Any Awesome Fruit/Vegetable Markets Between Inman and Lechmere/Kendall
I am moving near the corner of Cardinal Medeiros oand Cambridge St and am looking for some great markets with cheap, very good fruits and veggies (a la "Gentiles" outside of Philadelphia, if you know it). I am sure the heavy Portuguese population does not get all of their stuff from Whole Foods or Shaws -- they probably know how to do it better and cheaper!
Can I be let in on that secret?
When does the Kendall Sq farmer's market begin - early June? Last year, it was behind the Genzyme Bldg (they call it a courtyard - I call it a parking lot) on Thursdays in the Summer/Fall - my Siberian friend worked there for a Russian bakery, and he said it was successful (hearsay!) - worth checking out, at least! (I wouldn't call the farmers' markets "cheap," but why compare the flavorless vegetable of Shaw's either?)
Look around the back streets of the area for the grape vines and vegetable gardens to see what the Portuguese population does. Seeds and mason jars available from one of the Hardware stores near Inman, starts from Ricky's Flower Market or the Union Square Farmer's market. If you have a porch which isn't shaded, you can grow some staples in a pot!
I grew up in the area w/o a garden and we relied a lot on Haymarket, where people I know in the area still shop but you have to make sure to use most of the produce soon. The Harvest food coop was another option (for a long time Central didn't have a supermarket). The best option for supermarket produce is Demoula's Market Basket in Somerville -- high turnover and fairly reasonable prices, Johnny's just outside of Inman is probably an ok bet for a quick purchase. The Union Sq Farmer's market (Saturdays) is definitely worth shopping in season. Out in Medford is Roberto's produce which a lot of Portuguese and Italians shop, although if you are going to make a trip somewhere I would probably go to Russo's in Watertown. The Chelsea produce terminal is pretty close (driving only), which has some roadside produce vendors and a few cash and carry places.
Check out Courthouse seafood for olives and pickled peppers in the bins, portuguese cheeses and sausages. They and New Deal have basic peppers, onions, garlic, etc. There is a convenience store in Inman which sometimes has some odd stuff (including some frozen Goya produce which the supermarkets don't carry) so some produce. There also are latino Markets at Fulkerson (decent fresh cheese) and 5th or 6th (lot of frozen products). You should check out some of the festivals and events at St Anthony's/Santo Antonio (mostly fundraising banquets, but they have some outdoor events and a brazilian festa junina).
Also, Russo's is great--very cheap, very fresh produce--but definitely a bit further out of your way. If you don't have a car, you can visit by bike--the path along the river will get you almost all the way there.