Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year, New Markets

Somehow, over a year has passed since I posted on the growing trend toward winter farmers markets in Massachusetts. And, somehow, I have managed to put together only one post since that time. Yes, it would be easy to feel embarrassed and chagrined at such a poor blogging performance, but I'm inclined to go easy on myself--new babies, full time jobs, and freelancing do not a busy blogger make, at least not around here. But, it's a new year and I'm newly organized, so you can expect to be seeing a lot more action on the Ecofoodie scene. And, although it may seem repetitive, I wanted to start with a quick note about this year's winter market bounty.

Since that second-to-last post, the number of winter markets in Massachusetts has mushroomed, and they are absolutely worth a (weekly) visit. This winter, Bostonians (and near-Bostonians) can find winter farmers markets in Cambridge, Somerville, and beyond, and there are three (yes, three!) markets in Boston proper--one in the Belvedere Arcade at the Prudential Center, one in the South End, and another in Dorchester. Amazingly, every one of these markets will play host to fresh produce from multiple Mass farms, including Red FireEnterprise and Winter Moon, which grows exclusively winter root crops. (If you have not yet tasted a Winter Moon carrot, get thee to a market this weekend and try a sample--you will never buy a supermarket carrot again!) Many of these new urban markets were born out of a desire to improve year-round access to fresh, healthy food, particularly for low-income residents. (The Boston Bounty Bucks program allows SNAP users to get 50% off of their market purchases up to $20, and all of these winter markets are participating.) There's also a wealth of things to do while you shop, from cooking demos, to live music, to educational activities for the kiddos. Personally, my son and I stumbled into a little slice of perfection last week in Cambridge: mama sipped coffee and nibbled an almond croissant while baby danced and toddled to a little acoustic guitar. Saturday morning heaven.

Since the holidays, we've been heading to a different market every week and happily warming our bones with the harvest. Sweet roasted beets and carrots, potato and kale soup, and even a little greenhouse salad mix for a grassy, oh-so-fresh taste of summer. This weekend we'll be checking out the scene in Dorchester, and I promise to post some pics.

To read more about how these markets are changing the face of their communities and to see the full list of market locations and times, click here to take a peek at my most recent article for Edible Boston. Happy shopping, and even happier eating!

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