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Moving to North End, & know nothing of Boston...

I'll be moving away from Brooklyn after 15yrs (scary!) in August and have no experience of Boston outside of one overnight trip to interview for school. I scoped out The North End and am sure I will have no trouble finding excellent food, but have no idea where to buy fresh produce, fish or other perishable ingredients. Is there a farmers market easily accessable from there? Also, is there a Japanese grocery somewhere I can get to on public transport?
Thanks

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  1. Welcome to my neighborhood!

    Really, it's mine. :)

    There are several Japanese/Asian markets accessible by the T:

    http://www.telephoneguide.com/BOSTON0...

    As for farmer's market's, there's the Haymarket on Friday's-Saturdays, but it's really kind of, uh, nasty.

    I'd just do a site search for farmer's markets. The one I go to fairly regularly in spring/summer is at City Hall Plaza, a short walk from the North End.

    There are also several markets in the NE that have fresh produce and fish. But for an all-in-one place, there's the Whole Foods on Cambridge Street, again just a short walk from the North End.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      Calore produce market in the basement on Salem Street has good produce, and occasionally the proprietor will stick a couple of extra tomatoes, plums or whatnot into the bag for his female customers, or so I hear.

      1. re: Bostonbob3

        Is it just me or has the Haymarket become nastier and nastier (produce quality, not friendliness, that was always lacking) over the past say three years? We used to go rather regularly and come back with 3/4 of the stuff being good. We stopped going when that ratio dropped well below 1/2.

        1. re: DavisSquare

          If you are planning on using your produce within the next 24 hours I think you can still find some great deals at Haymarket. It's not worth it as a market to "stock up" for the week.

      2. Good luck with your move! (Remember, no Yankees caps once you're here.)

        There are farmer's markets in many towns near Boston. Arlington, Braintree, Quincy, etc., several of which are near subway or bus lines. There are also a few that are closer to where you are going to live. This site should help:

        http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/

        I'll be in Brooklyn in a few weeks--can't wait to get back to Grimaldi's (or maybe Di Fara this time).

        3 Replies
        1. re: hiddenboston

          No chance of a Yankees cap making the trip with me. My dislike of the Yankees is roughly on par with that of a Bostonian.
          Thanks so much for the help! I am checking all your suggestions out against my handy Official Transit System Map and trying to get oriented...
          hiddenboston- Have you been to Totonno’s out at Coney Island? This would be the year to make the pilgrimage as it's the last year before the developers swoop in and drain all the character from the boardwalk.

          1. re: zazie

            I heard what they are doing to Coney Island. I guess I should probably hit Totonno's.

            One note about the North End: Even though there are lots of restaurants in the neighborhood, a number of them cater more to tourists than locals. Definitely do a search on this site to find out which are some of the better ones, especially those that the locals go to. A few names that come up frequently are Antico Forno, Massimino's, Pagliuca's, Rabia's, L'Osteria, La Brace, Monica's, and Carmen, among others.

            1. re: hiddenboston

              And don't forget Neptune Oyster and Pizzeria Regina!

          1. Also, how short is a 'short walk' by Boston standards?

            1 Reply
            1. re: zazie

              Eh, around 10 minutes, no more than 15 should get you from the NE to Beacon Hill for instance (that's where the Whole Foods and the City Hall Plaza farmer's market are located).

              Also, there's a shuttle van on Hanover St. that goes to a couple of markets on the weekends.

            2. I moved from the North End 13 years ago, and still miss the great shopping. Whenever I'm back in Boston, I always try to bring home meat (or at least the sweet Italian sausage) from Sulmona Butcher on Parmenter.

              I always bought produce daily from the little shop on Parmenter near the North End Union. Rosario (may he rest in peace) is no longer running it, but it always looks to be fresh. I'd make friends with the proprietor. If he knows you're a neighbor, he's likely to take extra good care of you.

              At least that's what I always found!

              and the Salumeria Italiana on Richmond St (Parmenter changes names when it crosses Hanover) has the best deli and Italian imports anywhere. I still mail order from them.

              I only used Whole Foods as a "backup" to the neighborhood shopping.

              and I agree with BostonBob... I'd avoid Haymarket. Unless you personally know the vendor, you're likely to get nothing better than what was leftover at the wholesale market. It is definitely not a "Farmers Market!"

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChefJune

                Another transplanted Brooklynite agrees with the recomendations for Sulmona butcher on Parmenter Street and the Salumeria on Richmond (a continuation of Parmenter btw). The produce shop on Parmenter formerly run by Rosario (he was a wonderful guy) is still there ane may be operated by a family member. The only thing you need to remember is these shops usually close early so if you work late you are out of luck on weekdays.

                Haymarket is quite a scene and worth going to just for the United Nations aspect of it. You can get quite a bit of produce for little money but you have to assume that half of it will be ... uh .. nasty. Still you can get boxes of tomatoes for next to nothing if you are going to use them for cooking etc. But for first class produce you need to shop elsewhere.

                Finding fresh fish has become problematic with the closing of Giuffre's but Whole Foods is reputed to have very good fish and there is Hook Lobster near the Financila district on Altlantic Avenue.

                Welcome to the neighborhood

              2. Produce...Calore on Salem St or Alba on Parmenter..eta Alba is the place that Chef June is referring to above.

                Fish...J Hooks on the waterfront is a short walk.

                Butcher..Sulmona on Parmenter

                Cheese, olives, cold cuts, bread..Salumeria Italiana on Richmond or Tutto Italiana on Fleet

                Those are my general "go to" places.

                I have mixed thoughts on Haymarket..questionable quality at low prices..it's not a farmers market..it's a leftovers market. Avoid all fish there (unless you want bait) except the clams on 1/2 shell guy.

                3 Replies
                1. re: 9lives

                  I'd be more interested in tons of limes on the cheap for fresh margaritas than most of the other offersing at Haymarket.

                  Edit: Zazie, I realize a) you didn't ask and b) you're from Brooklyn and used to NY-style pizza, but the original Pizzeria Regina in your hood makes a damn fine pie. And you can get take out to avoid the lines since you will theoretically be within a 5 min walk from it. Thatcher and Prince (Prince is the cross street right?)

                    1. re: Dax

                      Well, it's off of Prince, but it's in that funky "triangle." I believe it's actually Thacher and N. Margin.

                  1. I just wanted to thank everyone for their help, it will be a big comfort to me to know where to go once I'm in Boston. The idea of wandering around directionless and hungry was quite upsetting!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: zazie

                      Theres a farmers market every friday and saturday right across from the north end, great prices good food, i do my weeks shopping there for under 15 bucks

                      1. re: Boston Scene

                        Unless I'm mistaken, that's no farmers' market, it's the Haymarket which was discussed farther up in the thread. There is a farmers' market Mondays and Wednesdays in City Hall Plaza, though.

                    2. I moved from the North End a couple years ago after almost twenty years there and still miss it. Agree with most of the posts here. A couple things not mentioned..

                      Monica's Salumeria on Salem St. sells great fresh pasta sauces and also has "made that day" take out for nights you don't feel like cooking.

                      I used to take the bus over to Charlestown on the weekends to stock up on stuff like paper towels and light bulbs and cat food which cost an arm and a leg in the N.E. convenience stores. (It's either the 91 or 93 - can catch it at Haymarket T stop.)

                      The produce store on Parmenter is good, also the "Going Bananas" store on Salem St.

                      Enjoy - it's a great neighborhood.