With These Markets You’ll Never Have to Step Foot in a Grocery Store All Summer
Gather your tote bags or sling a big basket over your arm, because summertime grocery shopping in the Hamptons means going to the market. Happily, there’s no reason to push a cart down busy aisles or shiver through the refrigerators of wilting produce when the farm-filled East End is at your doorstep, making checking off those shopping lists a joy and your dinners all the more delicious. Here, we’ve chosen our favorite market to match each mealtime need, taking you on something of a cook-local tour of the Hamptons.
STARTERSStarters are the way to set the mood for your evening. Is the evening going to be hands-on? Chips and guac? Gourmet? Smoked fishes, and perhaps some caviar? A sit-down affair? Soups and salads. No matter what you’re after, or even if you just need some inspiration to get started, head to Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine for prepared foods that will fit any menu—and take one step out of your cooking process.
Run by husband-and-wife team Erin Finley and chef David Blydenburgh and named after one their daughters, Sydney’s has, since 1993, stood as one of the top gourmet food purveyors in the East End, growing from a catering company to a full-fledged market and sit-down restaurant. The list of offerings here is extensive, from lobster, curried chicken, and made-to-order market salads to David’s award-winning chowder. There are also glass cases stocking what’s widely agreed to be the best cheese selection in the Hamptons, which can be conveniently paired on-site with the wine selection. (32 Mill Rd., Westhampton)
MAINSMoving on to the main course, Herb’s Market stands to help chefs and non-chefs alike. A fixture on Montauk Highway since the 1940s, Herb’s has since changed ownership but not quality—which says a lot of a business contingent upon animals and the people who raise them. Take note: despite its name, Herb’s is primarily a place to come for meat-driven meals. It’s considered one of the best butchers on the island, vending Berkshire pork chops; prime cuts of beefs in all of the styles, from dainty filets to Porterhouse for two; racks and legs and loins of lamb; sausages in all sorts of savory flavors; and even whole pigs that will have you asking your neighbors to see who’s willing to turn their fire pit into a temporary oven.
If you’re not ready to fully invest in a night of meat thermometers and spice rubs, Herb’s also offers prepared foods, like deli meats and sandwiches, assorted salads, and cult-followed fried chicken. A fresh salad bar and smoothie station caters to vegetarians or chefs in need of a light snack to hold them over while they cook. (788 Montauk Hwy., Montauk)
PRODUCE If you’re trying to hobnob with the rich and famous, consider becoming a farmer. Balsam Farms co-owners Alex Balsam and Ian Calder-Piedmonte have sold their fruits and vegetables to the likes of Alec Baldwin and Paul McCartney during the 15 years their property has been in business, but their star-studded sales are hardly the highlights of their careers. What began as a 10-acre plot of land plowed by a single tractor has since grown nine-fold.
Nevertheless, its roadside stand and market is still the go-to spot for Hamptonites looking for zucchini and summer squash fresh from the soil, sugar snaps as saccharine as their name conveys, and heads of colorful lettuces still dirty with the soil they were pulled from that morning. 75 types of tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, every kind of berry, kale for sautéing, flowers for decorating, and more than 20 types of herbs that negate any need to go to the grocery store to find what flavors your recipes need. Shelves of mason jars also offer concoctions of the farm’s crops put to good use, such as Bloody Mary mix, pickled peppers, and seasons jams and marmalades. You may just brush shoulders with a former Beatle while filling your basket. (284 Town Ln., Amagansett)
Don’t expect any fancy French mille-feuilles or dainty chocolates here; the name of the game is cinnamon rolls blanketed in frosting, dense brownies and bars, and cookies enormous enough to share. A selection of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, and prepared foods could make Round Swamp your one-stop shop for a farm-to-table meal, but there’s no doubt that its baked goods are simply a step above what’s on offer elsewhere. Pick up a loaf of bread to pair with those salads and cheeses from Sydney’s, and your shopping day will have come full circle before the night even begins. (184 Three Mile Harbor Rd, East Hampton; 97 School St., Bridgehampton)