Charlotte Gets A Taste Of Taste
The old post office on Ferry Road in Charlotte used to house the Flying Pig Bookstore, until that business moved to bigger digs in Shelburne. Two years went by, and last Tuesday the building reopened as the Little Garden Market. Now, if you find a piggy on the premises, it won’t be on the wing: Instead, its ribs may be braised and smothered in maple blackberry barbecue sauce and its chops marinated and ready for the grill.
Owner Rick Benson is on the job. Although the market’s makeover is still in progress — pantry staples, miniature Bundt cakes, house-smoked scallops and racks of artisan breads are soon to come — the chef-owner of Burlington’s Taste restaurant is already hard at work scooping up marinated mushrooms and potato salad for customers and hand-cutting Wood Creek Farm steaks. “We’re doing restaurant-quality prepared foods to go, lots of goodies,” Benson explains. Since the new store doesn’t have its own kitchen, all of the food is prepared at Taste and delivered to Charlotte.
Even though the LGM didn’t have a sign for the first few days, an “Open” flag did the trick: “Seventy people stopped by in the first five hours,” Benson recalls, “mostly locals.” Not all of them took home edibles, but a bunch “just came in to say thank you. I’ve heard that 100 times already in the first few days. It’s kind of humbling.” Move over, Old Brick Store.
A quick peek around the property shows that there’s currently no garden, but one is planned for next year. “We have one off of the Spear Street Extension now,” Benson dishes. What are they growing? Lots of herbs, edible flowers and 10 kinds of heirloom tomatoes. “It’s great to support the local farmers, but I love to grow my own.”
For now, the LGM is open from 10 to 6, but in a few days, when he’s got new staffers to help out, Benson plans to stay open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What’s new at Taste? Mead. This Thursday at 7, the resto will sample the honeyed beverage from Honey Gardens in Ferrisburgh. It’ll be paired with jazz music by Will Andrews and his ensemble.