Friday, August 21, 2009

To market, to Rhode Island.

Before we took our bike ride to lobster roll heaven, Aunt Cathi and I did some shopping for Saturday night's dinner. She had planned a seafood-heavy feast (always music to this landlubber's ears): steamers, angel hair pasta with crab, tomato, wine and herbs and panzanella (bread salad with cucumbers and tomatoes).

Our first stop was the Sakonnet Growers' market in Tiverton, where we picked up cucumbers (the green kind, not the round yellows ones above) and basil for the salad. The market was small (compared to the sometimes overwhelming bustle of the Union Square Greenmarket), but well-stocked. Tiverton's citizens are particularly concerned with preservation, and the market is perched at the top of a rolling, undeveloped meadow ringed by tall trees - an absolutely idyllic setting for browsing the local produce.

I gave in to temptation and bought two jars of locally-made jam (Made from local produce, too!) from Cory's Kitchen at Sweet Berry Farm. My picks were peach-raspberry preserves and hot pepper jam - the former will appear, no doubt, on crumpets chez Queenie in the near future. The latter might end up stirred into salad dressings, spread on crackers, or, possibly, eaten with a spoon.

Our next stop (after a beautiful driving tour of Tiverton) was Coastal Roasters, widely known in the area as the best coffee for miles. Aunt Cathi, primarily a tea drinker, wanted some help picking out a dark, rich coffee for my Uncle Jack. This was a challenge to which I felt equal. The shop roasts most of its own beans, and the selection was fantastic. We ended up choosing a Sumatran blend with cocoa tones to it for Uncle Jack, and ordering a latte (for Cathi) and a café au lait (for me). The coffee was great - rich, round, and strong.

Finally, we stopped at the fish store to collect the crab and steamers. No pictures , sadly, but I can confirm that many times of mollusk were on offer, including the little necks they gave us by mistake (something we only discovered upon opening the bag to clean them just before dinner). Oops.

I have to say, I was seriously impressed with the availability of local, sustainable foods in this little corner of Rhode Island. Everywhere I turned, it seemed, someone was offering me fantastic coffee, delicious ice cream, succulent fish, or fresh fruit - all grown or made within the surrounding 50 miles or so.

Looking for links to all the places we visited, I even found an amazing site called Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a comprehensive guide to buying local and fresh across the (admittedly teeny) state. Pretty nifty, I have to say.


~~louise~~ said...

You are having way too much fun!!! The images you portray are just like the ones I have when I dream of rural Rhode Island; heavenly...and tons of seafood, of course:)

Hope you're having a blast, Meg!!!

Meg Blocker said...

Thanks, Louise! It's been a lovely couple of weeks with all this traveling. I had no idea coastal Rhode Island was so gorgeous...I'll definitely be back.

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