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Farmers' Markets & CSAs week of July 7th

Since the threads are still very long and active and this is really the time when the markets, CSAs and farm stands begin to perk, I'll keep starting a new thread each week. If conversation dies off, I'll put up something like "Late July."

If anyone would like a different approach, let me know.


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  1. I'm a CSA newbie. I signed up for a half share with Stillman's this year. So far it's been great. Except that I need to shlep from Quincy to JP on Saturday mornings to pick up (I know they have a pickup in Quincy, but it's on Friday afternoons and I work in Boston).

    This week's haul included some fantastic beets with bright fresh greens attached, a big bag (almost two pounds) of sugar snap peas, green leaf lettuce, a large beautiful bunch of arugula, some Dinosaur Kale, red radishes, a nice zucchini and a nice yellow squash. I'm SO happy that you fellow Chowhounds turned me on to CSA. I had never heard of it before I saw the posts here.

    By the way, the Stillman's farm newsletter this past week had a recipe for "Kale Crunch". I tried it and it was fantastic. If you are wondering what to do with the Kale, or you think you don't like it, try it this way. It's basically cut in pieces, tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper, baked on a tray in the oven, covered with grated parmesan cheese. The pieces come out like kale crisps, covered with the salty cheese. Very good.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mwk

      Hmm. The half shares at Brookline didn't get radishes, and I definitely didn't get 2 lbs of peas. A pound maybe. Harumph. We got the other things you mentioned though, and the quality has been fantastic.

      1. re: MrsCheese

        There were definitely radishes in our half-share in Brookline this week -- maybe they ran out?

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          I went a little on the later side to pick up in Brookline this week (probably about 12:45) and at that point radishes were only for full shares. Not a big deal, especially with the quality and size of the other stuff. Next week should have blueberries and (maybe) cucumbers!

        2. re: MrsCheese


          Let me clarify a bit. We received our box, and then the gentleman told us that we could pick two additional types of veggie from open bins of veggies on the table next to him. There was a choice between more kale, lettuce, arugula, zucchini, cilantro or the snap peas. When we asked him how much to take, he just said to take what you want. So, we had about a pound of peas in the box (estimating), and we took the same amount again from the bin, along with a great bunch of Cilantro...which I had forgotten to mention above.

      2. Regarding the Copley Sq. market today, does anyone know if there will be any kind of dairy stand? Specifically I'm looking for butter...TIA!

        3 Replies
        1. re: heathermb

          No butter, but I did get a nice log of goat cheese along with a pint of strawberries, some small tomatoes, garlic scapes, baby beets, red potatoes and a teeny strawberry tart for my mid-afternoon sugar fix.

          All of this in Copley...only downside is the major excavation going on in the middle of the square so it was noisier and dustier than usual.

          1. re: heathermb

            heathermb, do you know if they had any radishes?

            1. re: iamsam

              I didn't see any and was actually looking for some in case I did also find some great butter.

        2. waltham farms tuesday - 1 head lettuce, 1 bunch beets, 1 small bunch baby carrots, 2 lbs summer squash-various types, 1 bunch "torpedo" onions, 2 cukes, choice of 1 kale or chard, PYO - 15 fava pods, small handful of green beans, various herbs.

          1. I missed the boat on a CSA share this year, sadly. Now that the high yield months are upon us, is anyone finding they have more produce than they can use? I'd be happy to buy into a share. I live by myself, so a quarter share would be more than enough, probably. I'd be happy to help out with pickup, too. A JP or Brookline pickup would be ideal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ltlbird

              If you want a response to this request, you need to put contact information on your profile page. Folks can't reply in discussion threads - the moderators will delete those posts.

            2. Just went to the Lawrence farmers market. Very small, two farms are all that were there. Boston Hill Farm and some farm from Groton, MA. Selling the typical produce of the season and plants.

              I got some corn that I was told was from Groton, MA. I did not believe the guy, but I bought it anyways. Called my regular farm - Verrill in Concord - and they said their corn might be ready late next week. At that point I knew I had been taken for a ride. Must have been from Groton, CT.

              I can't see myself stopping at this one again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mjg0725

                Thanks mjg, for the info on the Lawrence location. Guess I'll have to aim for the Saturday farmers' markets closer to home.

                1. re: mjg0725

                  I was skeptical too when I saw a sign at a farmstand in Gloucester (near Wingersheek Beach) advertising local corn. The clerk said it was from Hadley, MA (definitely said MA) and they've had it or a week or two. It's not the best I've had (but I'm a corn on the cob snob, and only eat corn when it's local and in season) but it was pretty good and it was so nice to have good corn!

                  Cider Hill farm sent out a mailer the other day saying their corn is tasseling and they expect to have it around July 20-25. But just because some farms in our area don't have it doesn't mean they can't have it at farms out west.

                2. Something new at the Brookline market this week: the cheese & egg lady now has eggs from organic, free-wandering farm-raised chickens. They're pricey - $3.35 a half dozen large, compared to $2.50 a dozen for her extra-large regular ones, but hopefully worth the difference.

                  There's also a new vendor, an Irishman by his accent, selling locally smoked fish and smoked fish pates. I tried a sample of the smoked salmon but can't say I was overly impressed, I prefer Spence & Co's Scottish-style.

                  Stillman had the first local sweet corn of the season, picked today. Strawberries almost gone, only one vendor still had them, but they're extra sweet. Lots of raspberries and blueberries.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: BobB

                    Which is the farm across from the cheese and egg lady; the big one? I had a big dissappoinment from them today. I had bought some garlic capes last week from the organic farm att hat side of the market, they didn't have any this week, so I went with the big stand...BADDDDD idea! They were so tough, fibrous and garlicky, like raw garlic, that I just had to spit them out. I was so disappointed; even more so, because I saw smaller, and , now I know, more tender scapes back at the vendor next to the ice cream...

                    As for that smoked salmon vendor, I was cusious, but he seemed to be doing such a prolonged hard sell with customers you couldn't even get his attention. Plus, they seemed to be selling a good amount of non-local gourmet accoutremont at that stand, non-local crackers, baba ganoush, other spreads...What's that about?

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      I think Kimball Farms is the big one opposite Egg Lady. The vendor next to the ice cream van is Stillman's, who are superior in every way to Kimball, and who get most of our money at any farmer's market they happen to be at.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        Thanks, I won't make that mistake again...I buy lots of stuff from them, as well. But I just so bummed about those scapes!

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          Okay, another whine....Sorry....The vendor who usually has all the flowers, at the Brookline Market, and all the great organics, right next to the ice cream. They had these long beets, that were supposed to be 'earthier' than the norm....They're about 4 inches long, and maybe a inch and a half in diameter....I was ready to try a new variety, so I bought them, roasted them as usual, and they had NO FLAVOR! I am so sad; I usually scarf half my beets before I put the dressing on them, I'm such a beet freak. With these, the only flavor was FROM the dressing. Do you think I cooked them too long? They were still nice and moist, and I do the unpeeled, wrapped in foil roast, but they did seem to take a long time to get tender. Still, you'd think that would make them sweeter, not flavorless....

                          1. re: galleygirl

                            That's Stillman's. Autopi complained a few weeks back that he had gotten beets in the first week's CSA share from them that he found flavorless as well, but we've had good luck so far. They have varied a lot, though - a bunch last week that I thought were the striped Chioggas turned out to be more of a pale pink-to-golden color when roasted, with no striping, and they were notably bland.

                            1. re: galleygirl

                              I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago, got those long smooth-skinned beets from Stillman's and when my wife made a borscht of of them it was surprisingly bland. I told her she must have underseasoned it, but in retrospect it may just have been the lack of sweet earthy flavor from the beets themselves.

                              I should know better than to accuse a Russian of not knowing how to make a proper borscht - and by the way, if you grew up (like me) thinking that the sugary bottled American version is real borscht, find yourself a Russian and you're in for a treat! The real thing is loaded with chopped fresh vegetables, herbs, and hard-boiled eggs. Not so much a soup as a salad served in a bowl of beet broth.

                              1. re: BobB

                                BobB, is there any chance your own Personal Russian might be lured into posting her beet recipe on the Home Cooking board? My
                                Personal Russian can teach me useful phrases, but cannot cook. I LOVE real borscht; the veggie version at Bazaar was a revelation to me, so I'd love to make my own...

                      2. re: BobB

                        Weren't those organic eggs from the Country Hen, which they sell everywhere; TJ's, Stop and Shop, Whole Foods?

                        Also, I got shut out at the Fish Lady this week; got there at 4:00, and all she had left was grey sole...Make those orders in advance! ;)

                        In fact, a lot of the market was looking thin by that time in the afternoon...Great for the farmers, guess I'll have to plan better. I was forced to buy some chocolate from the Taza stand...

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          Dang, you're right! Loaded down with bags as I was at the time I didn't look closely and just assumed the farm used whatever cartons they could find. What a rip! Still, her rat cheese is outstanding.

                          And yes, ordering your fish in advance is the way to go. Once you're on her list she e-mails you a reminder a couple of days in advance so all you have to do is hit Reply.

                      3. Parker farm small CSA: I am constantly impressed by Parker farms! For our small share this week, we had: 1 lb fava beans, 1 bunch beets, 1 bunch yellow carrots, 1 bunch spring onions, kale and some summer squash. All that for a small! The beet greens were wonderful, the favas perfect, and the onions were delicious on the grill. Love this man! Oh and last week, strawberries were included...apparently he does some trading with other farmers to get us fruit. How cool is that?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mipiace

                          I, too, am really enjoying the Parker CSA. On our Tuesday small pickup, we also had some kohlrabi, which I hadn't prepared before. It was quite tasty and refreshing, and fun to try something new. Everything has been great, and I find that I'm sticking in an extra veggie side or planning meals around what we pick up rather than just sticking with the old routine.

                          1. re: bear

                            Is it Parker as in Steve Parker? We had a CSA share with him for several years and he is a good guy. It got to be too hard to get into Somerville to pick up and now we have a share in the convenient Belmont CSA and it is terrific.

                        2. Hi! So I hit Union Square this morning (July 12th). Strawberries were gone, but the raspberries and blues looked GREAT. I also managed to pick up some squash blossoms. Any thoughts on what I can do with those? I was thinking of trying to do that haloumi/ouzo combo from Oleana's a few years ago, but if anything has any ideas... let me know

                          Also had a question on the weekend markets near Cambridge/Somerville. Would you recommend something besides the Union Square market? It's my fave, but interested in hearing how the others compare.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: okello

                            went this morning and picked up some squash blossoms as well. you can lightly batter and fry them (with or without stuffing), put them in quesadillas, or make a frittata

                            1. re: okello

                              Squash blossoms - short item in today's Boston Globe mag on how restaurants are serving them...

                            2. Went to Winchester's Farmer's Market on the Town Common (right off the mini-rotary) today around 11am (hours are 9:30am-1:30pm). Looks to be a nice mix; IIRC, Dighton and Dracut were two area farms represented. I picked up some local spinach and red Swiss Chard, and green beans at two different stands.

                              There was also a very nice Asian (Hmong? Don't know) man with some incredible looking produce and great prices - should have gone to him first. I got scallions and some pea tendrils from him. He had some gorgeous looking red and green amaranth which I might go back for next weekend. Other vendors had corn, some strawberries and blueberries, lots of fresh herbs, potatoes, beets, I saw about 3-4 kinds of lettuce, and there was a stand from Globe Fish Co. from Boston with about 8-10 different types of fish.

                              So it's not a big FM, but it'll do for me.