WND – First Market of Summer !

June 4, 2010

Wednesday was such a good food day I feel like it deserves excitable little exclamation points.  It was the first farmer’s market of the season – I bought pints of early summer strawberries to eat for lunch (I was even nice and took one home for my roommate instead of scarfing them all at my desk), and fresh bread from When Pigs Fly for Dinner.  Then I went home and discovered that there would be garden fresh strawberries for desserrt –  not from my garden mind you, but a garden not 10 minutes from my house picked by people actually at Dinner.  

Plus, there was farmer’s market gossip to be had.  When I stopped at the Stillman Farm booth (because yes, I do know the farms who turn up at the market by name, and I have preferences about where I buy what kind of fresh fruit/vegetable – I’m so twee I can hardly stand myself) I heard a rumor that the possibility of a year-round farmer’s market is being floated.  I think it’s still an embryonic idea at this point – not the least of which because I can’t imagine what you could buy and renovated in downtown Boston for $30 million –  but that it’s even being discussed is very exciting.

I understand why most cities moved their commercial markets outside of the city centers – the trucks clog the downtown streets, and ye gods Boston’s rush hour traffic is bad enough as it is – and I imagine the smells that get associated with large produce markets are also not something you want trapped in the city, particularly in the middle of the summer.  However, where Toronto and San Francisco have preserved at least a part of their produce markets in the form of the St. Lawrence Market and the Ferry Building, Boston pretty much did away with the concept of produce downtown all together and it’s only slowly returning.

On Fridays and Saturdays in Boston you can go around the back of Haymarket and peruse the selection of remaindered items from the big commercial produce market in Chelsea that haven’t sold during the week.  You can get some amazing bargains, but it’s all stuff that needs to be eaten that day because it’s teetering on the verge of going bad.  Also, it always feels a little sketchy and I don’t think I’d want to risk buying meat or fish there.

I’m admit it, what I really want is the yuppie paradise that’s embodied by the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  I want the up market cheese counters and bread stores selling fancy sandwiches on crusty bread.  I want the locally sourced jams and relishes, and farm fresh eggs, and I want them within 15 minutes of my office and year round.  I can get all of those things during the summer, but come Thanksgiving the farmers markets pack up until after Memorial Day.  I get this – I wouldn’t wish standing around outside selling squash in a Boston January on my worst enemy – but I still want to buy all those things in January.  My need for hand crafted goat cheese is not actually seasonal.

Lamb Beef Stew with Lemons & Figs

Lamb Beef Stew with Lemon & Figs
It’s not exactly seasonal now that we’ve finally achieved warmer weather – but I’ve reached a point where if I eat another piece of chicken I’m going to scream, and I’ve been craving this combination of sweet and spicy and savory for several weeks now.  Plus, I’m the cook and I get to indulge my cravings sometimes.

Recipe previously given: Lamb Stew & a small soap box

Tender young beet greens and fresh lettuce, the only thing that’s better is pea tendrils and we’re having those for dinner tomorrow night so I get to have my cake and eat it too.



  1. I still don’t know what you’re talking about with the whole pea tendril thing (and I forgot to look when we were at Eastern Standard — I must have been blinded by the glory of my own meal). Could you take a picture of the dish?

  2. oh my goodness, that stew sounds amazing.

    also, i miss when pigs fly bread SO MUCH.

    that is all.

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