This will be the second summer season for About Food, a cute little shop on Main Street in downtown Southold, where the focus is on quality products made right here on the North Fork as well as from around the world. The store’s tagline is “Artful Provisions, Tasteful Advice,” and proprietor GP Lane is generous with stories, recipes, and information on all his products.
“My goal is to provide my customers with local, national, and international products of high quality to step up their home cooking game,” he says.
Many of the local products About Food offers are from the Farmers Kitchen in Riverhead, a new commercial kitchen operation founded by Mark and Emily Zaweski, who also operate MKZ Farms in Jamesport. They use their own produce, as well as that of other local growers, to produce jams, jellies, salad dressings, pickled vegetables, pestos, sauces, oils, vinegars and more.
Later in the spring and summer, About Food will also carry herb plant seedlings for sale.
“Dried herbs are fine, but fresh herbs are better,” Lane says.
He also hopes to get a refrigerated case this season, so he can carry some of the fresh, prepared foods made at the Farmer’s Kitchen, like vegetable and quinoa salads. This summer will bring salsa verde, tomato sauce, and beet green and fennel frond pestos, which flew off the shelves last year.
The shop is open Thursday through Monday year-round and has attracted a steady clientele of customers out for the weekend or the season. It also carries fresh vegetables in season (asparagus is coming soon!) as well as eggs from Dart’s Christmas Tree farm, also in Southold.
“They’re high in omega threes and protein,” Lane says of the eggs.
The store also sells houseplants, shirts, vintage plates, cookware and household decor, as well as art, some by Lane himself on driftwood and other found wood. He’s a man of many talents, as he’ll tell you himself. “I cook a better meatball than my mother,” he admits.
There’s always music playing on the record player, and you can find him on Wednesday nights MCing and performing at the open mic night down the street at Taps and Corks. He produces a line of mustards only available at the shop, that he makes at another local commercial kitchen, using local tarragon when he can get it. Other flavors include beer, champagne and honey.
About Food also carries certified organic, non-GMO, kosher, and gluten-free products. There’s tea, beans, flax seeds, ghee, Italian citrus juice, Backyard Brine pickles, and lots more to stock your pantry with. Lane uses all the products himself and can tell you how the rice penne holds up in macaroni and cheese (well!) and how to use the blood orange juice in a dressing for a fig and fennel salad.
As I leave the shop, a regular comes in to get a customized gift basket for a friend. “It’s the best store in the village,” she says.