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Produce in Melrose

Hope some chowhounds can help me out. I usually go to Wilsons for all of my fruit and vegatables. I noticed that there is a produce stand set up on Main street in front of the YMCA on Saturdays. Has anyone been? I know there is a Famers MArket in Melrose on Thursday's- but I am at work so cannot make it. If the produce at the Y is good, I would use it- though I am sure the selection would not be as extensive as Wilson's. TIA
BTW- I was at Wilson's on Saturday, and bought some corn- it was outrageously good. Only bought enough for us for one meal, and a few ears I added to some pasta salad. Will have to make another trip soon. COuld eat it wvery night. And, what surprised me- there was a sign that it was Ok to shuck the corn before buying- they even supplied a bin!

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  1. The produce stand in front of the Y doesn't feature "local" or even Massachusetts produce.

    I asked and they don't even see it as their mission.
    I, too, wish the Farmers Market had more friendly hours.


    14 Replies
    1. re: barbaragavin

      Thanks- I guess it would be just like shopping at Shaws!! Will stick to Wilsons, I guess- though I do like Colarusso (sp?) in Stoneham in a pinch.

      1. re: macca

        Yeah, that's been my problem with the stand- no focus on local produce. That being said, what I've gotten there has been fine and I like the flavor it brings to Main Street so I'd shop there if you are in the area.

        I also like Colareso's in Stoneham, we got some AWESOME local corn there last year.

        Agree with the rec for Pace's although it's their greens that I like best there- and you can always count on them for great basil.

        1. re: Chris VR

          Will be stopping at Colareso's this weekend, and will make sure to try the corn.

          1. re: macca

            I'd love to hear how it is. My parents are in town from Florida and want to take back a suitcase full of corn to share with teh neighbors. Last year we got it from Colareso's so I'm hoping they are good this year.

            I have been housebound for a little while so I haven't been out, but isn't it a bit early for local corn?

            1. re: macca

              Chris VR- I guess you are right- it may be early for local corn- though I don't know where they get their corn at Wilsons. It was so good. Only used it in salads, but really enjoyed it-. Their peaches wer fabulous, too.

              1. re: macca

                I figured I'd give the Calareso's corn update. We've gotten corn there twice in the past week. The first batch was great (8/10 rating from my corn-snob Dad), the second batch not so good- maybe a 5/10 (unfortunately that's the batch that got packed into the Florida-bound suitcases).

            2. re: macca

              Did you hear that Shaws will be closing on August 12th for renovations. Anything will be an improvement. Hopefully it'll up the cleaniness quotient. That place is just plain gross.

              I was at Wilson's on Sunday and thought, this really is the best around. Verrill's only carries their own produce, but they have amazing corn also.

              The Farmer's Market needs better hours and the stand in front of the Y is an alternative to Shaws, but that's about it.

              1. re: kate used to be 50

                I miss Cerretani's; the Shaw's that took its venerable place is a crime.

                1. re: Karl S

                  I liked Cerratini's. too. Hate Shaw's. The employees spend most of their time complaining to each other. I swear, If I am the only one in the store, it still takes 10 minutes to get thru check out. I was there one morning at 7 am- the first customer through the check out, and they did not have change enought change in the register to process my order. DOn't even get me started!
                  Like the meats at Johnnies, and I hear a Market Basket is opening in Saugus. I don't like the Market BAsket in Qoburn.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Market Basket in Saugus... really? Any idea where?

                    1. re: Karl S

                      I heard the Market Basket will be on Route One North- across from Prince Pizza. Hope the rumor is true.

                    2. re: kate used to be 50

                      Well, there is another option for local, organic produce in Melrose- www.farmdirectcoop.org I've been a member for 4 years now. Unfortunately it's full for this year but keep in mind for next year.

                      1. re: kate used to be 50

                        I love Wilsons, too. Started going there when I worked in Lexington, and have been going ever since. Well run, well stocked. Everything is great. I did buy two hanging plants, however, which died in one month. I meant to speak to them about it last week. Curious to see if they do anything.

                        1. re: kate used to be 50

                          Verrill's farm has plenty of items from other local farms and from further afield.

                      1. In Lexington, on Pleasant STreet ( Rte 4)

                          1. There is also J Pace & Sons in Saugus, at the jct of Lynn Fells Pkwy and Main St, nearish to Melrose. A wonderful store, with well-chosen produce for the most part and many other wonderful things. Plus other treasures in that little shopping center (Russo's Candies, Nasty Nonni's wine/liquor store, La Vita Mia restaurant and a very lovely Italian-style gelateria).

                            And don't forget the Super 88 Asian market in Malden near the jct of Lebanon St and Rte 16. A lot of folks also love the Rosebud in Malden on the road that leads down to the Wellington T station.

                            My favorite farmstands further out from Wilson's Farm are Verrill Farm in Concord and Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury (right off MA 150 just south of the NH border).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Karl S

                              i never think of Pace for fruits- don't know why. Do love their meats and pastries, though. Yopu are right about the Super 88. Will have to try there, too. Have only gotten fish and spices from there. I personally don't like Rosebud, but my SIL does.
                              Will have to try Verril Farm in Concord. Nice ride on a Saturday.

                            2. Verrill Farm and Cider Hill Farm take about the same amount of time from Melrose, btw. And, during apple season, you can get unpasteurized (that is, real) cider at the latter because it is an orchard (which Verrill Farm is not and therefore cannot sell since the USDA promulgated those awful regs a few years ago).

                              Btw, Wilson Farm had fresh sour cherries from western NY this weekend. Ahh...a quart of heaven. (Now, western NY is a fantastic place to live for fresh fruit and vegetables; and the Pittsford Wegman's....)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Karl S

                                Thanks for the info. SOunds like a Fall Roadtrip to the farms. Did not see the cherries at Wilsons- got some blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, peaches. Also got my mom some oranges- she swears they have the best oranges she ever had. Not big on oranges, myself, so I am no judge! Fruit was great today at lunch, with some yogurt on the side.

                              2. When you are road-tripping to Wilson's from Melrose, its worth a side trip to Busa Farms (Off Summer St in Lexington, near Arlington Hts) if you are looking for local produce. There also used to be a place with pick your own strawberries on the hill coming over from Winchester (Myopia Hill maybe? Winchester/Arlington line near the golf club), but I don't think that is an option any more (didn't get a chance to check this past season).

                                In Medford Roberto's Fruits and Vegetables is good for herbs, although they certainly do not focus on local vegetables.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: itaunas

                                  Thanks. May check it out on my next trek. I work in North Andover, and just a few blocks from the office is a farm that did the strawberry thing, then the raspberry thing- and now are doing the blueberry thing! I have only gone in the farm, to pick my own pumpkin. Great fun.
                                  Not sure where Myopia Hills is- will have to google it. I usually travle from Melrose, thru Winchester, cross over rte 3 near Mahoneys and straight to rte 4.

                                  1. re: itaunas

                                    Busa is within walking distance, but we've pretty much stopped going there, as of recently there is virtually nothing ever in stock and VERY LITTLE local stuff, in contrast to years before when there were bountiful supplies at this time of the year -- wonder if the rain washed out their crops or something else happened? -- they also seem particularly surly and unhelpful now (ownership change?). We now go to Wilson's and Russo's for most needs, with occasional supplements from farmers markets and stands further afield (Arena, Verrill, etc.).

                                  2. Thanks ChrisVR- have not tried it yet- last week we opted to buy the corn on the way to the lake. Stopped somewhere on 28 near Pittsfield. Was just ok.
                                    The corn from Wilson Farms, however, has been fabulous.