SCOUT OUT: Guide to Summer Farmers Markets

farmers marketPhoto by Rachel Offerdahl

Farmers markets are the original pop-up. Every summer we live in a little utopia, finally able to access fresh, local ingredients on a regular basis. This usually ends up being more of a treat than something that’s integrated into our day to day, but Mary Cat Chaikin says that could be changing.

“Now that we have a critical mass of farmers markets in the area, it’s realistic for people to use these markets as a source for their regular grocery shopping,” says Chaikin. She and her business partner, Mimi Graney, run Relish Management, a local business that oversees the Union Square and the new Assembly Row markets, as well as the Somerville Winter Market. They visit each of the farms and businesses that set up shop at their markets to handpick vendors and avoid overlapping products.

“The Union Market feels like a neighborhood brunch,” Graney says. “It’s a place for community connection,” adds Chaikin. “People walk down or ride their bikes, meet their neighbors, enjoy the events, listen to some music—it’s a fun outing.”

Graney and Chaikin hope the new Assembly Row market will create a similar neighborhood vibe by making the most of its location. Family-friendly events like nature walks along the Mystic River in the adjoining park, yoga by the river and fun fitness classes are in the works. Cooking demos with Assembly Row restaurants will show marketers how to cook veggie stews in LeCreuset pots, mix cocktails using herbs from the market and use Slumbrews newest offerings in cooking.

Over in Davis, a market that’s served the community for 25 years is still going strong. Market manager Peter Ward says, “This is not the kind of market with a lots of frills—it’s for people who want good local, fresh produce in their neighborhood.”

“People are happy at the farmers market—they’re smiling!” Ward says. “Here, there’s a sense of anticipation about good food—people are outside, they’re thinking about what they’re going to make for dinner with a friend, trying a new variety of tomato, curious about what’s in season now.”

UNION SQUARE FARMERS MARKET
Facebook: Union Square Farmers Market
When: Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. from May 16-October 31
Where: The plaza in Union Square
SNAP accepted: Use SNAP benefits here for double EBT credit
Vendors: All the same vendors from last year, plus a few new stalls including Myso Terra mushrooms, Steve Parker of Parker Farm mushrooms, Nicewicz Family Farm orchard, Flats Mentor Farm Asian vegetables, Stillman Quality Meats, Misty Brook Farm produce, Tipping Cow Ice Cream, Hosta Hill tempeh & sauerkrauts and Hutchins Farm organic produce

ASSEMBLY ROW FARMERS MARKET
Twitter: @assemblymarket
When: Sundays from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., June 7-October 25
Where: On the riverfront at Assembly Row
SNAP accepted: Use SNAP benefits here for double EBT credit
Vendors: Many favorite vendors from the Somerville Winter Market and a few additions including Heron Pond Farm’s veggies and greens, Lilac Hedge’s ethically-raised and -processed meats, Farmer Dave’s CSA, Plato’s Organic Harvest, and Apotheker’s Kitchen chocolates

DAVIS SQUARE FARMERS MARKET
Facebook: Davis Square Farmers Market
When: Wednesdays from 12-6 p.m. from May 20-November 25 (closing at 5 p.m. after November 4)
Where: at Day and Herbert Streets parking lot in Davis Square
SNAP accepted: Use SNAP and EBT benefits here
Vendors: Kimball Fruit Farm, C&C Lobster Company, Flats Mentor Farm, Copicut Farms ethically raised meats and eggs, Velicenti Organico pastas and sauces, Danish Pastry House, Blue Heron Organic, Nicewicz Family Farm orchard and Birch Tree Bread

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

Apotheker’s Kitchen: These chocolates and mallows are all sweetened naturally using honey. (Assembly)
Flats Mentor Farm: This non-profit cooperative farm in Lancaster provides many Hmong immigrant and refugee farmers with hands-on training to build their small farm businesses. Check out their hard-to- find varieties of Asian greens like pea tendrils, water spinach and lalloo grown. (Davis, Union)
Hosta Hill: Pucker up for some tempeh and sauerkraut, and even get a quick tutorial in fermentation and the mighty micro-biome. (Union)
Misty Brook Farm: This farm, which calls itself a “full diet farm,” produces everything a human could need in their diet: grain, meat, cheeses and vegetables, all using holistic farming practices to mimic natural systems. (Union)
Myso Terra: plentiful varieties of cultivated mushrooms and mushrooming kits (Union) Nicewicz Family Farm: These farmers have mastered what was once thought of as impossible in New England: growing apples pesticide-free by finding unusual and delicious pest-resistant varieties. (Davis, Union) Steve Parker of Parker Farm: Check out their wild foraged mushrooms. (Union)
Stillman Quality Meats: Kate Stillman has just opened an abattoir for on-site butchering, bringing super fresh, local meats and custom cuts to the market (Union)
Tipping Cow Ice Cream: This small creamery started by a vivacious young entrepreneur offers flavors like cranberry and Earl Grey & lemon. (Union)

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