In three weeks, the farmers' market summer season in Massachusetts will begin. "Over 200 farmers' markets will be opening during the months of May and June, some beginning as early as mid-May," said Hannah T. Freedberg, community outreach director at the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers' Markets. By July, that number should climb to a new record of more than 250 markets statewide.
Early Reports From the Farmers Are Good
"We have made good use of all the great weather and have been able to get out onto our fields earlier than usual. At this point we always keep our fingers crossed, as the weather can take a turn for the worse at any moment," said Kate Stillman of Stillman's at the Turkey Farm.
The Stillman family sells at more than a dozen farmers' markets. She said she'll have some early greens, but most of what she'll bring to the first markets will be flower and vegetable plants for home gardeners.
Farmers' Markets at Highway Service Plazas
Bostonians traveling to and from vacation homes and weekends away will find new farmers' markets along the way. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is expanding their farmers' market program to include all 18 service plazas on state highways beginning in May. This program has been in place for the last ten years at eleven service plazas. These markets are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to dusk. In peak season, additional days may be added to the schedule.
"Local farmers are invited to take advantage of free vending space at the state's 18 highway service plazas to sell their home-grown produce and made-in-Massachusetts products," said Dave Fenton the program coordinator from MassDOT.
Farmers can apply for space at one of the service areas on a first-come first-serve basis. The combination of rent-free vending locations and access to a new customer base can be a boon to area farmers.
Here's a list of Boston's markets that will open by mid-June, with an exact opening date and the day of the week it will operate. You can look up complete information on each market at MassFarmersMarkets.org
South End/SOWA: May 16 (Sundays)
Copley Square: May 18 (Tuesdays and Fridays)
Kendall Square: May 19 (Wednesdays)
Prudential Center: May 20 (Thursdays)
Boston City Hall Plaza: May 24 (Mondays and Wednesdays)
Cambridge Charles Square: May 23 (Sundays)
Central Square, Cambridge: May 24 (Mondays)
South Station/Dewey Square: May 27 (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
Roslindale/Adams Park: June 5 (Saturdays)
Cambridge Charles Square: June 11 (Fridays)
Harvard University Farmers' Market, Cambridge: June 15 (Tuesdays)
Brookline/Coolidge Corner: June 17 (Thursdays)
About the author: Publisher of BostonZest.com, Penny Cherubino is a perpetual student of food, wine, cheese and the good things in life. She loves cooking, dining out and being part of the Boston food community.