Savoring the Flavors of Our Local Fall Markets
As soon as the local farmers’ markets start up in the spring, I am there. From Sandwich to Provincetown, each market has its own unique atmosphere and personality. For me, the markets take the place of the old fashioned country general store. It is a day and place where friends gather to chat, keep up with the local foodie news and share recipes and ideas with local farmers. There is always something new to discover. I look forward to the variety of fruits, vegetables and specialty items from spring to fall, and plan menus around what I purchase. I am often inspired by the pulse and energy of these markets and come home excited. It’s when we can eat healthy, locally-grown produce without those small pesky stickers attached!
Enjoy the following recipes! Some I developed and others are from people at the markets.
Over the last few years at the Sandwich Farmers’ Market, I noted a very high-energy young man, whipping pizzas in and out of a fired-up brick oven hitched to a trailer. The last time I was there, I said I was doing this article and wanted to know more about him, his business and of course his pizzas. Pushing a little more, I added, “Oh, I also need a recipe to go with the article.” Shields, a native of Sandwich, started his catering business in 2013 when he purchased the domain name, oven and business from a previous owner. “We do weddings, those are pretty cookie cutter in terms of just how the evening plays out. Also, rehearsal dinners are big, along with birthday parties and special backyard events for people. We’ve done some events like an adult Halloween-themed party. Things can get pretty crazy. Of course, when you’re the pizza guy, everyone is your friend and it’s always nice to be one of the highlights of an event.”
Shields has a pretty healthy business nine months of the year, but cooks for people all year round. Throughout the year he uses seasonal vegetables and herbs for his toppings, sometimes along with his favorite meats like sausage and pepperoni. He starts with a simple tomato sauce and builds from there. Here are some of his tips for topping fall pizzas: “First my dough is made with double-zero flour from Naples, Italy. This is the best there is and creates a wonderful crisp crust. For the fall I love a nice pre-grilled, caramelized butternut and acorn squash. So, with these two colors, the yellow and the orange is going to play on the eye very well because you want to balance asymmetry. Then sprinkle with fresh minced herbs. I love sage this time of year.” One of Shield’s majors in college was visual design. It seems he carries his creative visual thinking into his cooking style.
I am always curious about what brings people to migrate and work on Cape Cod. In our conversation, Macomber said he had a pretty big career in television, working as videographer/producer making investigative news documentaries. He even won a few Emmys. “That was a nice chapter,” he said. “When I moved here I was looking for a summer gig. I stumbled into selling this sustainable meat product. What I am doing now is a combination of my talents, knowing business and believing in a quality product. This interests me. The farmers markets give me the opportunity to socialize and connect with all sorts of people. Some live here while others are vacationers.”
When I buy a good quality steak from Macomber, I usually do a simple preparation, lightly oiling the meat, sprinkling a dash of salt and pepper on both sides and tossing it into a very hot iron skillet, flipping once. Other times I like to do a little more for guests. Here is one of my favorites with a Mexican twist. Perfect for fall entertaining, or for any fun occasion, really.
NO JOKE SMOKE BBQ
I met Ryan and wife Sharon Nahas at the Osterville Farmers’ Market a year ago, and connected with them again this year at the market in Sandwich, where Ryan was cooking up burgers and other tasty things on a grill for sampling their variety of homemade BBQ sauces. I could tell these two were passionate about their sauces and what they have accomplished.
Ryan calls himself the Chef and Chief Sauce Imagineer and Sharon, the Chief Executive Imagineer and Paper Shuffler. Their business was founded in 2015, and both have backgrounds in the food and beverage world, Ryan as chef and Sharon in restaurant management. Ryan said, “As the New England seasons change, so do our sauces. We use organic, all-natural ingredients, along with farm fresh produce grown by local farmers. All our sauces are vegetable, vegan and gluten free.” Their creative sauces run the gamut from seasonal sauces like Blueberry Blast and Fig Stout to the Pineapple Bomb used in the recipe on page 28.
NOT ENOUGH ACRES FARM
“When we started the farm, we didn’t have enough property to get a tax break, so we leased the property across the street in order to get the necessary 5.25 acres. That’s how the farm got its name.” Some of Jeff ’s wonderful produce is sold year round, like herbs, some lettuces, honey, eggs and even firewood. At the farm I saw beautiful Shetland Icelandic sheep roaming the land; Beth makes hats, gloves and bags from their wool.
I am always happy to discover new ethnic foods at the farmers’ markets. Here is one of them: arepas, a typical Latin American food from Columbia. Arepas are basically corn-based flatbreads filled with a variety of vegetables, meats, cheeses, fruits and homemade sauces. Ivan Arias went to culinary school in Buenos Aires where he met his now-wife Molly Drane. They came back to the States and started this business catering and circling the local farmers. In the near future they have plans for their own restaurant.