Posts Tagged ‘Rockport’

Rockport Local – Seaview Farm

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Seaview Farm

 

The Seaview Farm fields – tilled for seven generations by the Lane Family – ripple with turned soil behind stone-wall lined lanes right in the middle of Rockport, hidden by the clusters of homes that have risen thickly over the years. A swath of Seaview Farm pastures still cuts right through town, through the densely settled neighborhoods off South St. and Marmion Way.

The Lane

 

The beautiful geometry of farmhouse, barns and silo make a classic sequence along one side of Lane’s Farm Way as it threads off of South St. and into the northernmost Dogtown woods. The south-east facing classroom windows of the Rockport Schools look out to Seaview Farm.  Like the sign declares humbly from the wooden farm porch facing South St., Sandy Bay’s waters break about a thousand feet north, up Marmion Way. When the first Lane began farming in 1838 there was certainly a view of the sea.

There are not many towns with such an accessible working farm. For a multitude of reasons – low carbon footprint, fresher less travel-worn food – “local” eating is the right thing to do. Rockport boasts not just a historical blessing – there are not many seven-generation working farms – but we now have more and more Rockport-grown food.  Ken Lane, the current Lane to run the farm, is slowly reversing his grandfather’s shift from farming to raising horses thirty years ago. Having been a dairy farmer in Maine, Ken Lane returned to the family homestead when his grandfather died, and brought farming with him.

 

 

Rockport cattle

Lane has a small herd of cattle which he pastures on grass, allowing us the luxury of locally raised grass-fed beef. He’s returning more and more lands to growing vegetables.

 

blue barrel

 

 

The Greenhouse

 

Ken & The Greenhouse

I met him a few days ago, when the snow banks had finally melted, and we hiked across South St. down a lane to his greenhouse, where a thousand seedlings were warming up. Shining crimson lettuce, soft spinach leaves, kale spears, and founts of sprouting beet tops rippled down the rows.

Ken Lane

 

All these are already for sale in the Seaview Farm “store” on the front porch Saturday mornings. This spring and summer there will be peas, green beans, swiss chard, peppers, celery, tomatoes, and butternut squash. The grass-fed beef is sold out of the freezer on the porch; just a reminder, it’s a little tougher than grain-fed beef, but the flavor is incomparable, a complex, herbal bouquet in this local protein.

Our own grass fed beef

About Rockport protein, Lane is raising chickens for eggs; the last carton I picked up at the store contained eleven earthy brown eggs and one blue.

Lane sells his beef and produce from his front porch store, at the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market, and the Rockport Farmer’s Market. Watch for announcements of a Seaview Farm Dinner (June 19th) with chef Sheila Jarnes from Short & Main, sponsored by the Rockport Exchange.

The Rockport Exchange, formerly Rockport Festivals, feels that food systems change the culture of a place; having a working farm with its locally raised meat and produce in our town, supported by the community, adds a significant value to a place; it nourishes us physically, spiritually, and economically.

HarvestFest Pie Jam and Jelly Contest

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

RHFpiecontestENTRYEmail me @ HAAtwood@gmail.com with any questions; here’s the link to online registration:  http://www.rockportartfestivals.com/harvestfest/harvestfest-pies-jams-jellies-contest

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

fire

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

fishcakes

beans

  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

Farmers’ Markets and a great sausage recipe

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

 

Farmers’ Market signs, from the rag-tag to the calligraphed, are popping up along curbs and in rotary gardens like dandelions.  For those of you who dismiss these pleas to purchase local produce as an inconvenient path to dinner, I’d like to underline the best part of a Farmers’ Market, the virtue that extends beyond the dusty park or parking lot in which they often plant their tents.

Community, community, community.  Almost more than the nutritional assets of fresh, local food, community ranks higher than freshly picked rhubarb when it comes to what a local Farmers’ Market offers.  It’s a place to bump into neighbors and friends.  In an age when it’s possible to remain for weeks at a time at our desks, stocking refrigerator and pantry online through sites like Pea Pod, chance meetings are becoming rare.  Unscheduled interaction isn’t extinct yet, but places for unplanned, therefore unrehearsed meetings that might accidentally brighten one’s day – or, yes, sadden it – are disappearing.  I don’t need to remind anyone in Rockport that lines like this:  “I saw Mary at the IGA this morning; I didn’t realize her mother had passed away…”  – just aren’t said anymore.  We have no IGA to which to run for a quart of milk.  Of course, there’s Ace Hardware, Rite-Aid, and the Transfer Station in which to learn where your neighbor’s son is heading to college next year, but, without a grocery store, Rockport can subtract one venue for that kind of fluffy – “nice weather today” –  conversation that may seem unimportant but that ultimately keeps the circuitry in a community alive.

 

 

And when a Farmers’ Market is in the heart of a city or town, its energy often spills into the surrounding streets, boosting traffic, creating a hum that can reenergize a quiet economy.   When you go to your local farmers’ market, you learn that the woman down the street bakes delicious Anadama Bread, or the guy you see at the bank on Monday mornings is actually a cattle farmer, and, yes, here is is grass-fed beef for sale right here!

Here’s just one great local food you can purchase at the Rockport and Cape Ann farmers’ markets:  Of all the local goodness we have on Cape Ann – lobster, wild blueberries in Dogtown, Lanesville Nisu – one of our best kept secrets is Trupiano’s Sausage.  Mike Ciaramitaro purchased the recipe years ago when he took over Trupiano’s Meat Market.  The Meat Market is long gone, but Ciaramitaro simply cannot retire; his sausage is that good.  The fresh, light character of the meat is the first, hot, crumbly taste you get when you lift a Trupiano’s sausage off a grill; the seasonings are a light touch, meant only to gently flavor.  So many boutique sausages today emphasize everything except the sausage – feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, pesto – with a little cheap pork added in.   Trupiano’s tastes like the good, old fashion kind of sausage.

The Cave on Main St. sells Trupiano’s Sausage, as does the Lanesville Package store, but, being the local food treasure that it is, Trupiano’s Sausage is available at the Rockport Farmers’ Market this Saturday morning.  Trupiano’s is also available at the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market Thursday afternoons.

This Saturday morning the Rockport Farmers’ Market will be featuring Fudge Everything chocolate sauce, coffee and lattes, Heath’s Tea Room scones and teas, Seabiscuit Bakery baked goods, Paul Franklin’s amazing guacamole and salsas, Rachel Potts’ too pretty to eat Vintage Greens, The Grant Family Farm, and First Light Farm,  and – THE PESTO IS BACK!!!!!  Paolo Laboa of Pride’s Osteria fame will be making pesto for sale only at the Rockport Farmers’ Market!

Here is a classic Umbrian recipe from the Italian cookbook author Julia Della Croce; it’s so simple it sounds impossible, but the results are delicious.  Of course, Mike Ciaramitaro would rather you saute a bunch of peppers and onions, and pile them over his freshly grilled sausage, and tuck all into a warmed hotdog roll.

 

 

Sausages and Grapes from Julia Della Croce

serves 4

Ingredients

8 sweet Italian pork sausages

1/2 cup water

3/4 pound seedless black or red grapes, stripped from their stems

Instructions

  1. In a cast iron skillet or heavy saute pan put the sausages and water.  Bring to medium heat, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 12 minutes.
  2.   Add the grapes, and reduce heat to medium low. Prick the sausages with a sharp fork or knife occasionally to keep them from bursting.  Cook for about 20 minutes, turning the sausages occasionally, until the sausages are brown all over and cooked through.  Toss the grapes as you go.  The pan will get very dry, but don’t worry about that.  The grapes will begin to shrivel a bit, and the sausages release just enough liquid.
  3.   When the sausages are golden brown, pile them onto a platter, and pour the grapes around all.  Serve with warm, crusty bread as an appetizer, or a light dinner.