During the growing season, Long Island boasts around 40 farmers markets. In the winter, that number dwindles to seven. Since the local harvest is slim — storage vegetables and greenhouse produce — the focus is on provisions made by local artisans: cheese, sausages, granola, soups, popcorn, coffee, nuts and, most of all, baked goods.
Indeed cold weather is no bar to great baking. Farmers markets have always been invaluable proving grounds for local bakers, and several of Long Island’s best bakeries — Blacksmith’s Breads, Duck Island, Flourbud, Hometown, Newlight, Polka Dot Pound Cake and more — got their start there. At this year’s winter markets, you’ll find the next crop.
It’s imperative that you bring your own bag to the market, and early birds often get the best worms. Flexibility is also key: Many vendors alternate markets from week to week and some only show up occasionally. It’s best to show up with a mind open to possibilities and discovery.
BAYPORT FARMERS MARKET
Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 9 at Bayport Flower House, 940 Montauk Hwy.
Located inside a heated greenhouse, the South Shore farmers market is organized by Laurel Bickford Shortell, and her protein-rich Laurel’s Butters, handcrafted from nuts and little else, are the first things you’ll encounter when you enter. Almost every market has someone selling gluten-free baked goods but Bethany Sallese’s House of Gluten Free has taken on the daunting challenge of making artisanal breads without wheat. Using a mixture of brown rice and sorghum flours, tapioca starch and psyllium husk, she makes baguettes, focaccia, sourdough boulles and rolls that are as close to the real thing as you’ll find. Carol Khairallah comes at traditional baking from another angle: The goal of her Local Batch brand is to make cookies “like they would have been made in the past.” That means einkorn (a heritage wheat) and grass-fed butter from New York State, and unrefined panela instead of white sugar. The cookies are simply delicious. You’ll find plenty of gluten and refined sugar at Brix Cannoli whose owner, Varick Winter, wondered why you couldn’t use the over-the-top approach taken by cookies and ice cream and apply it to cannoli. The Big Cheese is here, selling local farmstead cheeses as well as traditional and innovative charcuterie from Ridgewood European Pork Store in Queens. And Oceanside’s Insieme Wines offers sips and bottle of its vintages, from crowd-pleasing cabernet sauvignon and riesling to rarer Sagrantino and Teroldego. You might also find Angie’s Empanadas, Pat’s Bakehouse, Nautilus Roasting Co. (coffee), Microgreen Garden, Jon’s Kitchen Tools (handmade knives and sharpeners) and more.
More info: facebook.com/South-Shore-Farmers-Market
HUNTINGTON STATION FARMERS MARKET
Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March 24 at Spirit of Huntington Art Center, 2 Melville Rd.
For its 13th season, Long Island’s oldest indoor market has moved south from Cinema Arts Centre to the Spirit of Huntington Art Center. This is a tightly packed market, with several tables boasting baked goods. Orwashers is here, with its old-fashioned seeded rye bread, as well as rustic European breads, rugelach, babka and more old-school New York classics. Amy Reischer gave up gluten and dairy years ago, was determined to produce quality quick breads without either and has succeeded with Mayfield Farms, whose muffins and coffee cakes also swap out refined sugar for maple syrup. But if flour, dairy and sugar are your thing, you’ll be rewarded at Three French Hens, whose rotating menu might include brown-butter ginger crumb cake or lemon sandwich cookies. Two years ago, personal trainer and nutrition coach Jason Matney took an unexpected career turn, adding itinerant cookie mogul to his resume. His Pop Culture Cookies are big, tender and come in flavors such as hot cocoa, strawberry-Prosecco and pecan pie. All these sweets demand a coffee chaser and Bauer’s Brew has you covered with bottled cold brew. You might also find 4E Green Farm, The Local Batch, Pam's Jamz and Miss Amy’s preserves, Jon's Gourmet Mushrooms, Mello Munch Granola, The Big Cheese and Naela’s Mediterranean Market and more.
More info: facebook.com/LIWinterMarket
ISLAND PARK FARMERS MARKET
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 30 at A&T Garden Center, 4373 Austin Blvd.
What had been Long Beach’s winter market (at Bright Eye Beer Co.) has moved to Island Park this year, ensconcing itself in A&T Garden Center’s cozy little greenhouse. There’s a good amount of fresh produce here — lettuce, broccoli, onions, potatoes, leeks, squash, kale, carrots, radishes, Brussels sprouts, beets, ginger, herbs — from 4E Green Farm, which grows all winter long in 10 enormous greenhouses in Yaphank. Three-years-old Manhasset-based micro-bakery Johnny Breads continues to expand its line with sourdoughs studded with olives or cranberries, plus flaky pains aux raisins. Lissette Jimenez and Ashley Burgos, the mother-daughter team behind Green Papaya Vegan, sell a range of plant-based items, from lentil empanadas and chickpea-stuffed shells, to pumpkin-chocolate-chip cookies and cold-pressed juice. Simply Savory Rice Balls, from sisters-in-law Natalie and Josephine Posillico, might contain French onion soup, beef stew, chicken chili or vegan lentil Bolognese. If you need a pick me up, stop by Wave Culture Coffee, specializing in super-smooth cold brew. Partner Alyssa Cavaciuti swings by Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn so she can also offer classic doughnuts. You may also find Color Me Tasty boozy puddings and mocktails, Horman’s Best Pickles (with its new line of Goodness Dairy ice creams) and more.
More info: instagram.com/shininglightfarmersmarkets
PORT JEFFERSON FARMERS MARKET
Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 28 at the Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson
Port Jefferson’s harborside warm-weather market moves inside for the winter, but still has a view of the harbor from the second level of the village’s Shipyard Building. This is the rare winter market that has two sources of fresh produce: Market organizer Melissa Dunstatter also owns Sweet Melissa 1932 Farm, which sells a variety of produce both local and from a greenhouse in Pennsylvania. And, as long as they are still pulling things out of the ground, Leslie and Priscilla Howard of Priscilla’s Farm in Southold will bring herbs, carrots and sweet greens (kales, mustard and Asian greens among them). There’s smoked salmon, bluefish and more at Riverhead-based Montauk Smoked Fish, croissants from Port Jefferson’s own Rustic Breads. Naela Zeidan brings a panoply of Jordanian flavors at her Naela’s Mediterranean Market. From her own kitchen come hummus, halvah, sesame cookies, pickled garlic, marinated labneh (fresh yogurt cheese) as well as hot-and-ready-to-eat kibbe, zaatar bread, falafel and spinach pies. Imported from Jordan are herbs, spices, nuts, pulses and fruit roll-ups. You may also find OHoney Bee Farm and Bee Natural Body Care, Maryhaven hydroponics, Horman’s Best Pickles, Cup of Joe Coffee, Kings County Distillery and more.
More info: portjeff.com/winterfarmersmarket
RIVERHEAD FARMERS MARKET
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 30 at Twin Fork Beer Co., 807 Raynor Ave.
Construction should be complete later this year on the new East End Food Market facility at 139 Main Rd. but in the meantime, Twin Fork Beer Co. has offered up its brewery floor (and there’s no reason you can’t make the bar in their tasting room your last stop.) Do not miss the pignoli cookies or the frangipane (almond-paste) tarts at The Cookery, an East Hampton-based kitchen whose only winter market is Riverhead. Brazilian native Ludmilla “Milla” Benevides sells the great Brazilian cheese puffs, pão de queijo, at her Milla’s Puffs. Naturally gluten free, the balls are somehow cheese, gooey and light. “It’s the bagel of Brazil,” she said. Across the aisle is North Fork Seafood, selling the catch of fisherman-owner Jermaine Owen as well as delicacies (fresh, not-frozen shrimp!) from farther afield. Bridgehampton’s Mecox Bay Dairy sells cheeses, including the prizewinning Sigit, made at the family farm; Mattituck Mushrooms sells the fungi (shiitake, maitake, oyster, chestnut, lion’s mane and more) grown in the family shed and farmers market stalwart Angela Pereira makes the scene with her tasty Angie’s Empanadas. You'll also find fresh produce from Sweet Melissa 1932 Farm, The Granola Plant (100% vegan), Horman’s Best Pickles, Aki’s Kitchen (soups) and more.
More info: eastendfood.org/calendar/holiday-market
WESTHAMPTON BEACH FARMERS MARKET
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 27 at St. Mark’s Church Parish Hall, 40 Main St.
This winter market may be Long Island’s most comfortable. A fire blazes in the church’s light-filled parish hall and there’s plenty of parking. Among the vendors is Newlight Breadworks, which outgrew its Calverton facility and is now based in the Bronx. Look for sourdough, ciabatta, sandwich loaves and enormous Bavarian pretzels. East Moriches-based Loretta Reese scours the world for the best teas and researches archival blends in out-of-print books. Among her Wicked Sisters offerings is a wonderful Irish Breakfast, a mixture of black teas from Tanzania, Assam and Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). “Taking simplicity to the next level” is the motto of Aki Goldberg’s Aki’s Kitchen. She freezes local produce to use all season long for her soups, sauces and chilies. Bringing the green to Westhampton Beach is Maryhaven, a nonprofit that supports people with special needs and also has a robust hydroponics program that delivers lettuces and more all year-round. You’ll also find South Shore Mushrooms, Chowderhead Soup, Vienna Cookie Company, Horman’s Best Pickles, Mecox Bay Dairy, Papa Pasquale Ravioli, Pecks of Maine preserves and more.
More info: westhamptonchamber.org/winter-market/