When the Brooklyn Flea launched a year ago on an asphalt schoolyard in Fort Greene, no one expected it to become a dining destination—never mind a springboard for the fledgling careers of the food vendors who gravitated there. But in the case of purveyors like Nunu Chocolates, which has opened an Atlantic Avenue shop, and Whimsy & Spice, whose cookies were picked up by Dean & DeLuca, that’s exactly what happened. The Flea, in fact, has become something of an incubator for micro-batch, locally made products, from pickles to ice pops (and a popular satellite operation for three Latin American food vendors from the Red Hook ball fields). Although the Flea’s indoor location will continue to operate Sundays in Dumbo, the flagship Flea, located at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School on Lafayette Avenue, between Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenues, begins its al fresco season on Saturday, April 18, with a full contingent of returning food stands. Wafels & Dinges will debut its new truck, Blue Marble plans to start hand-packing pints of organic ice cream in about a month, and Salvatore Bklyn, Flea scuttlebutt has it, just might be toying around with a fresh mozzarella. Joining them on a rotating basis is a handful of new vendors, with big dreams and fresh product. Go hungry.
Elsa Venticinque is an accomplished home cook and Colombian native who learned the empanada art from her Argentine husband. She’s also the mom of a Flea craft vendor, who hooked her up at the market. What to expect: a delicately flaky baked pastry stuffed with ground beef, olives, raisins, and hard-boiled egg. ($3, two for $5)
Domestic-dairy maid Anne Saxelby brings the Flea its first artisanal grilled cheese: a rotating pick from Vermont’s Consider Bardwell Farm (Pawlet to start) and McClure’s spicy pickles, pressed inside a Tom Cat Bakery focaccia. ($5)
Miss Amy’s Preserves
Stage manager turned jam-maker (and Long Island farmer’s market vet) Amy Acierno debuted her tart, tangy preserves, made from locally and regionally sourced fruit, in Dumbo, and relocates to Fort Greene this week. ($6.50)
Culinary-school grads Liz Gutman and Jen King take a playful approach to their candy bars and bonbons, melding a retro aesthetic with an artisanal slant in confections like a rum-enhanced coconut-and-lime bar (above) and gossamer honeycomb candies. ($5)
Early Bird Foods & Co.
Nekisia Davis tested her granola on the staff at Franny’s, where she’s general manager, and got such raves that she decided to rent commercial kitchen space and go public. What to expect: three varieties, all made with organic oats and coconut, Vermont maple syrup, and extra-virgin olive oil. ($8)