Lugging crates of pineapples and 50-pound bags of russet potatoes down the dock, up the gangway and into the galley is no easy feat no matter where you are in the world, but some marinas make hauling provisions – and finding them in the first place – a little easier. Whether it is eager help from dockhands, a well-stocked market inside the marina gates, or simply relative proximity to the tasty food you need, here are a few of the best marinas – for provisioning – to find yourself berthed in:
1. Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas, USVI: It's only a short walk up the hill to one of the best vegetable shops in the Virgin Islands. The Fruit Bowl in St. Thomas stocks the freshest vegetables south of Miami. The store has just expanded, resulting in triple the space for seafood, meat, cheese and organics. David and James will order specifically for you and deliver right to the marina, then Yacht Haven Grande’s service-oriented dock crew will drive your order to the boat in their golf carts and help you unload. It doesn’t get any easier or friendlier in the islands.
2. Old Port Cannes, Cannes, France – Trailing your bundle buggy behind you, it's just a few steps from the dock, over the road and through the Petanque court to one of the best markets in Europe. Marche Forville is where you can hunt for fresh, woodsy morels, olives de Provence or creamy Saint Marcellin. The shops surrounding the market also have some of the sweetest and softest smoked salmon and my crew’s favorite rotisserie chickens (they've been talking about them all season and are threatening mutiny if we don’t return).
3. Marina Taina, Tahiti, French Polynesia – Whether you are headed to Carrefour down the street or into Pape’ete to the market, you will pass Iorna, the Polynesian woman draped in a colorful and bright pareo selling mangoes, papaya and star fruit from the trees in her backyard. You can’t miss her stand; she’ll be the one singing. Your fruit salad will never taste as good as it does in paradise thanks to Iorna.
4. Burnham Harbor, Chicago, U.S.A. – You’ll have a perfect early-morning view of the skyline as you drive the short distance from this marina on the southern end of Lakeshore Drive to the Green City Market every Wednesday and Saturday. Don’t be surprised to find yourself elbowing chef/restaurateur Charlie Trotter out of the way in your quest for that perfect tree-ripe peach or cutting in front of TV chef Gale Gand to procure a jar of local honey. After the rental car’s trunk is full, you can stop at Fox and Obel on your way home for freshly baked artisan breads, a selection of the world’s finest cheeses and hand-crafted chocolates. Or stay onboard and take advantage of Fox and Obel’s free delivery service – but be warned, it won't stop you from sampling their mouthwatering displays.
5. Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain: Walking to the local market early in the morning is one of the perks of provisioning in Europe, but from this marina, there’s an added benefit – the stroll takes you along the beach. Fresh veggies, thin slices of Iberico ham on baguette, café solo and a view of the sunrise makes this a favorite marina for provisioning.
Fellow Dockwalk.com contributor Di Thompson, adds:
6. Marina Oceanus, Gold Coast Australia – This recently renovated marina hosts a brilliant market every first and third Sunday of the month with delicious produce, pastries, exotic breads and spreads, and the freshest aromatic coffees and teas. Every stall has all its delectable delicacies on display to try before you buy.
What’s your favorite marina to provision in? Any fabulous nearby shops chefs should know about?
Mama Marina (Article, Dockwalk June 2009)
Transatlantic Provisioning Tips (20/04/2009)
Radical Requests - What the Elite Eat (11/02/09)
Apples, Oranges and Chanel? Designer Produce (28/11/09)
Provisioning in Caribbean (25/10/09)