Posts Tagged ‘Rockport Festivals’

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

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!