Chef Profile: Peter SandroniThis is the second in a series of mini profiles focused on chefs who are participating in our 3rd Annual Farm Fresh Breakfast on April 14. Peter Sandroni graduated from Marquette with a BA degree (political science) followed five years later with a culinary arts degree from the esteemed Kendall College in Chicago. After working at restaurants in Atlanta, Chicago, and Milwaukee (Eagan’s, Dream Dance), Peter helped develop a dining renaissance in Walkers’ Point, undertaking renovation of a woodworking shop that now houses his own restaurant. In Italian, La Merenda means "early snack" and refers to an Italian custom of early evening socializing and gathering to share food and drink among friends and family. Friends, family and finely prepared food are the hallmarks of Milwaukee’s very own La Merenda.
“Do well by doing good” is a particularly appropriate quote when referring to Peter. This 60 seat popular restaurant features small plates (tapas) from around the world, but Chef Sandroni buys from local farmers whenever possible – 32 at last count. He is exceedingly generous with his time and talent, supporting all sorts of community organizations: his alma mater, the Hunger Task Force, Alliance Française, the Farm Fresh Atlas of SE Wisconsin as well as MCWFM. Last year Marquette University helped Peter evaluate water and energy usage at the restaurant, suggesting a checklist of best practices to enhance the building’s green profile. Here is a YouTube video that gives you a sense of Peter and his “La Merenda”.
Breakfast of Local ChampionsLook for flyers at the market information table detailing next Saturday’s delicious breakfast menu. Sourcing ingredients from over a dozen MCWFM farmers, the prix fixe menu includes:
Warm Brioche French Toast
with caramelized apples and maple syrup
Sauté of Winter Greens,
crimini mushrooms and red shallots
Oven Roasted Root Vegetables
with Polonaise* topping
Handmade Country Sausage
*Toasted breadcrumbs, parsley and chopped hardboiled eggs
Comings and GoingsJeff-Leen Farm suffered a significant loss of chickens last week due to a freezer outage at their farm, so for the next two weeks Dominion Valley will bring chickens from their farm (whole, cut-up, breasts, legs/thighs) to make up for the market shortfall. Brightonwoods Orchard returns this week with apples and cider and the Ovens of Gracie O’Malley will have their resplendent Easter cookies. After her appearance for St Patrick’s Day, we are fortunate to have Ann Marie Craig from Century Farmhouse Soaps in West Bend back for a second holiday visit. LaClare Farms alternates weeks with Decatur Dairy and this week we will have goat milk, cheese and (perhaps) butter. Amaranth Bakery has concluded their season with us; don’t overlook visiting their nearby Washington Heights location and reading Carol Deptolla’s nice feature article from last week’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
We like to say ‘expect the unexpected’ at our market and we hope you will be pleasantly surprised this week (and next) with several new vendors. I met Emily Watson of Stems Cut Flowers last October at the Tosa Farmers’ Market and was immediately impressed, wondering if there was some way for a winter market to have such lovely locally grown flowers. Well, thanks to the early onset of spring, the answer is YES. Just in time for Easter and Passover you can enjoy narcissus, tulips and lilacs from an earth-friendly flower farm in East Troy. Here is a testimonial from one of Tosa’s key organizers: “We LOVE Emily and her flowers! I have personally bought her bouquets and they are so beautiful and unique and last for so much longer than other bouquets.”
This Week’s Vendor Listing:If there is something you particularly want, don’t overlook the option of preordering by contacting farmers and food producers directly.
Specialty Food Producers: Cocina DeLeon, Aleka’s Kitchen, River Valley Ranch, Wisconsin Soup Company, Thymely Herbals, Eden’s Market, Becky’s Blissful Bakery (caramels) introducing the salted Margarita this week, Mia Famiglia
Bakery: Water House Foods, The Ovens of Gracie O’Malley (Easter butter cookies)
Produce: JenEhr Family Farm, Witte’s Vegetable Market, Springdale Farm, Brightonwoods Orchard
Honey, Maple Syrup, Sorghum: Rolling Meadows Sorghum Mill
Dairy: Saxon Homestead Creamery, LaClare Farms*
Meat: Dominion Valley Farm (pork, beef), Jeff-Leen Farm (beef) Bolzano Artisan Meats (dry-cured sausage), Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms (lamb), BSW Farm (goat)
Game: Golden Bear Monarchs Elk Farm; Lakeview Buffalo Farm
Fish: Rushing Waters Fisheries
Poultry: Jeff-Leen Farm, JenEhr Family Farm, Lakeview Buffalo Farm (smoked chicken), Dominion Valley Farm chicken (whole, cut-up, legs/thighs, breasts) this week and next
Eggs: Jeff-Leen Farm, Lakeview Buffalo Farm, BSW Farm
Oats: Oly’s Oats
Soap: Century Farmhouse*
Flowers: Stems Cut Flowers
Coffee: Valentine Coffee Roasters
*Returning this week