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!