Summer weather is finally here making it a great time to visit historic Newport, Rhode Island. Founded in 1639, you can transport yourself from the colonial and revolutionary eras to the gilded age mansions of the mid to late 1800's. You can also enjoy beaches, boating, lush landscapes and shop and eat to your hearts content. There is no shortage of things to do but today I'm going to focus on two of my favorite and often overlooked places for food - the Aquidneck Grower's Market and Sweet Berry Farm.
The Aquidneck Grower's Market is held every Wednesday from 2:00-6:00 at the intersection of Memorial Boulevard and Chapel Street. The scene is colorful, vibrant and delicious.
For example, the Matunuck Oyster Farm brings distinctive and wild shellfish from their oyster farm in Matunuck, RI. The farm as a strong commitment to sustainability and offers tours and field trips to demonstrate the cultivation of shellfish. I purchased some clams, which were delicious steamed and served with melted butter. There was plenty of shellfish available - including oysters.
Olga's Cup & Saucer of Providence showcases home baked breads and pastries (may I recommend the cinnamon croissant) as does the Provencal Bakery just down the road in Middletown, RI. Of course, one cannot say enough good things about both Farmstead, which had an artful display of New England cheeses to sample and the folks at Narragansett Creamery who brought their own handmade tender mozzarella as well as their creamy homemade yogurt. These were just a few highlights but there were many more ranging from locally raised meat to ice cream.
Speaking of ice cream, there was a small booth manned by Susanna of Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown. This is where I stop discussing the farmers market and take you directly to Sweet Berry Farm.
Let's talk about Susanna's ice cream because it's extraordinary. She makes dark chocolate, Louisiana banana, toasted coconut and my personal favorite, myer lemon. Don't foget cardamom coffee, white peach and ginger, spiced plum, strawberry champagne and mocha chocolate chip. What's important here is not that she makes a dizzying array of unique flavors, (though that is important) what's important is that the ice cream is glorious. It's heaven on a spoon.
When you take your first bite it will quickly become clear that she makes her ice cream using french technique and the best quality ingredients imaginable. She does not use preservatives, stabilizers, corn syrup or added colorings or flavors. If you do nothing else this summer, drive to Middletown and try this ice cream.
Of course that's just the ice cream. Sweet Berry Farm also has a great self-service cafe with freshly prepared food you can enjoy either in the greenhouse or at the outdoor picnic tables which are surrounded by manicured farms and flowers. They also make a large assortment of homemade baked goods. What I especially like is a carefully picked selection of local food products - farmstead cheeses to chocolates to popcorn. Lest we forget, you can also pick your own berries.
The Aquidneck Growers Market and Sweet Berry Farm are two must visit stops on your next trip to Newport. When you're done devouring the food, be sure to take a walk on the beach and burn off a few of those calories! For more great food resources, be sure to visit Fresh New England.
Posted by El at 7.8.09