When we can, we eat where we live. In 2009 friends of ours offered a half share in a pig, being raised by their neighbor next-door, and we have cheerfully eaten most of our score. I grow kitchen herbs, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage and lavender in my own garden and freeze everything I can in the fall to use when it is no longer in season. These choices have ushered in home cooked food with fresh and clean flavors, a reduction of chemicals and processing and a lower impact on our natural world.
I recently began working in Boston again and was very excited when I first saw the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bread, fruit, vegetables, cheese, roasted nuts, fresh cut flowers and sandwiches are available almost every day. The vendors vary from one day/week to the next, but their products always look and most certainly taste great! Being able to eat where I work while avoiding fast food and packaged choices is fantastic. The addition of the Clover Food Truck, which I wrote about last week, has attracted even more buzz and more patrons. If you work in Boston in the area of South Station you should follow Clover on Twitter at @cloverdwy. The daily updates on their menu are a fun way to decide where to eat when you didn’t bring from home.
Last week I interviewed a few vendors at the Dewey Square market to understand the benefits of the market to them and their patrons.
Allison Chase from Keown Orchards said that from the market “city residents have access to fresh produce and products they might not otherwise get” and “the farm gets good exposure which often results in visitors to the farm”. When asked about which products are their most popular Allison indicated that their honey is very popular and that in the fall they can bring up to 60 varieties of apples to the market. I can’t wait to try some types of apples I have never had before!
Beth Quinn co-owner of Q’s Sweet Roasted Nuts said that “patrons at the farm markets are more open to experimentation with flavors” and that they sell many more of their more exotic flavors here than at other retail locations. I have personally tried the Key Lime Ginger, Cayenne Mango and Mexican Chocolate flavors, none of which lasted long at all. Beth also feels that the farm market offers a great support network amongst the vendors and she hopes that the Dewey Square market becomes a permanent farm market in the city.
This year we have joined the Local Harvest CSA (community-supported agriculture project) run out of Concord, NH. We saw an article on the CSA trend in the Hippo Press and sought out what was available nearby. While we already eat healthy, we often return to the same vegetable options week over week, and we though a CSA might give us options that we would have to learn how to use and would definitely come to enjoy. Bingo! This is week two and we have already enjoyed baby pak choi for the first time. We have garlic scapes on deck from this week, something I am looking forward to working with.
The Local Harvest CSA is a cooperative of eight local organic farms with produce offerings of cantaloupe to kale greens, and all of the classics like tomatoes and lettuce as well. A bread share is also available for an additional fee. Margot and I signed up for the single share priced at $29 per week. Some back of the envelope math based on organic (for a fair comparison) produce available at our local markets suggests the price and quantities are competitive. We are sure to be challenged to come up with new recipes to use a wide range of produce we haven’t enjoyed before. We also get to support local farmers, ingest fewer chemicals and live a bit more gently. Mission accomplished.
This week we received the following items:
- Romaine lettuce
- Garlic scapes
- Mixed field greens
- Green onions
- Spinach and chickpea pesto style spread with garlic scapes on crusty bread
- Pea risotto wrapped in lettuce
- Orzo (maybe) pasta salad made with his own handmade cider vinegar