Nothing says summer quite like a bag over your shoulder filled to the brim with fresh, local, grown with care, picked with love pro­duce, am I right? I savor the oppor­tu­nity to pick up the best of what’s in season, exper­i­ment with new ingre­di­ents I can’t find at the gro­cery store, and ensure that my money is going to sup­port a family who works hard to keep farming alive. Luckily for you, I spent last weekend scouting the Farmer’s Market scene in our area so you’ll know exactly where you can go to stock up on the good stuff. Because it’s summer! Time to be out­side! In the sun! Discovering new things! NOT pushing a shop­ping cart, eating the same old shipped from California stuff we’re stuck with all winter! A full list of mar­kets in Massachusetts is avail­able athttp://​www​.mass​.gov/​a​g​r​/​m​a​s​s​g​r​o​w​n​/​f​a​r​m​e​r​s​_​m​a​r​k​e​t​s​.​htm, but I picked my three favorites to share with you here. Enjoy the bounty!

Always a Winner – Marblehead Farmer’s Market, Veteran’s Middle School

Saturdays 9am-12pm

 

One of my first jobs was hauling the heavy wooden signs for the Marblehead Farmer’s Market out of storage each Thursday after school to place at dif­ferent inter­sec­tions in town, and col­lecting and putting them back on Saturday after­noons. Truly! My love for Marblehead’s Market goes far beyond the sen­ti­mental, how­ever. Entering its eigh­teenth growing season, cen­trally located, and run by a tire­less group of pas­sionate vol­un­teers, this market brings so much to our town. The ven­dors you’ve gotta hit?Marblehead-made Fille de Ferme Preserves (I’m obsessed with Angela’s Strawberry Rhubarb this week!), Wolf Meadow Farm (melt-in-your-mouth moz­zarella, ricotta, and more made in Amesbury by Luca Mignogna, orig­i­nally of Campobasso, Italy!), and Cider Hill Farm of Amesbury (the most deli­cious sea­sonal EVERYTHING. Also a beau­tiful place to escape to for a day of picking your own berries to bring home for skillet jam!) Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a sticky bun from A&J King of Salem to nibble on as you shop. You can thank me later.

New to the Scene – Danvers Rotary Farmer’s Market, Town Hall Parking Lot

Fridays 3pm-6pm

A true labor of love, the Danvers Rotary Farmer’s Market team has been working tire­lessly over the course of sev­eral years to bring their vision to reality. It makes sense that res­i­dents like Market Manager and key orga­nizer Bill Nolan would want to estab­lish a market – Danvers has a his­tory steeped in agri­cul­ture and is still home to many active farms. The market kicked off this past Friday and was a huge suc­cess! I sipped tasty wine from Rowley’s Mill River Winery, noshed on a to die for rhubarb scone from Beverly’s Pure Pastry, and had tender, deli­cious salads all week made from the most enor­mous head of let­tuce I’ve ever seen (Clark Farm staff taught me the first har­vest of the year is always the biggest!). I even ran into the guys from Marblehead’s Patriot Lobster (a favorite in the Shubie’s kitchen!). Take my advice, skip out of the office early next Friday and kick off a tasty weekend at DFM.

Roadtrip! – Newburyport Farmer’s Market, Tannery Marketplace

Sundays 9am-1pm

Who doesn’t love a daytrip to Newburyport? As if the beau­tiful views, great food, shop­ping, and antique shops aren’t enough, the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market is an unfor­get­table way to start the day. Fill your coffee mugs, toss a cooler in the trunk (because you won’t be able to resist vis­iting a few of the brick and mor­tars after hit­ting the market), and hit the road for an adven­ture! Featuring over 40 ven­dors, pre­pare to lose your­self in this buzzing epi­center of arti­sans, crafts­people, farmers, and fine food pur­veyors from all over Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. There’s even a tent where enter­prising ele­men­tary school-aged crafters can bring their prod­ucts and sell them free of charge! In addi­tion to vis­iting my friends from Wolf Meadow Farm and Fille de Ferme, I stock up on caf­feine at DSquared Java of Exeter, NH, hit Tomtem Beeworks of Ipswich for the most beau­tiful local honey (great for my aller­gies), and rarely leave without a bag of treats for later from the amaz­ingly humble, tal­ented guys at Figtree Kitchen of Portsmouth, NH. It’s your summer. Get out and explore!