The Open Market
If you bake it, pickle it, ferment it, scoop it, grill it, or frost it, they will come. At least that’s the way it looks every weekend afternoon at the Brooklyn Flea and Hester Street Fair, every Sunday at Fulton Stall Market, once a month at New Amsterdam Market, and even in the posh environs of the Cooper Square Hotel garden, where Faustina chef Scott Conant recently started hawking his private-label tomato sauce and $5 bags of Stromboli (25 Cooper Sq., at 5th St.; next date July 31, 1 to 7 p.m.). New York, it’s safe to say, is swept up in market fever, fueled by career-changing cooks and cupcake-happy hobbyists catering to the insatiable appetite for the artisanal, the handmade, and the quaintly packaged. The Brooklyn Flea, a culinary destination after just two years, is still the place to go for Salvatore Bklyn cannoli, and brands-in-the-making like the Good Batch stroopwafels. On New Amsterdam Market days (monthly July and August, weekly September 12 to December 19), the Underground Gourmet likes to leg it down to the Seaport and slurp up some Bent Spoon sorbet, or tuck into something sustainably beefy or porky from Marlow & Daughters (chili come fall, we hope), while stocking up on exotica like Finnish ruis bread and spelt linguine. Over at Hester Street Fair in the Seward Park Co-op, there’s a sort of perverse pleasure to be had in chasing a pulled-pork sandwich with a vegan sandwich cookie. But our favorite edible expedition of late has been to the Red Hook Mercado (Mercadito would be more accurate), an intimate, lushly landscaped lot out in the Brooklyn boonies, where itinerant foodies and windswept locals commune over pupusas and sopes griddled up by moonlighting vendors from the nearby ball fields (410 Van Brunt St., nr. Van Dyke St.; Saturday and Sunday noon to 9 p.m.).