10 Local Farmers' Markets to Kick Off the 2016 Season
As summertime rolls in, so does the great local produce. Start with these 10 spots for veggies, meats, and specialty foods to keep your kitchen so well-stocked you'll almost forget about the grocery store.
I love the summer in New England because it enhances my ability to enjoy awesome local food. Snow may not impede me from getting to restaurants, but now I can pick the berries myself before they end up in my pie. I have more daylight to photograph food in natural light (yay, better food photos!). And best of all, I love exploring summertime farmers’ markets.
Here are 10 of the excellent farmers’ markets in the Greater Boston area, and the best of what to look for at each one. From Worcester to Cape Cod, and even all the way down to Providence, we’ve got you covered with where and when to start finding some of the best local food around. And check back for regular updates from area markets throughout the summer.
1 & 2. Boston Public Market at the Rose Kennedy Greenway
In addition to its indoor location at 100 Hanover Street at Haymarket Station, the Boston Public Market has not one but TWO (2!) open-air markets this summer, one on each side of the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Boston Public Market’s Open Air Market - 136 Blackstone St. Plaza facing the Greenway (outside the Boston Public Market)
Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., from May 18 – November 16
Reasons to swing by this end of the Greenway — and the smaller of the two markets — include Top Shelf Cookies, specialty produce from other cultures at Flats Mentor Farm, and pasture-raised meats and poultry from Stillman Quality Meats.
Dewey Square Farmers Market - Dewey Square Plaza on the Greenway (across from South Station)
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., from May 17 – November 22
At the other end of the Greenway, cool off with a pint of small-batch ice cream from Honeycomb Creamery (just Tuesdays) or nibble on some artisanal breads from When Pigs Fly Bakery. If you’re in a grilling mood, I recently ate an absurd number of sausages — more than I probably should admit — for another assignment, so I have some serious sausage cred when I say that Lilac Hedge Farm’s beef sausage with basil should not be missed.
3. Watertown Farmers’ Market at the Arsenal on the Charles
Between the new restaurants Branch Line and La Casa de Pedro, food trucks on the weekdays, and this here farmers’ market, the Arsenal on the Charles in Watertown is undergoing some sort of culinary metamorphosis. At the market, don’t miss the “tastes like summer” sweet corn ice cream from Tipping Cow (it really does taste like summer!); sauerkraut, firecracker carrots, and dilly beans from Cauldron Fermented Foods (so good, I backed these champs on Kickstarter); tamales from Tex-Mex Eats (which made my recent list of locally-made frozen foods that you should be eating right now) or Ava’s Caramel Popcorn (which I’m so excited to write about for an upcoming article, so you and your sweet tooth should stay tuned).
4. Lexington Farmers’ Market
Named in 2014 by the Daily Meal as one of the 101 best farmers’ markets in the country, the attractions at the Lexington Farmers’ Market include handmade raviolis from Nella Pasta, which won a Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation “Sofi” award for pasta in 2015; small-batch Lebanese food, including hummus, baba ganoush and stuffed grapes from Samira’s Homemade; smoked fish from the Boston Smoked Fish Co.; and certified organic produce from Wright-Locke Farm.
5. Hingham Farmers’ Market
For beautiful views, you can’t beat the waterside market at Hingham Bathing Beach. Offerings include produce from the Second Nature Farm, a 4-acre vegetable farm in Norton; the previously-mentioned Nella Pasta; locally-caught lobsters and fish from CC Lobster & Fish; Asiagio and Fromage Blanc from Foxboro Cheese Co.
6. Wellesley Farmers’ Market
Located on the lawn of the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Wellesley Farmers’ Market is anchored by the fresh produce from Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm. Town Farm Gardens has your condiments covered with pickles, jams, relishes, salsas and mustards. To satiate your sugar cravings, you want the creative chocolates at Fixx Chocolates; tahini candy at Halvah Heaven; and the macarons, crème brûlée, and cannelé at Room 4 Desserterie.
7. Natick Farmers’ Market
The year-round farmers’ market in Natick will move from the Common Street Spirituality Center outdoors to the Natick Common with almost 50 food vendors and six to eight crafters, the latter of which will rotate each week from a list of more than 150. Stroll through and get some produce from the aforementioned Tangerini Spring Street Farm and Flats Mentor Farm; bagels from Bagel Alley; cookies and more from Cookie Lady Treats; Peruvian cakes, cookies and other sweets from Doris’ Peruvian Pastries; and popovers from the Popover Lady (who appeared earlier this year in our popover article).
8. Canal District Farmers’ Market (Worcester)
This farmers’ market in Worcester operates year-round on Saturday mornings and adds Thursday nights during the height of the summer. Fill up on traditional Polish filled dumplings from Jaju Pierogi, grab some meat and poultry from Open Meadow Farm, and get in touch with your inner interior decorator by sprucing up your dining room table with flowers from Fivefork Farms.
Canal District Farmers’ Market - Crompton Place, 138 Green St., Worcester, canaldistrictfarmersmarket.com — Facebook
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., year-round; and Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., in July and August
9. Orleans Farmers’ Market
Going into its 23rd season, the winner of a Cape Cod Life Magazine award in 2015 for best farmers’ market has 42 vending spaces this summer. Check out the range of organic produce as well as eggs and pork products at Cape Cod Organic Farm, and then buy some artisanal sea salt from Wellfleet Sea Salt Company to add that extra flair to your meals. For an indulgent chilly treat, try ice cream from the Local Scoop; if you’re feeling more healthy, the Local Juice offers cold-pressed juices made with local and organic ingredients.
10. Hope Street Farmers’ Market (Providence)
Okay, so we’re venturing outside of MA for this one, but good food is worth the trip. Rhode Island packs some serious food game for such a tiny state. The Hope Street Farmers’ Market, located in Lippitt Memorial Park at the corner of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, showcases some of the area’s best on Saturdays and Wednesdays: Wishing Stone Farm produce (both days); the Local Catch’s fresh and sustainably-caught seafood (both days); Narraganset Creamery cheeses (both days); and the Humble Pie (Saturdays), which won Rhode Island Monthly’s best pie award in 2015.