This week is National Farmers Market Week (August 4-11), sponsored by the Farmers Market Coalition. Their goal is to highlight how valuable farmers markets are to communities through events, outreach, and publicity.
It happens to coincide with Massachusetts Eat Local Month, sponsored by the Sustainable Business Network. It’s a fitting time for us to highlight two of our farmers markets from the perspective of our farmers market managers!
Boston Public Market At Seaport
Wednesdays | 11:30 – 6:30 | 60 Seaport Blvd.
Starting a new farmers market, especially in the city, is a truly unique and rewarding experience. We all have our routines, and for high-rise dwellers working in a concrete jungle, farm-fresh food and their producers rarely find their way into the cityscape.
Watching the way BPM at Seaport has broken through and disrupted the day-to-day has been one of my favorite parts of managing the market this season. Watching passersby pause typing on their phones or put discussions with colleagues on hold to look up in wide-eyed wonderment at the sea of tents wedged between a T stop and a highway feels to me like the crux of urban farmers markets. Simply by setting up our tents each week, we are able to show that fresh, local food can have a place in urban life.
While we have continued to be greeted weekly by newcomers stumbling excitedly upon the market for the first time, we have also watched people transform into regulars. What mere weeks ago had jolted them out of their routine is now quickly becoming a staple of their commutes.
And this brings me to my other favorite part of the market—the community and the continual exchange of knowledge. I approach Stillman’s every week and ask Delroy about a plant I’ve never seen before, and without fail he knows what it is, why it’s special, and how to eat it. Every Wednesday morning when I struggle to get my tent up (which is a quarter the size of everyone else’s), I can count on Nate from When Pigs Fly to come to my aid. Despite the rain, wind, and generally wacky Boston weather throws at us, I show up every Wednesday knowing I’ll be greeted by the smiles of vendors who are passionate about what they do.
And this community extends to customers as well. We have customers who, after hearing Jules (Chestnut Farms) explain exactly how they raise their animals, have come back repeatedly, offering suggestions of how best to cook lamb chop and reporting back on their ground turkey experiments.
Seeing a market through its inaugural season can be tough—there aren’t the crowds of a more seasoned market and our presence isn’t as widely known. But what I get to do is help plant the seeds of awareness, and watch this community around food grow. I see people stumble upon the market for the first time, not knowing that farm-fresh food in the Seaport was even a possibility. I notice they come back week after week to chat with their favorite vendors and exchange recipes. I feel so grateful to be able to work with incredibly dedicated people and facilitate a space for this community to grow.
Boston Public Market At Dewey Square
Tuesdays & Thursdays | 11:30 – 6:30 | Across from South Station
To me, the best part about Dewey Square is that it attracts all sorts of customers, each with their own unique connection to the market and our vendors. Many are commuters who rely on quick bites like a pint of berries from Kimball Fruit Farm, a cup of frozen custard from Abbott’s, cookies from Top Shelf Cookies or a pretzel from swissbäkers to keep them going through their day. For others, Dewey is the destination for their weekly grocery haul where they find fresh, local produce from our four amazing farms – Lane Gardens, Kimball Fruit Farm, Yellow Deli, and Freitas Farms – freshly caught Fish from Red’s Best and pasture raised eggs and meat from Chestnut Farms & Lilac Hedge Farm! What I enjoy most about the Farmers Market is it gives city dwellers the unique opportunity to connect one-on-one with local farmers and develop a greater sense of connection with our local food system.
We’re so excited to grow our Dewey community this year by welcoming five new vendors! Get your caffeine fix from MOJO Cold Brewed Coffee offering responsibly sourced 100% Arabica coffee with 190mg of caffeine per bottle! Quench your thirst on a hot day with an ice cold Del’s Frozen Lemonade. Chat with City Compost to learn all about the benefits of composting and their weekly pickup service. Take home a wide variety of allergen-free baked goods from Jennifer Lee’s Bakery or a pack of hard cider from Pony Shack Cider, which sources all of their apples from local orchards and is constantly experimenting with new seasonal flavors!
I’m constantly amazed by the passion and commitment of our vendors. They show up rain-or-shine every week, eager to connect with customers and share their craft. I urge you to stop by, chat with any of our 20+ vendors and experience the market for yourself!