Forget the Supermarket Madness with Local Farmers Markets

Posted August 27, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Downtown Boston
Boston Public Markets

If I see another Market Basket story I’m going to scream. But I gotta get my lacinato kale, sweet corn and crisp apples, so off to market I go, ironically with my basket. But as I consider the shlep out to MB or Stop & Shop, I wonder if there’s a better way for downtown residents. As it turns out, yes there is. Buy local.

Why get caught up in the supermarket madness, not to mention the inability to stock truly fresh produce, and instead hit the farmers markets downtown?

We all know about the beloved Haymarket, Boston’s centuries-old open air market. You can stroll the crowded aisles with a bag and stock up on the best fresh produce, fish and cheese deals you’ve ever seen. Sidenote: don’t get mad if you just finish handing over $2 for a 5lb bag of peppers when you see $1 sign just ahead at the next vendor’s table. It happens.

Since Haymarket is only a Saturday/Sunday affair, if you want to save your weekends for squeezing in the last beach day or for a leaf peeping autumn trip, there are two week day farmer’s markets you should check out.

Through November 26, The Boston Public Market (BPM) runs seasonal farmers markets along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. These aren’t your mama’s fruits stands. There are over 30 local producers bringing you everything under the sun–farm fresh organic produce; meat, poultry, and eggs; cheese and dairy; fish; bread and baked goods; plants and flowers; and specialty foods, including several “grab-and-go” lunch options.

According to the BPM, its mission is “to develop and operate a permanent year-round market in Boston that provides fresh, healthy food to consumers of all income levels and nourishes our community.” And that it does. Just look at all that colorful and fresh food.

Fresh Fruit Boston Farmers Market

Fresh fruit is available at Boston Farmers Markets.

When you get to the either of the two locations of the bustling rain-or-shine markets, end of summer translates into huge bounties of apples, blueberries, sunflowers and green beans, just to name a few. Those Whole Foods salad bars ain’t got nothing on this place. Purveyors such as Rhode Island Mushrooms (they had the most amazing pink oyster mushrooms last week), Red Fire Farm, Kimball Fruit Farm and Freitas Farm kick out some serious produce, from arugula to zucchini and every rutabaga in between.

Setting the table for a hearty dinner later in the week? Grab a bouquet from Stow Greenhouses for centerpiece status, then check out the smoked salmon and bluefish from Matt’s the Amazing Smokehouse (one of my favorites) and chicken and pork from Lilac Hedge Farm. Find just the right seasonings, perhaps lemon balm, sorrel mint or marjoram, and soak up the juices from your finished entree with a huge mound of homemade bread from When Pigs Fly Bakery or Violette Gluten Free.

There’s also something a little fun that you can expect that Shaw’s and MB never had – things like their Cookbook Author Series, the best tomato contests and live music. How’s that for making grocery shopping a little more fun?

Boston Public Market on the Greenway (136 Blackstone Street) is held Mondays and Wednesdays from 11am to 6pm, while the Dewey Square market location across from South Station is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30am to 6:30pm. For a more year-round approach to good food, you can look forward to a more permanent solution when the BPM opens a 28,000 square foot enclosed market in early 2015.

What will you do with your bounty?


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