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/agr/massgrown/farmers_markets.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
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
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
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!