Ocean City summer resident Carol Brame wandered through the Ocean City Farmers Market on a recent Wednesday, on a mission to track down Tony's Farm Table.
Stopping suddenly, Brame peered over the crowd waiting in line in front of a table and called out, "Is this where I can get the Brussels sprout pizza?"
The response was, "Yes," and Brame happily made her way to the back of the long line. When it was her turn to order, she said to the server, "I saw people eating this all over the market, and it looked so good. I asked them where they got it, and they pointed this way and said, 'All they way down there,' so I'm here."
Taking her first bite of the fresh-from-the-oven flatbread pizza, which was smothered with roasted Brussels sprouts, truffle butter and smoked gouda cheese, Brame closed her eyes to take in the flavors, and said, "I'm at a loss for words, it's so good."
Tony's Farm Table is a farmers market subsidiary of Tony Boloney's, the pizzeria owned by chef Mike Hauke in Atlantic City's South Inlet neighborhood.
Tony's Farm Table travels the farm market loop, selling homemade mozzarella and burrata cheeses and gourmet, ready-to-eat flatbread pizza slices, which come in more than 100 varieties, varying week to week. The most popular flatbread is the Old Man Brooklyn Pie, Hauke said, which is "almost like a tomato pie or margherita pie, but made with homemade marinara that cooks for hours and hours and hours - 12 hours total - topped with our fresh mozzarella and herbs."
This summer, Tony's Farm Table is a vendor at the Ocean City Farmers Market on Wednesdays, the Margate Community Farmers Market on Thursdays and the Stone Harbor Farmers Market on Sundays.
Hauke said he joined the local farmers market circuit four summers ago when Cookie Till, the manager of the Margate Community Farmers Market and the owner of Steve and Cookie's restaurant in Margate, learned he made mozzarella from scratch and invited him to become a vendor.
Looking back to his first summer at the Margate farmers market, Hauke admits he had no idea what he was in for, and he didn't foresee his farm table becoming as popular as it has, with a constant line and an empty table each week.
His farm stand was such a hit, Hauke decided to create a farm market subsidiary of Tony Boloney's, Tony's Farm Table. Its website, tonysfarmtable.com, lists its farmer market schedule and weekly menu, including the types of flatbreads and cheeses to be offered.
Rose Savastano, co-manager of the Ocean City Farmers Market, works with the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the farmers market. She said that every year, Tony's Farm Table is one of the most popular vendors at the Ocean City market.
"People come back year after year looking for him," Savastano said. "We'd never have the farmers market without Mike (Hauke.)"
Hauke said loves his farmers market people, too.
"Same goes for us. Every year, I can't wait for market season," he said, as he pulled an arugula flatbread out of the oven in his food truck, which was parked directly behind his farm table. "Coming out hot, an arugula pie smoked with our mozzarella, tossed with fresh lemon juice, Sicilian olive oil, pecorino and a little smoked sea salt."
The line suddenly grew a little longer.
Contact Elisa Lala:
Tony's Farm Table schedule
Wednesday: Ocean City Farmers Market, 550 Wesley Ave. on the grounds of Ocean City Tabernancle. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays through Sept. 4.
Thursday: Margate Community Farmers Market, 9700 Amherst Ave.Hours are 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 29.
Sunday: Stone Harbor Farmers Market, in the Water Tower Parking Lot located on 95th Street between Second and Third avenues. Hours are 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 22.