By: Lisa Henning
Now that the temperature has crept out of freezing for more than 3 days in a row, Spring Fever has struck me with a vengeance. In the past, I have been known for buying or starting plants and setting them out too soon in the season, only to have them turn to slimy mush in the cold night. (I have since stopped doing that to poor, innocent plants.) Now, my attention gets turned to local growers with fresh produce- and it’s easy to appease my craving at Sid Wainer & Son in New Bedford. I recently found myself there, list in hand for Easter dinner, and a strong hankering for some culinary inspiration. Sid Wainer is well known for their high quality, products, and I’m sure you’ve seen their trucks on local roads. They supply 23,000 restaurants with quality products all over North America, with much of the produce grown in their world-wide network on Jasal Valley Farm located in Dartmouth, MA.
Soon after my arrival at Sid Wainer, I stood in the refrigerated cheese room for quite a time, admiring the selection and feeling the juices of inspiration start to flow. With both local and artisanal cheeses in great abundance, it’s difficult to choose just a few – but there are always one or two out for tasting to help the shopper of the cheesy comestible make an educated choice.
After leaving the cheese room, you’ll step into the produce section – which is even MORE refrigerated, and be met with a delight of some of the finest and rarest produce around. Kumquats, cactus paddles, sunchokes, purple artichokes, French breakfast radishes, fiddleheads, a rainbow of new potatoes, fresh wild mushrooms, edible flower garnishes, sprouted seeds of many sorts, microgreens.
Sid Wainer also has an impressive tasting station, where their chefs create recipes using their products, and allow shoppers to taste and take the recipe along home with them. I tasted a chorizo and red pepper risotto which was simply delicious, the chorizo and red pepper complemented each other nicely, a touch of Harissa paste added a good hit of heat at the end of the bite. You will also find a bevy of sauces, pastes, pestos, dips and spreads. Not to mention – they’ve got fresh bread! Don’t walk! Run!
Add to that the ability to find specialty items like truffles, Marcona almonds, cured meats, smoked meats and fish, uncured bacon, artisinal oils and vinegars, a plethora of herbs and spices, and Sid Wainer becomes a destination spot for foodies of all kinds. So, here’s some homework. Take a drive to Sid Wainer & Son and get to know one of the largest purveyors of local product on the South Coast. I promise you’ll leave with inspiration, a recipe or two and some items you haven’t been able to find anywhere else. Then go home and make dinner!
Lisa Henning is the Chef/Owner of Queen of Cuisine Personal Chef Service. She spends most of her time cooking, feeding her friends and clients and then blogging about it. Lisa also blogs at the Queen of Cuisine blog.