Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Farmers Market Finds

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it took a month of living in my new apartment to do the minimal research required to scope out the nearby farmers markets. I really have no excuse, but in my defense, many markets in the Boston area don't really get going until late June or July anyway. A few days ago, though, I was determined to figure out where I could buy some fresh and local produce, and have thus far scoped out two farmers markets in Boston.

The first is located near City Hall, and is open on Mondays and Wednesdays. The second is in Copley Square, and runs Tuesdays and Fridays. The City Hall market was a bit of a disappointment; there were only three or so vegetable stands. They had some nice produce, though, and I came away with a haul of two "eight ball" squash (like round zucchini), a handful of garlic scapes, and some fresh peas that taste so good raw I'm not sure I would ever dare to cook them.

The Copley Square market was a bit more lively, with several more vegetable vendors in addition to a variety of bakery and specialty stands selling things like homemade soaps and dried lavender flowers. Not being one for stinky body products, though, I stuck primarily with the vegetables, and this time came away with a giant head of Chinese cabbage, a verdant bouquet of scallions, a lovely, flower-laden salad greens mix, and some precious baby carrots whose colors range from pale buttercream to deep garnet.

I also picked up a pint of local strawberries, which are much more supple and tender than anything you can buy in the supermarket. The find of the day, however, was half a dozen farm-fresh eggs, which I surely would have overlooked had a vendor not fortuitously grabbed some from the unmarked refrigerator behind the rest of her vegetable wares while I was standing close by.

The eggs were multi-colored - there was even a green one in the mix - and of slightly varying sizes, and looked so adorable and mismatched in their little carton. I walked briskly back to the apartment after my little field trip, where Jonathan enjoyed a rather refined lunch of poached eggs. His were served on toast, mine on top of the previously mentioned salad greens, carrots, and peas.

There is something about fresh eggs that makes them better than store-bought, and I'm convinced it isn't just their novelty. They have a rich, smooth taste and texture, and are somehow brighter, both in color and on the palate, than other eggs. Jonathan finished off the lot this morning with his usual scrambled eggs with scallions, but I think they are best poached, cooked just until the white is set and the yolk is still runny and creamy yellow-orange. I'm definitely going back for more of them on Friday, and this time I think I'll buy a dozen.

There are still a few other markets that I have left to try, namely one in the South End (Sundays, 10am-5pm), that I hope will be worthwhile. Until then, enjoy (vicariously, I suppose) my farmers market finds!


breadchick said...


You should look into the one in Belmont. You can get to by taking the Commuter rail out of North Station or take the Red Line to Harvard Square and hop on the 74/75 bus. When I was living in Cambridge, it was on Thursdays and Saturday.

Otherwise, like you, I found the Copley one to be the best.

Mia said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll have to check that one out...

White On Rice Couple said...

Finding and exploring farmers markets are always so much fun! I certainly hope you get the most out of your markets in your area, especially for having such a short season.
Your finds so far look just wonderful! Your photographs make me want to visit a market tomorrow, even though I already visited one two days ago!
Happy farmers market finds to you!

Katie said...

When I used to chicken sit for the Hansons, H-dawg kept different breeds of hen in separate coops, and the shells of the eggs laid by each breed were different colors.

He also attributed the "goopiness" and dull color of store-bought eggs to prolonged refrigeration, and swore they tasted best eaten directly from the nest... not too sure about that part but they certainly were delicious! Glad you're having fun at the markets.

Memories in the Baking said...

I haven't been to a farmer's market yet this year, and I live 10 minutes from one.

Your pictures are a wonderful treat for the eyes.

Dave said...

Beautiful photos!

And you're not just imagining the difference between really fresh eggs and supermarket eggs. Supermarket eggs are bland and watery because they've usually been held in a warehouse for three or four weeks before hitting the shelves.

SteamyKitchen said...

wonderful photos!

cozypeas said...

Hi Mia, I just came across picture of the peas in the pod, and i live it! Can you send me a private email to because id like to talk to you about the picture :) thanks!!!!