond expects spring lettuces, kale, collards, small spring salad turnips, garlic scapes, herbs and more.

Pick up a loaf of Fish Shack Bread, a pie from Mercedes Flavin, and your dinner is complete.

At 11:00 every Saturday the Rockport Farmers Market will also host a short “Garden Talk” by a local expert.  The first week Marvin Roberts, who holds a Ph.D. in botany, will talk about Perennial Vegetable gardens.  Gardener Mary White will speak the following week.

(Read more about Roberts and see photos of his own garden here:

Finish your coffee, wipe the crumbs off your lap, pick up your dinner ingredients, stroll for a bit, visit with friends.  Isn’t that how shopping should be?  Beautiful local ingredients you won’t find everywhere else in the world, picked up in your town’s center, mixed in with a little socializing?

And then you go sailing, and forget everything until dinner time.

Here’s The Official Rockport Farmers’ Market menu; post it on your refrigerator; plan serving a variation of it every Saturday night from June 22 – September 7th.



Sasquatch smoked mussels served with toasted Fish Shack Bread croutons and salted First Light Farms spring turnips

Pride’s Osteria fresh fettucini and pesto

Seaview Farm Rib Eye Steaks

First Light Farm salad of spring greens and herbs

Homemade Pie from Mercedes Flavin 

or perhaps 

lavender cake from Mayflour confections