The best sandwich I’ve eaten in months didn’t come from a sandwich shop. It came from Farmers & Artisans, the year-round indoor farmers’ market that’s part specialty foods store and part takeout counter.
Formerly in Williamsville, its new location is Main Street in Snyder. The sunny, airy space is lined with photos of local and regional farmers who supply the store. Owner Julie Blackman, of Blackman Homestead Farm, serves a brief but well-executed seasonal lunch menu of sandwiches, soups and salads that incorporate many of the shop’s meats, cheeses and produce. There also is a breakfast sandwich served on weekends.
A co-worker and I stopped in recently for lunch, ordered sandwiches and picked them up minutes later at the open kitchen counter. There are a few café tables if you want to plunk down and eat, and we chose to sit and watch the stream of customers go in and out.
I tried the sliced roast beef on bretzel Roll ($9), and it was shove-it-into-your-face-and-forget-to-breathe good.
It sported all the components that an excellent sandwich should: great bread (a freshly baked “breztel roll,” or pretzel bun with ’wecklike chunks of salt on top); a generous portion of tender, well-seasoned meat (grass-fed beef); and a judicious schmear of tangy cheese – in this case, horseradish chevre from First Light Creamery. The richness was offset by a ripe tomato slice, peppery arugula and sweet, caramelized onions.
The sandwich wasn’t overly messy or difficult to eat, either. There’s nothing worse than a tasty filling hiding between two huge, rock-hard buns. Or, conversely, a fistful of slippery innards barely held in place by soggy morsels of bread. This one had the ratio down, and it disappeared fast.
I also ordered the daily soup ($3.75 for 12 ounces), which was black bean. It came in a takeout container with a satisfyingly chewy hunk of house-baked baguette. Like all the sandwich breads, it was baked in-house.
The soup was piping hot and creamy, but needed seasoning. We didn’t see any communal salt and pepper among the coffee fixings and napkin holders along a wall, but eventually the kitchen handed us a plastic tub from their pantry. Since lunch service is relatively new, this didn’t bother me, but I’m hoping it won’t be needed next time.
My co-worker’s Camembert-apple sandwich ($9), served on a “rustic” ciabatta-style roll, was delicious in a different way. It came perfectly toasted with the pungent, gooey French cheese and a roll that crackled with each bite. Balancing the cheese was thin, crisp slices of local Fuji apple and a layer of tart cherry-almond butter, which Blackman’s family makes and sells at the market.
I also couldn’t resist a strawberry scone ($3) from the dessert case. It was enormous, dense with butter and disappeared swiftly.
Other sandwiches include a hummus wrap ($7); grilled caprese ($7.50); turkey club ($9) with pickled shallot and avocado; a Cuban sandwich ($9) with pastured pulled pork, smoked ham and housemade pickles; and a meatball sub ($9) with herbed ricotta.
The heritage pork comes from T-Meadow Farm in Lockport or the Finger Lakes, Blackman said, and the grass-fed beef is from Plato Dale Farm in Wyoming County.
Made-to-order breakfast sandwiches ($5) served on Saturday and Sunday mornings come with a soft market roll and any combination of egg, First Light cheddar, sausage from Avenue Boys and a dollop of Blackman’s Homestead Chili Sauce.
There are also three salads for takeout ($8, or $10 with chicken): veggie with fresh mozzarella and housemade vinaigrette; apple walnut with chevre; and a Caesar with “croissant croutons” (made from the house croissants) and Toma Celena, an Italian-style cheese by Cooperstown Cheese Co.
Bottom line: With attention to high-quality, scratch ingredients, Farmers & Artisans makes sandwiches you want to eat, and the menu works well for a light lunch or a quick bite on the go. Plus, you can pick up a warm loaf of sourdough and quart of cherries on your way out.
Farmers & Artisans: 3.5 pennies
Where: 4557 Main St., Snyder (633-2830, www.farmersandartisans.com)
Hours: Takeout lunch is served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Breakfast sandwiches are served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The market is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair access: One step in front, and ground-level access at the side entrance.
Parking: Street parking and rear lot on Bernhardt Drive.