Specialty Food Shopping In The HamptonsLocal Providers Present Solutions For A Well-Rounded Holiday Meal
The holidays: That hallowed time of year dedicated to food and festivity. With so many exciting shopping options cropping up on the South Fork, it also happens to be one of the most interesting times of year. Food lovers of the East End, rejoice! The dedication to specialty foods—to carefully grown, tended, and curated foodstuffs peppering the towns east of the Canal—makes autumn one of the most incredible times out East. If you previously thought grocery shopping for the holidays to be an undue burden, think again.
Start with the basics at Bridgehampton’s new L&W Market, the brainchild of Almond Chef-Owner Jason Weiner and Co-Owner Eric Lemonides. The market boasts everything from a selection of fresh produce and prepared foods to freshly baked pastries, delicious coffee, and condiments made in Almond’s basement (under the label Kimchi Jews, started by Chef Weiner and Chef Jeremy Blutstein). You’ll also find high-end treats like house-cured bacon and sausages; pâté; and all manner of local cheeses. In short, it’s the perfect place to drop into when you’re looking to round out your holiday menu.
Speaking of cheeses, no holiday cheese board would be complete without a healthy contribution from Sag Harbor’s Cavaniola’s Gourmet (for those living further East, owner Michael Cavaniola also operates an outpost in Amagansett). The kitchen provides full catering options, for those looking to impress friends and family without lifting a finger. But if you’re just in the market for cheese, well, that’s ok, too. The 14-year-old storefront sells every imaginable incarnation of fine cheese, along with a mind-blowing array of accouterment.
In East Hampton, baker Carissa Waechter has acquired a cult following at Carissa’s The Bakery with her dreamlike baked goods. Although she began with breads—and antique sourdough starters that she continues to use to this day—Ms. Waechter has expanded her reach to include some of the prettiest pies one can possibly imagine (for the perfect holiday contribution, look no further than the piped meringue confections, which are filled with whatever fruit happens to be in season). Her almost-too-beautiful-to-eat (but not quite) pies and cakes come adorned with edible flowers and other decorative touches.
At Balsam Farms, on the East Hampton-Amagansett line, produce perfectionists can pick the best fruits and vegetables right until Thanksgiving—which is officially the farm stand’s final operating day of the season. Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes all make star appearances just in time for the holidays, and dedicated cooks can also find all manner of fresh herbs. In a pinch for a pie? Balsam carries Blue Duck Bakery’s crusted and crumbed pies, the flavors of which rotate depending on availability.
Of course, no holiday meal would be complete without the bird, and the South Fork has no shortage of options on that front. For the best possible turkey, however, head to North Sea, where North Sea Farms has been raising their own birds for decades. Turkeys must be reserved in advance and range in size from 12 to 30 pounds. Until 2016, the farm was owned by Tate King, who passed away in June of that year. Tate’s son, Richard King, carries on the family farm tradition to this day. If the name “Tate” sounds familiar, it’s because Tate King’s daughter, Kathleen King, founded the Tate’s Cookies empire. You can find her cookies—and cobblers and crumb pies—for sale at the farm, too. Just in case.