Highlighting Our Partners This Earth Day
by Ted Delano6.8.2023
What makes East End Food Institute's East End Food Market in Riverhead so popular among Long Island's indoor farmers markets?
Its variety, for one thing. The market is a rich mix of over 45 vendors. In addition to house plants, produce, pasta, seafood, meats, baked goods, soups, quiches, granola, yogurt, microgreens, eggs, pudding, herbal remedies, spices, pies, and dog treats, as well as local spirits, wines, and beers, you'll find locally made jewelry, soaps, knives, and cheeseboards.
"It's set up so you can really relate to people," said Kristina Tomony, the market manager. A lot of people.
Vendors and patrons come from all over the Island to attend — more than 700 every Saturday morning from late November through April.
Jane Lubben of Sag Harbor, who was shopping on a recent market day, said she finds the scene "just the right amount of busy; busy but not crowded. It's nice."
The market, which is at 139 Main Road, opens at 9 a.m. "Around 10:30, the younger people come in," said Nicholas DiBenedetto of Quogue's Nicholas DiBenedetto Knives. "I have no idea what I'm going to sell — kitchen, hunting, filleting, chopping, cheese knives. I just keep making, because it's like painting — creating something — it's not work. I love it."
Ms. Tomony has a rotating cast of sellers, though many attend every week. Participating farms include Sylvester Manor Educational Farm from Shelter Island, Goodale Farms and 1760 Homestead Farm from Riverhead, Sang Lee Farms from Peconic, South Shore Mushrooms from Moriches, Kalypso Farms Dairy from Dix Hills, Urban Coyote Farm from Wading River, and Mattituck Mushrooms. Two main bread bakers — Blue Duck Bakery from Southold and Jamesport Sourdough — spread the leavened love.
Aki's Kitchen from East Quogue offers soups, salads, sweets, and sauces. There are gluten-free offerings from SquaredGF, whose owner, Patricia Conforti, produces lemon squares, brownies, and blondies inspired by her own love of bar cookies and inability to digest gluten. Gut Goodness also hand-makes gluten-free products including buckwheat crackers, breads, crunchy granola, and spreads. And Sag Harbor Honey sells honey that's gathered from local hives, including a "hot honey" produced in the East End Food Institute kitchen in Southampton.
Gut Goodness, a gluten-free purveyor, is a market regular.
Art Ludlow or his brother-in-law, the chef Stuart Johnson, or a staffer, Charlie Rouhandeh, drives up early on Saturdays from Mecox Bay Dairy in Bridgehampton to unload artisanal cheeses, as well as pork, poultry, and beef. "I love the atmosphere. We're spread out, but it feels very close and social in here, super-friendly," Mr. Rouhandeh said.
"We get such a different mix of people who come to visit this market," said Jim Walsh of Green Door Woodworks, a Southampton wood block puzzle company. "I like to talk to people here, and I'm not a big talker! My favorite thing is to watch kids play."
Katherine Barna watched her son, Henry, 3, play with a puzzle. They drop into the market from their home in Mattituck most Saturdays. His favorite thing: The pickles from Horman's Best Pickles.
New York Food Hub Collaborative Launches Toward an Efficient, Effective and Equitable Statewide Food System
This week, East End Food Institute Executive Director Kate Fullam traveled to Rochester for the first meeting of the New York Food Hub Collaborative led by Cornell Cooperative Extension's Harvest New York.