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Jun 29, 2009 12:01 PM

Farmers' Markets, CSAs, Late June/Early July

Since most of the markets are now open and the posts have slowed a bit, how about a switch from weekly to a bit longer?

As always all local food posts are welcome here. I just can't get it all into the title.

I did get to the City Hall/Government Center Market this week. Silverbrook and Stillman's both had a good selection of greens and some early veggies. I do like Silverbrook's fresh eggs and their Strawberry Rhubarb jam.

Any pick-your own or farm stand reports?


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  1. On my list of farmer's markets nearby (Billerica), most are opening next week. I don't garden but a friend who does cautioned me that tomatoes and peppers don't like the cold, wet weather I've been relishing, and suggests that crops will run late. Also, there was hail damage to young plants in some areas.

    Are those who are already frequenting the FMs noticing a paucity of produce, or inferior quality?

    7 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Neither as far as I can see. Yesterday in Brookline, Allstonian and I bought two enormous and gorgeous lettuces, some amazing chard, deep ruby beets the size of my fist (and I have big fists), two quarts of dead-perfect strawberries, crisp and sweet shell peas, and some delicious cherry tomatoes in various colors, and we had to pass up much, much more besides. Also scored a pound of delicious swordfish from Cindy.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        do you remember which farm had the perfect strawberries and tomatoes. Maybe I can catch them at a different market.


        1. re: BostonZest

          Stillman's had the strawberries, but Aidan was saying that they were most likely their last. The cherry tomatoes came from Kimball Farms.

          1. re: Allstonian

            The Kimball Farms tomatoes look absolutely gorgeous, but I am holding off. $4 for a half pint of tomatoes put them just out of reach. In several weeks, there will be tomatoes everywhere, and I just can't wait.

            1. re: smtucker

              Fair enough - we passed on cherries at another stand because we just couldn't bring ourselves to pay something like $5 for a scanty pint, but the half-pints of assorted cherry tomatoes were pretty generous and I couldn't resist them.

              1. re: smtucker

                Indeed. During my morning tour of my backyard tomato farm (all 30 square feet of it) I spotted a cherry tomato (Sungold) that was beginning to ripen... the first of the season! Despite the weather, my tomatoes have been blooming like crazy. There are fruit set on even the latest varieties. It's my eggplant and peppers that I am worrying about.

        2. re: greygarious

          Went to Stoneham last week, and yes it seems slow coming.

          Tomatoes are from the hot houses, when I asked. Lettuce, greens, beets, zucchini all seem plentiful though.

          And yes, it will be a late tomato and corn season I believe. We have had too many dreary cool days and not much sun in June alone. A couple of weeks behind is my prediction.

        3. Any corn sightings yet? I read here that it looks like a late season but wondering if this is born out at the markets?

          6 Replies
          1. re: yumyum

            Lanni Orchards had corn at the Harvard U. market and Allston market, but only a small wagon-ful at this point.

            1. re: theresa10

              When does the Allston one generally close up shop? I'm going to hit it up after work tonight, hopefully toward 6p by latest.

              1. re: Prav

                The Allston farmer's market runs 1 to 6.

                  1. re: Prav

                    Oopsie - you're right. They kind of run the info for both markets together on their web page.

            2. re: yumyum

              I saw some at the Prudential Market yesterday but I can't remember who had it. It was either Springbrook or Dick's.

            3. red fire CSA this week included lettuce, carrots, cukes, zucchini ( lots), blueberries, tomato, garlic, kale and some gorgeous potatoes

              1. This week the Hmong farmer was at the Belmont Farmer's Market for the first time this season. His produce was limited due to the weather we've been having, but those pea tendrils sure looked good!

                I bought some pristine cavallo nero (aka dinosaur kale) from the Farm School. Sauteed a cubed up Yukon Gold potato potato with a couple of cloves of garlic and a couple of dried arbol chili pods in some mild evoo. Added the washed and torn up kale, sauteed a bit, then threw in a small can of diced tomatoes and braised until tender. Finished with some red wine vinegar and a bit of salt. Good stuff! (Sorry about the canned tomatoes, but it's not quite tomato season, nope, not quite yet.)

                1. Got back from the brand new Wakefield Farmers Market around 10:15 this morning....the place was hopping! They're open from 9am-1pm, and I got there about 9:20. Couldn't find parking in the lot or on the street; chose to turn around and park up in the train station spaces (as many others were doing).

                  A gelato place (Giovanna Gelato) was already doing good business; The Flats Mentor Farm Hmong farmers had a small stand - I picked up a nice bunch of mixed baby lettuces. Pea tendrils looked good but I didn't want them. I asked the girl how long she expected to have them; she said they had had a flood (from the heavy rains?) and were growing a second crop which she hoped would be ready next week but she wasn't sure. Other items they had were mostly herbs, I think, along with baby bok choy and scallions.

                  Globe Fish was there - got a very nice small piece of wild salmon for dinner for $5.85. They were pretty busy - however, several people just standing around looking at their prices. Farmer Dave's stand was jammed; I got 6 ears of corn (small ears @ 60 cents apiece) and some rainbow swiss chard at $3.00 a bunch. They had some gorgeous rosemary plants in a flat on the ground, lots of blueberries, scallions, zucchini, radishes, lettuces, lots of various herb bunches, etc.

                  A local Wakefield flower shop, Melinda's, was selling nice looking flowers, and there are several animal/baby related tents. Although Petsi Pies is listed in their vendor list, she was not there, nor was Sassy River Sauces. A homemade preserves tent had some very nice jams, jellies, preserves, and applesauce, but I have more preserves than I know what to do with, so I didn't buy anything. LaCascia's Bakery was selling large Italian bread loaves - it looked great, but was WAY too big for just one person.

                  I did want to try some of the goat cheese from The Cheese Man, but by the time I made it over there, they were already sold out of the milder version - they did have the triangular ash-covered type of goat cheese, as well as a Grafton Gold cheddar and some freshly made mozzarella. The woman said their cheese offerings will differ each week, depending on what they get from the various cheesemongers.

                  Stopped by the SwissBakers and decided that was going to be my breakfast - I got a Choco Weggli and a Vanilla something-or-other - can't remember the name and it's not on their website. I *was* planning on having just one and saving the other for later - yeah, that SO didn't happen! These are very, VERY good - not overly sweet and very light. Nice looking breads, challah, and other sweets. They have a retail location in the Reading Depot station - will have to check them out some morning before heading to work.

                  This will be a regular stop for me - I think the gorgeous day and the first day opening definitely helped them have a great crowd - as well as the runners/walkers who walk around Lake Quannapowitt. A friend from Peabody is going right now; she said she'd let me know how sold out they are by the time she walks around.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Thanks for the great report Linda! You make me want to get a Zipcar and head there.

                    I stopped by the Prudential Market on Thursday and it has begun to catch on. There were a lot more people buying from the vendors. It helped that a car company had set up free seats and WIFI service all around them.

                    I stocked up on greens, onions, garlic, tomatoe, scallions and bread. If you're near a When Pigs Fly location try the raspberry, blueberry lemon bread. It is irresistible.


                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Super great report Linda! Many thanks for the details. Sadly Saturday mornings have been taken up with the CSF fish pickup in Ipswich which takes the better part of 2 hours so I think I won't get to Wakefield till Sept.

                      Has anyone been to the little farm in Reading yet... which name I have now forgotten?

                      1. re: Gio

                        Linda, you followed in my footsteps. I was at the market right at 9 when they opened. Even then I had to park across the street at the electric plant (allowed parking for the market). I ran into one of the organizers who I know and she said that Petsi Pies was a no show and had not returned phone calls. Really too bad as I was looking forward to buying one of her pies. I had a choco weggli for breakfast too. Very yummy. The vanilla thingy I think is a vanilla pocket. Last night had grilled swordfish from Globe and baby bok choy from Flats Mentor for dinner. When I'm in town this will be a definite go to on Saturday mornings, especially Globe Fish!

                        1. re: kate used to be 50

                          The electric plant was my turnaround to head back towards the train station spots, kate. :-) But thanks for the "show up early" hint to get decent parking.

                          Sorry to hear that Petsi might not show at the Wakefield FM - I would love to buy scones from her without having to drive into Somerville. Thanks for the "vanilla pocket" moniker - I do believe that's it - it and the weggli were really great!

                          A friend who showed up after me did say it wasn't as crowded when she got there (around 10:30) - she got a space in the regular lot. She only bought pea tendrils, jam and a loaf of bread - she noticed that many people were leaving empty-handed. Hoping that the vendors will bring more next week, if they're able.

                          She also compared it to the new Newburyport FM - said Newburyport has it heads and tails over Wakefield as to quantity - I think there are more local-to-Newburyport farmers participating in their FM vs. the Wakefield one. Although my mother said she thought it was "only greens" that Newburyport FM had - but then again, she wouldn't be buying things like pea tendrils or the "odd things" either, so perhaps they have more than she thinks they do. :-)

                          But I do like the Globe Fish here at Wakefield (the salmon was wonderful last night!) The Wakefield FM will be a place for me to stop - if not Winchester, it's Wakefield for Saturday markets. And with having a "furlough day" one day a week (day of my choosing), I'll have to check the FM list to see when various closer to me FMs are open on my furlough days!