There's serious snow on the way to many parts of the country, but only serious sunshine prevailed at this week's Palm Beach Gardens greenmarket. A number of new vendors have been making their presence known with everything from whole hams to rare cheeses, fresh eggs and home-canned preserves:
Lori Pogany of MJP Growers LLC got started selling fruit jams, preserves, corn chow-chow and granola because she got tired of giving them away. What started out as gift-giving at the holidays has turned into a cottage industry, thanks to the fruit trees and Heritage chickens on her Acreage property. She has blueberry and blackberry jams, both of which taste deeply of fruit rather than sugar; the chowchow, which would be a great topper for a burger or a hot dog, and wonderful eggs in pastel shades of cream, green and blue. She's just started the business and has no online presence yet, but she'll be at the Gardens market and the Lake Park market.
Bite Me Please! is half invitation, half challenge, and all fun. This tiny, shiny food truck isn't exactly lost, despite what you think when you see the phone number on the side. The Boston-area based crew is here only for the winter, and owner Gail McLaughlin Toti is hoping to buy another truck and expand the business. With food like this, one can only hope so. The specialty is grilled cheese sandwiches, dressed up with everything from bacon, ham and eggs to pears, grilled crab and vegetables. Cheese choices include Swiss, Cheddar and Brie; bread selections include white, honey wheat and sourdough. The breakfast pick of Cheddar, bacon and eggs was remarkable for what was missing: excessive grease and salt. It was a crispy and satisfying meal. Get one while this lively crew is in town.
Fratello Sole has no brick-and-mortar location, which is a shame; it means you have to work a little harder to track down their products. On the other hand, they are worth the work. A greenmarket-only seller, you'll find fresh pastas, olives, pepper mixes and an impressive list of cheeses from Spain, Italy and Argentina. The cheeses are available by the smallest piece or the pound, and if you wish, your cheese purchase can be shredded to any consistency you need. But the most spectacular offering at this booth is the jamón Serrano, or Serrano ham, from Spain. A dry, salt-cured ham that calls for up to two years' curing time, it requires the removal of the outer skin and much of the outer fat before consuming in small, thin slices. It's a rich pork richly veined with fat, and a little goes a long way. You're not making a sandwich with this, but a bit of it diced works wonderfully over pasta, wrapped around asparagus or served with Spanish cheeses and mango and fig chutneys.
Palm Beach Gardens Greenmarket, 10500 North Militaty Trail, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Open Sundays year-round from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.