Locavores Rejoice! Boston Gets a Public Market (Pastrami and Pickles Included)
So much local food, so little stomach space.
One of the perks of being a pregnant food editor is you can assign yourself pieces which require eating your way through an entire food hall. When said food hall is the new Boston Public Market, filled with locally made and produced treats, including portable s’mores, creamy clam chowder and fresh-from-the-fryer donuts—well, then you just count your blessings.
Of course, there are plenty of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, cold-pressed juices and other healthy treats, too. It just so happened, on this particular day, that my cravings led me toward some of the more indulgent offerings. Here are some highlights from my hyper-local food crawl.
Any good crawl starts with a thorough survey of the offerings. My husband Artie and I had every intention of making the rounds before buying anything. But then a nice lady at Sweet Lydia's convinced us to try a sample of their marshmallows, and all bets were off. The company makes all kinds of hand-crafted confections, from candy bars and caramels to toffee, and my personal favorite, s'mores. Meant to be eaten at room temperature, these s'mores involve a tidy little square sandwich of graham crackers and soft homemade marshmallow dipped in chocolate. We opted for one with an added layer of caramel goodness—you know, just a little appetizer. When our new friend mentioned that they offer a s'more of the month club, I took off before temptation could get the best of me.
More info: sweetlydias.com
Beantown Pastrami Company
Artie is a sucker for a good meaty sandwich, so he made a beeline to the Beantown Pastrami Company. Though Joe Langhan outsources the curing, he buys all the meat from New England family farms, and piles it high on rye bread with a slick of mustard (and cheese, if that's your thing). Sandwiches come with a couple of half-sour pickles, perfect for cutting through the deliciously rich meat. Langham spent many years working in New York, and he knows a thing or two about real pastrami. It shows.
More info: beantownpastrami.com
I have a theory that Boston tourists are going to judge the market on the quality of its chowder, so I decided to put on my critic's cap and order a cup at Red's Best, which offers sparkling seafood from local fisherman and prepared foods like lobster salad and fried clams. All I have to say is, they did good. The chowder was thick and creamy without being gloppy, the clams fresh and plentiful and the sizeable $5 cup felt like a real deal. Find yourself a seat at one of the market tables, rip open that pack of oyster crackers and settle in to New England in a (paper) bowl.
More info: redsbest.com
Red Apple Farm
It's fall, in case you needed an excuse to eat the cinnamon-sugary fried goodness that is an apple cider donut. Red Apple Farm serves up an adorable miniature version of these seasonal treats all year long. They also sell plenty of produce from their family farm in Phillipston. Don't forget fresh apple cider to wash down your donuts.
More info: redapplefarm.com
Wolf Meadow Farm
I was so excited to see that Christina Barbieri from Wolf Meadow Farm was here sampling out fresh mozzarella and wrapping up balls of red pepper scamorza. I spent a whole day last year watching cheesemaker Luca Mignogna, Barbieri's business partner, practice his art at their location in Amesbury for a story I wrote for The Boston Globe. Mignogna gets up extra early to visit his ladies, the cows that produce the milk which goes into his glorious handmade cheeses. Barbieri works just as hard keeping up the business end of things so that her partner can focus on what he does best. I bit into this ball of scamorza on the car ride home because I couldn't wait to get back and cut myself a slice, like a civilized person. I'm going to blame this one on the pregnancy.
Locally grown produce
As I mentioned in the intro, this foodfest wasn't exactly on the healthy side, but one of the best parts about the Boston Public Market is the abundance of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, especially this time of year! Here's a complete list of produce people you'll find at the market: