I have to admit, that the thought of driving up to Truro from our home in Sandwich seemed like it would be maddening. The eastbound traffic going through the Cape Cod National Seashore area can be tough in July. But it was Sunday, and Sunday can be a great day to head east as more cars leave Cape Cod on that day, delivering their passengers back home to get ready for the new work week. Plus, the sun was beaming and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so I called a friend in Truro to tell them we’d be coming up, and she offered us her guest room. Perfect! Our Truro adventures would continue, and we’d get our first full 24 hours in town!
A Stop in Wellfleet ~ a Moment In France
Our first stop on our way to Truro was to see our old friend in Wellfleet, Chef Philippe Rispoli. Philippe’s restaurant and bakery is PB Boulangerie Bistro and we rarely drive by without stopping in to say hello. Philippe hails from Leon, France, and stepping into his place makes you feel like the Starship Enterprise beamed you onto Boulevard du Montparnasse (don’t “beam us up” Scotty, we’re good right here). Because of staff shortage (partially due to a lack of Visas) PB’s Bistro is temporarily closed, but their Boulangerie is still going gang busters. We say a quick hello to Phillip and Eliza, but the lines of customers keeps growing, so we decide to take care of what we really stopped in for, the best Croque Monsieur this side of the Seine. It should be mentioned that any time Ali and I are on a road trip–and specially with our bi-weekly jaunts to Truro–we always travel with a cooler and freezer bags (because, hey, you never know), so we add a couple of almond croissants, a Pate de Campagne and a chocolate bomb dessert…”for whenever”.
“Sunday Funday” and a Terra Luna Beach Picnic (Under the Luna)
Another bonus about heading east on Route 6 on a Sunday is that if you get far enough up the arm of the Cape, like, say, Truro…and it’s between 6-8pm, you can swing into Truro Vineyards for “Sunday Funday”. Since we”ll be staying locally, we decide to check it out. The winery’s lawn is always a good time, thanks to their usual Crush Pad food truck and plenty of wine, custom cocktails and adult slushies being passed around. But on Sunday evenings the winery re-opens with the delightful addition of fresh Wellfleet oysters being shucked, a DJ spinning 70’s and 80’s vinyl records and an additional truck selling local ice cream. After a couple glasses of wine we decide to forego the very tempting food trucks and have dinner at a restaurant that we’ve driven by countless times, but have never entered. After all, the reason we’re making these pilgrimages to Truro is to get to know it better, so we call Terra Luna for a last minute reservation. Terra Luna is widely loved for its “Rustic Neo-Pagan Cuisine“, and it’s also a pretty small and intimate dining room, so when we were informed that it was “first come, first served” and that there might be a little wait, we came up with Plan B. Ordering take-out from their website, Ali pounced on the Penne Prosciutto with garlic and black pepper in a vodka tomato cream sauce. I went for the Grilled “Galvanized” Pork Chop with fried cornmeal, white beans and linguica. We purchased a bottle of the vineyard’s bold and luscious Barbera Reserve red wine from the gift shop, grabbed the emergency wine opener from my ditty bag, and headed down Shore Road to Terra Luna to get the goods. The evening kept getting more beautiful, so we decided to take our make-shift party picnic to nearby Head of the Meadow Beach. Entering the beach’s massive parking lot, we backed the pickup truck next to a pathway entrance, popped open the tailgate and plopped ourselves down in the back of the truck. The air was clear and warm, and my pork chop was, indeed, “galvanized” on top (crisped to perfection) and juicy and tender everywhere else, with billows of smoky scents filling the salt air around me. Ali’s pasta was also perfectly cooked, and the vodka cream sauce was sweet, clean and delicate, letting all the flavors of the dish come through. As the sun disappeared behind the horizon, we marveled at how quiet and peaceful the beach was. Given that just a few hours before there was undoubtedly a parking lot bursting with vehicles, it’s always an amazing feeling to have such a popular destination all to ourselves. We chewed and sipped and watched the sun slowly take its final bow, soaking in every last bit of Truro’s natural beauty.
The Truro “Educational” Farmers’ Market and Sustainable CAPE
The next morning as we headed west on Route 6, we saw a bright yellow sign that read “Truro Farmers’ Market, Mondays 8-1” so we wound our way to the town center. The Truro Farmers’ Market, which has been in existence since 1979, was bustling with lots of people carrying bags full of vegetables and flowers, lively acoustic music, and lots of laughter and chit chat. I first noticed signs snaking around the market’s center in sequence, and then I remembered someone telling me how this particular market was based on educating children. The colorful signs are compliments of a relationship between the Truro Public Library and Sustainable CAPE’s Children’s Community Garden Group, and teach the reader everything from what is a mushrooms and what are its benefits, to the magical power of seeds, and the connection between healthy soil creating healthy plants, and ultimately healthy bodies. Sustainable CAPE is a local organization based around celebrating local food while teaching the public about the health of our bodies, community, and environment. They demonstrate the direct link between local food, sustainable health and wellness, and the importance of preserving the fragile land and water resources that enable the local harvest. The organization’s goal is to educate and empower people to become agents of change – thereby creating a decidedly more delicious, healthy and sustainable world.
We first stop by Seawind Meadows booth to start building our night’s dinner. Seawind Meadows is a family-owned and operated grass-fed and grass-finished Highland beef producer whose farm has been raising Scottish Highland heritage cattle for the past 16 years in Dennis (in the mid-Cape area). Family member Miriam May greets us with a wide smile and pulls out various samples of their products, which range from osso bucco and sirloins, to ribeyes, hot dogs and close to a dozen sausages. We chose a one pound London Broil and Miriam recommends marinating it overnight, which sets us up for tomorrow night’s dinner, so we go on the hunt for other dinner ideas. The “Helltown Wild Caught” sign catches our eye and we’re met by Kathleen Gribbin of the Salt Seafood Company who runs two boats out of Provincetown (aka: “Helltown”), The Glutton and The Kahuna, with her husband Beau and daughter Sarah. We score one pound of fresh Halibut, and to go with our fish dinner we hit Sweet Daisies “custom cakes and confections” for a hearty Rustic Kalamata Olive Bread (no need for dessert–our cooler had the Chocolate Bomb from PB Boulangerie) and some fat, white oyster mushrooms, courtesy of local Uli Winslow of Cape Coastal Products (or more casually, “Uli’s Mushrooms”). I remembered reading an article on Uli and his fabulous fungi in Edible Cape Cod Magazine last year by Michelle Koch, and that Uli had something crazy like 2000 inoculated logs at the time, which means returning for some shittakes in a couple of week should not be a problem!
We continued to zig-zag around the rest of the farmer’s market and pick up some flowers for our dining room table from Down Home Farm, who grow hearty vegetables and colorful flowers just up the road. Digree Rai and her husband Bhala, who hail from Nepal, are busy bundling flower arrangements and we’re helped by their son, David. David is very friendly, and a wonderful ambassador of the market, reminding us that shopping the market can be done anytime online. Before heading for the car, we stop by another educational booth. It should be noted that another unique benefit to this particular farmers’ market is that all the vendors in the market accept SNAP, HIP, WIC, Senior Discount and Fresh Kids coupons. Back in 2013 they received a USDA grant for an EBT machine that accepts both SNAP and credit cards, and the vendors who accept these forms of payment display signs on their stall. Pretty cool.
Before we leave we stop by Lara’s Cuisine for a jar of Artichoke Pesto, just because. Italy-born Lara Ferri is known around the Cape for her spreads and its unwise to walk by her booth without grabbing a little something. Going through several tiny plastic taster spoons, we have to narrow our choice down to one jar due to the fact that the square footage of our trusty cooler was getting limited.
It’s not uncommon to get a warm feeling while being at a farmers’ market, and the Truro Educational Farmer’s Market certainly delivers just that. Heading toward our awaiting cooler, I silently thank Truro for a much needed getaway, and we head back to real life for another week.
~ Tommy Dott is an innkeeper, restaurateur and award-winning food writer. He lives on Cape Cod with his partner Ali and their two Yorkies, Jiminy Cricket and B.G.