FRESH TAKE

Written By: Robert Cocuzzo | Photography By: Kit Noble

Pip & Anchor revolutionizes eating local on Nantucket.

Although the health benefits of eating a local, seasonal diet have been widely touted, the day-to-day difficulties of sourcing fresh meats, fish, produce and spices can be a lot to digest, especially on Nantucket. But now thanks to a new mid-island market, Pip & Anchor, connecting with some of the region’s local farmers and small-batch producers has never been easier. Located in the former space of Annye’s Whole Foods on Amelia Drive, Pip & Anchor is the brainchild of former Select Board member Rita Higgins, Chef Mayumi Hattori and veteran restaurant manager Chris Sleeper. Together, they’re executing a vision that is not only providing the island with more fresh foods, but also empowering farmers, artisans and other producers.

Last year, when Higgins began identifying the challenges local farmers and producers were facing in connecting with consumers, she launched an online market where folks on Nantucket could order foods and goods sourced within a hundred miles of the island. The concept took off. Now having joined forces with Hattori and Sleeper, Higgins has expanded the online marketplace concept into a brick-and-mortar market that they describe as a “dynamic community food space.”

Chris Sleeper and Chef Mayumi Hattori

“Pip & Anchor will be a one-stop shop for your weekly groceries,” describes Higgins, “having the feel of a quaint New England general store with the beauty and ease of a farmers market.” While the team continues to build out their space on Amelia Drive, Pip & Anchor has become a portal for accessing fresh foods from near and far. “Our mission is to build a healthy community by reconnecting them to local food and goods,” says Higgins. “We are currently an online farmers market open on Mondays featuring local food and goods from small farms, makers, local bakeries and more.”

By logging on to Pip & Anchor’s virtual farmers market each Monday, consumers order items that will be available for pickup that Friday. Local farms include Pumpkin Pond Farm, Washashore Farm, Moors End Farm, Harvest Garden, Cisco’s Secret Farm, Fog Town Farm and HortiCuts. “Just this week, we have twenty Nantucket producers and seventy local producers from within a hundred miles,” says Sleeper. “And we want to keep expanding that.”

In addition to serving as a full grocery store offering hyperlocal and seasonal foods, the Pip & Anchor space will eventually feature a dining area for casual lunches and weekly dinners helmed by Chef Hattori. “It’s farm-to-fork eating that you can have casually in our space, in the comfort of your own home and eventually in a more formal dining setting,” says Chef Hattori. “It’s food that gives you a connection to where and who it came from.” Formerly the executive chef at The Club Car, Hattori was a semifinalist last year in the world-renowned James Beard Awards. “We want to give people a sense of place that extends beyond clam chowder and lobster rolls,” Chef Hattori says of her menu. “There’s so many wonderful things that are grown and made here by such a diverse group of people and we should celebrate that.”

Rita Higgins

But Pip & Anchor’s vision isn’t limited to connecting farmers and producers with consumers, or creating a true farm-to-fork dining experience; they also want to address the plight of food insecurity on the island. “Even in the best of times, many of our neighbors struggle to feed their families every night,” says Sleeper, pointing to a study that found that one in five children on Nantucket do not know where their next meal is coming from. “It is time to ensure that we can provide adequate food resources to our entire community, now and into the future. We want to do that by making local, quality food accessible to all.” Partnering with the Health Imperatives nonprofit, Pip & Anchor curates boxes of fresh local foods for families in need. Customers can then pay these boxes forward through Pip & Anchor’s “Send It” program. “We are creating this space for all,” says Higgins. “A place that is meant to serve our whole community.”

Place your order at PipandAnchor.com or stop by their location on 14 Amelia Drive.

Written By
More from Robert Cocuzzo

THE WAY OF THE FALCONER

Emerging from his quaint cottage in ’Sconset, Tom Mulholland has the look...
Read More