Sometimes when you’re at a farmers market, you look at all the great stuff from local farms and you just want to cut off a hunk of this and a slice of that to make yourself a sandwich.
That might get you in trouble with the various farmers, so it might be safer to go to The Farm Stand in South Portland and let them do it for you.
The market in South Portland’s up-and-coming Knightville neighborhood offers produce from Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth and has a butcher’s counter with grass-fed beef, pastured pork and lamb and free-range poultry from farms all over Maine.
But if you can’t wait to get those ingredients home and make something yourself, you can saunter in any day between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when lunch is served.
The Farm Stand usually offers three made-to-order sandwiches. Two are creative, adult-sized sandwiches for about $6.95. One is a slightly simpler kid’s sandwich for $5.95. It says kid’s on the menu board, but the staff will tell you anyone can get it. There are also two hot soups everyday. Plus, the market has chips, things to drink and various house-made salads.
The day I went, they were offering a house-smoked ham sandwich with cheddar cheese, smoked jalapeño mayo, daikon radish and pickled carrot on a bun. They also had a sandwich of hummus, cranberry mayo, Swiss cheese, pickle, watermelon radish, tomato and cucumber on whole wheat. Both were $6.95. The kid’s sandwich was ham, mayo and cheddar on a bun.
I picked the house-smoked ham sandwich. While the counter staff was making it, I browsed the soup offerings in two big self-serve pots. One was a roasted vegetable stew with tomato, squash, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, fennel, sherry, cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper. All of those ingredients were conveniently written on a little chalkboard, so customers would know exactly what they were getting.
The other soup offering was a chili with grass-fed beef, smoked pork ribs, peppers, celery, onion, tomato, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, scallion, ramen broth, white bean broth and a few other things. I picked a 12-ounce cup of the roast vegetable stew for $4.95.
The stew had a thick, tangy tomato base with a ton of vegetables. I’m not the biggest Brussels sprouts fan, but the tiny wedges in the stew were delicious. Even without meat it was a hearty and tasty dish.
The sandwich also had some things I’m not usually big on, like daikon radish and pickled carrot. But both worked really well and overall the sandwich was one of the best I’ve had. The slices of ham were thin and smoky. The thick slice of carrot was a little crunchy, as were the radishes. The jalapeño mayo gave it just enough heat.
And the bun was freshly baked with a little dusting of flour on the outside. It was crusty enough but soft inside.
By browsing The Farm Stand’s Facebook page, I noticed other sandwiches I’d like to try. One is roast beef, cheddar, pickled carrot, cranberry sauce and mayo on a bun. Another is Tuscan pork, cheddar cheese, apple chutney, lettuce and mayo on whole wheat. Some other soups on the daily menu board have included potato stew, beef mushroom, ham and vegetable and sausage chili.
The Farm Stand is close to Mill Creek Park, so in nice weather it’s a great place to get takeout and then park on a bench to eat.
In winter, it’s location works in reverse. Go for a skate on the frozen pond at the park, then stroll over to The Farm Stand for soup to warm you.
WHERE: 161 Ocean St., South Portland; 805-1481
HOURS: Soups and sandwiches available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
WAIT: About five minutes
PARKING: Yes, in a lot on the side of the building
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes