A bit of squash, some onions, certainly apples — these are the things I expected to find at today’s visit to the Providence Downtown Farmers’ Market in Kennedy Plaza. And although it’s a small market, there were certainly enough vendors to satisfy, including some of my favorites from the Newport and Middletown markets — Simmons Farm (squash, lettuce, corn, heritage pork, etc.) and Barden Family Orchard (peaches and apples). I also discovered some new farm vendors — Big Train Farm, Hill Orchards and Heritage Farm.
What I did not expect to find were cupcakes. Now, I do agree that there is a cupcake bubble. Yet I have to agree with a friend of mine who recently admitted that there’s no ceiling on the price he’s willing to pay for one of those small perfectly iced cakes. But the disappointing truth is most cupcakes are just awful and usually the better they look, the worse they are. A trip to New York is worth it if only for a sloppy Magnolia cupcake, but I only needed to try once the delicately designed and lousy imitation cupcakes from Sweet in Boston or Crumbs (from New York to California). So I remained fairly skeptical as we paid $2.75 per impeccably iced cupcake from The Cupcakerie stand at the market today. Our choices: a lemon cupcake for ourselves and a peanut butter with chocolate frosting for Madeline who instinctively awakened from her nap as we approached the stand. I’ve never had a peanut butter cupcake with a smooth dark chocolate frosting, but now that I have, I’ll say, it’s about time. It was one of the softest, tastiest cupcakes I’ve ever had — a perfect balance of light cake and rich frosting. The lemon cupcake equally impressed us with a simple cake and and heavy-on-the-butter (I’m not complaining) lemon frosting.
The market was full of other wonderful sweet and savory surprises like the fabulously tender jerk chicken from a stand by Tina’s Caribbean Restaurant and a clearly addictive agave-sweetened and purple corn infused soda by Misti. Oh yes, I’ll be back. And I’ll try to remember to pick up some fruits and vegetables while I’m there too.
Providence Downtown Farmers’ Market
Kennedy Plaza & Exchange Terrace
Fridays 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM from June 12 to October 30, 2009
Tina’s Caribbean Restaurant
Barden Family Orchard