Market Scene: Newton, Massachusetts
Since 1980, the Newton Parks and Recreation Department has sponsored a large and popular farmers' market every Tuesday in Cold Spring Park, which brings together 25 vendors and as many as 1,000 shoppers during peak season.
Nicewicz Family Farm has been selling at the market for 20 years. They have a reputation for outstanding peaches and corn. Alan Nicewicz explained that even before his grandparents purchased the farm in 1929 there were peach trees on the land. "The soil is very good up there. It's hilly. We have a lot of clay which adds to the sweetness of the peaches. As for the corn, I think we grow some good varieties. We work very closely with the seed companies." For the past four years, a variety called Cameo has proven especially popular with customers.
Over at Old Friends Farm, customers were distracted from beautiful fresh-cut flowers by even showier organic carrots. A basket full of Atomic Red and Cosmic Purple beauties was the center of attention. As a counterpoint to those bright red carrots, farmer Casey Steinberg was offering coolers filled with very clean, ready-to-eat bags of baby lettuce, baby arugula and mixed greens. If you hate spinning lettuce, this is the farm stand for you.
Asian greens were available from Hmong Farms at Flats Mentor Farm. On this donated land, immigrants from Asia and Africa have been growing food for their own needs since 1985. Today, some families have expanded to commercial operations, which provide market shoppers with a welcome selection of diverse choices such as: pea tendrils, amaranth, pac-choy, hukurie, daikon radish, and fuzzy gourd.
"In addition to fresh produce, the market offers turkey, pies, jellies and jams, honey, cider, baked goods, fresh fish, goat cheese, beef, plants, flowers, ice cream, gelato, and sorbet," noted Newton farmers' market manager Judy Dore.
The Newton Farmers' Market at Cold Spring Park is held each Tuesday from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the 1200 Beacon Street entrance (map). This year, the market will run until October 27, 2009.