Farmers Market Challenge: The Larkin Market

Over the last three years, we have really fallen in love with our local farming scene. After attending one of Christa Glennie Seychew’s Foodie to Farm tours, our entire outlook on food sourcing changed. During Fall and Winter there are several options for purchasing local produce and meats (Dispenza’s, Horsefeathers, Lexington Co-op) but when the sun comes out in the spring/summer, so do the farmers markets. Each week we are going to be focusing on a different farmers markets in WNY (and there are a LOT), highlighting our favorite vendors and what’s worth checking out. Our goal is to visit every farmers market that we can reasonably drive to this season and encourage everyone to get out and explore them for themselves. You can see which markets we’ve already visited by clicking here.

Yesterday was the debut of The Larket Market, the newest weekly event at Larkin Square. Somehow the Zemsky gang came up with another great idea to bring people to their oasis on Seneca Street. Every Thursday a rotating list of vendors will set up stands and sell prepared foods, arts and crafts, produce, meat, jewelry, clothing and various other goods. When I first saw the row of food vendors yesterday, I immediately was reminded of the fantastic Smorgasburg that I visited in Brooklyn last Fall. The Larkin Market has a way to go to reach that level of food selection, but as the event gets more popular the food vendors will get more adventurous.

Chicken TamaleDispenza's Meat Market

This isn’t your typical “farmers market” but we decided to include it in our weekly series because of how large it is and the variety of venders it offers. Underneath the large canopy (where live music acts play), there’s a large selection of local artists selling their goods (think of a real life etsy shop). You’ll be able to find yourself a fancy new hat, some vinyl records or a new piece of artwork for your home. Around the sides you’ll find farms and other local food venders as well as beer, wine, flowers and pasta. Where the food trucks normally park is a row of fresh food options. The best part it that it’s all within the beautiful Larkin square. We highly recommend checking it out next week.

Here’s some of the highlights that we saw yesterday…

Prudom Farm, Stillwater Farm and Arden Farm: There aren’t many farms, so this isn’t going to replace your weekly trip to the Bidwell Market. However the small number that have stands at the Market are some of our favorites. Arden and Prudom had really incredible selections of fruits and vegetables (that will only get better as the season continues), while Stillwater Farm was selling various cuts of locally raised chicken and lamb as well as fresh eggs (plus some pie!). It might not be shopping for the entire week, but you’ll be able to grab a couple things for a great dinner or two.

Dispenza’s Meat Market: Our friends Rachel and Frank Dispenza have made the trip from Ransomville and they brought some of their delicioys homemade sausage (chicken with spinach and feta or Buffalo chicken) and 60 day dry aged rib eye steaks to sell. It goes without saying that we absolutely love their shop and we try to make the drive as often as we can. By the time we showed up they were basically sold out of sausage, but we managed to grab one of their last samples. I’m excited to see what they bring to future market dates. Plus you can grab some tart cherry juice from Singer Farms!

Public Coffee + Espresso: We’ve said it a bunch of times but these guys are doing some good things with coffee. If you like coffee, this is a given.

BreadHive: Same as above, they kick ass.

Duke’s Donuts: More kicking ass.

Three Sister Tamale Co.: After liking their facebook page over a year ago and not hearing much, I was beginning to think these tamales wouldn’t be hitting the streets. But they finally made it and it was worth the wait. This mobile cart had the longest line of of any vendor and for a good reason, they were serving some damn good tamales. On this particular evening they were selling two fillings, chicken and sweet potato, and were both topped with avocado creme and salsa. Buffalo doesn’t have a lot of tamale options (or any, really), so I can’t verify the authenticity of these tamales. I can confirm that the $5 chicken tamale (2 per serving) was so good that Alli and I actually contemplated going back for more. This might be worth a trip to the Larkin Market alone and we plan on writing a proper full length post in the future about these guys/gals.

Newly opened Resurgance Brewing was set up on the east side of the market. Food truckers R&R BBQ and House of Munch both left the trucks at home and had stands. Brick-n-mortar restaurants Curly’s and Jewel of India both had set ups for food, although Curly’s had run out of rolls for their sandwiches by the time we arrived.

It goes without saying, but I’m excited about this market. The idea is that the vendors will change on a regular basis (our friends at My Buffalo Shirt will be there next week), so we could see even more exciting food options and farms in the coming weeks.

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