The Boston Public Market
Photos by Michael Piazza / Styled by Beth Wickwire
If you’re a local food advocate, on your first visit to the Boston Public Market you'll feel like a kid in a candy store. Every conceivable food product grown or produced in Massachusetts is there, lined up in an arcade of brightly-lit and colorful stands, like a cross between your favorite farm stand and nearby Quincy Market. There’s farm produce, meat and fish, cheeses, prepared foods to go, snacks and sundries, wine, beer and spirits, along with flowers, coffee, gifts and even a demonstration kitchen where you can learn to cook with all this bounty. It’s all local, and it's a sight to behold.
From conception to opening, it took 19 years. It was a massive undertaking; city and state agencies, as well as private companies and non-profits, coordinated to fund, design, and build out the space. Finally, in 2011, the pieces came together: approvals, location and finances were finalized and the organization went full-steam ahead. Vendors were chosen with strict hyper-local criteria. Boston Bounty Bucks and SNAP/EBT cards would be accepted. Ground breaking on the build-out of an unused parcel above the Haymarket T station took place in October 2014, and by July 2015 it was completed and opened to the public.
Here are the portraits of the food artisans you’ll find at the BPM, as well as the products they sell. You’ll see familiar faces from your local farmers markets (we’ve profiled nearly all of these vendors in our pages), as well as newcomers to the Boston food community. Visit them early and often! Make your holiday table a local one, and keep your food dollars here in Massachusetts.
The Basics about the Boston Public Market:
Location: 100 Hanover Street at Haymarket Station, Boston
Open: Wednesday through Sunday, 8am to 8pm
Parking: Parcel 7 Garage. Entrance on Haymarket Square. $3.00 for 3 hours with validation. Go to the information booth with your parking ticket for stamp.
Slices of fieldstone, in the form of coasters, bowls, and food slabs, are for sale by American Stonecraft. Since 2010, American Stonecraft has visited over 60 farms all over New England, including 18 in Massachusetts, collecting freshly unearthed stones in all sizes, then handcrafting them at their Lowell studio into farm-to-table serving pieces. Each piece varies in color, shape, and pattern with its farm origin labeled on its underside. Find a slab or bowl from your favorite local farm.
Appleton Farms/Trustees of Reservations
Not only is Appleton Farms one of the 22 cheese artisans in Massachusetts, it is also the oldest continuously operating farm in the country, now owned and protected by The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR). Established in 1638, the farm was owned by the Appleton family for nine generations until 1998 when it was donated to TTOR. The farm began making artisanal cheeses from its herd of 40 grass-fed Jersey cows in 2012, and now sells it at BPM alongside other local artisan cheeses, providing shoppers with the best selection of Massachusetts cheeses all in one place. In addition, you can find granola, jellies, preserves, and baking mixes all made by Carolyn’s Farm Kitchen. (See Edible Boston, Spring 2014.)
Beantown Pastrami Company
Eat a hot pastrami, corned beef, or roasted turkey sandwich from Beantown Pastrami Company and travel back to Boston’s 1800s. The business that started as a food truck is now anchored at the market and creating sandwiches, including Reubens (corned beef and sauerkraut), Rachels (pastrami and coleslaw), and sides (baked beans, potato salad, and coleslaw.) They are all made the old-world way using local ingredients when possible. The bread is from Clear Flour Bread of Brookline, and the turkey is from Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster. The beef and mustard are from Maine; the Swiss cheese is from New Hampshire. Soft drinks made by Ipswich Ale are available as well.
Vegan and gluten-free diners can find something delicious to eat at Bon Me. Inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich, Bàhn Mí, Bon Me takes classic Vietnamese dishes, adds fresh, local ingredients, and twists them into new and unique noodle salads, rice bowls, sandwiches, and salads with a variety of fillings. After winning the City of Boston’s Food Truck Contest in 2010, Bon Me opened their first food truck in 2011. They now serve the Boston area with 14 food trucks and three restaurant locations in addition to the BPM. (See Edible Boston, Summer 2011.)
Boston Honey Company
Not all honey is the same, and at Boston Honey Company you can sample the difference between varieties, like wildflower and Japanese knotwood. The company raises its own honeybees, extracts the honey from the comb, and bottles it. The Massachusetts-made honeys include comb honey, wildflower honey infused with pollen and propolis, basswood honey, and clethra honey. The company uses the beeswax, pollen, and propolis to create candles, skin cream, lip balm, and honey soaps all made in Holliston, MA.
Boston Smoked Fish Co.
Boston Smoked Fish Co. began smoking fish in 2013 as Matt’s Amazing Smokehouse with the goal of providing the best smoked fish around. Sustainably harvested salmon, haddock, and bluefish are bought fresh off the Boston docks and smoked in small batches over North American hardwoods. The fish is sold simply smoked as filets, bacon, or paté. For lunch or dinner try the smoked bluefish roll, the smoked haddock chowder, tacos, smoked salmon bagels, or Cajun smoked salmon sliders. (See Edible Boston, Spring 2014.)
Cellars at Jasper Hill
Sample Vermont cheeses at Jasper Hill or indulge in grilled cheese, raclette, or mac ’n cheese made with a blend of melted cheeses (which you can also buy to take home.) Jasper Hill Farm produces its own cheeses and stores other area artisan cheeses at its onsite creamery and cheese caves in Vermont. The farm brings a collection of professionally-aged cheeses made by six small farms in the Northeast Kingdom along with a few other Vermont-made products to BPM.
Chestnut Farms' BPM stall sells a variety of freshly cut meats, plus uncured deli ham, smoked turkey, breakfast sausage, hickory smoked bacon, pepperoni, and eggs. Located in Hardwick, the family-owned farm prides itself on raising livestock humanely, without antibiotics, and connecting the Boston community to the agriculture of Central MA. The farm’s cows, pigs, lamb, goats, chicken, and rabbits are naturally raised and feed on fresh pasture, local hay, nuts, bugs, and worms. The market is also a pick-up location for their meat CSA.
Corner Stalk Farms
Where can you find local and fresh lettuce in Boston when there’s snow on the ground? At Corner Stalk Farms, lettuce is grown hydroponically in freight cars on an empty lot in East Boston. And not just lettuce. The farm also grows and sells basil, dill, mustard greens, and other herbs. Corner Stalk Farms has partnered with the kosher artisanal salt producer, Marblehead Salt Co., and with Spiker’s Shrubs of Amesbury, whose products are available at the stand. (See Edible Boston, Fall 2014).
Crescent Ridge Dairy
Boston loves ice cream, and BPM has one of the best in Crescent Ridge Dairy, with flavors like salted caramel chocolate pretzel, coconut almond bar, pumpkin, and black bear (red raspberry ice cream with chocolate raspberry truffles and chocolate chips.) Although its ice cream bar didn’t open in Sharon until 1968, the company has been bottling and delivering fresh milk to local residents since 1932. Crescent Ridge Dairy sells its milk in glass bottles and its 30 flavors of ice cream in cones and cups.
Whether you’re shopping for a picnic, a quick supper, or a gourmet meal, Daniele offers charcuterie made from hogs grown on New England family farms. The third generation family-owned business has roots in Northern Italy and so do its recipes. Daniele dry-cures and seasons pork into prosciutto, sopressata, salame, capocollo, pancetta, mortadella, chorizo, panini, even pepper shooters (cherry peppers stuffed with prosciutto and provolone cheese), all at its facility in Rhode Island.
George Howell Coffee
Need a caffeine fix? Try a hot or iced Taza mocha, a latte, or espresso at George Howell Coffee. All coffee and espresso drinks are made with coffee beans roasted daily in small batches just 24 miles west of Boston. The company was founded in 2004, 10 years after George Howell sold his 24-cafe chain, The Coffee Connection, to Starbucks. Today the company works directly with farmers in coffee-producing areas around the world that share an interest in social responsibility and sustainability. Choose from an assortment of coffee beans to brew your own coffee at home.
Harlow’s Vermont Farmstand
You don’t have to drive to Vermont to find farm products from over 20 Vermont producers. Harlow’s Vermont Farmstand brings Vermont farm products to Boston, including organic produce, eggs, maple syrup, artisanal cheeses, salsas, even kale chips. The third generation family farm grows certified organic vegetables on over 100 acres on the Connecticut River in southeastern Vermont.
The same people who let you do the brewing at their place in Newton have opened their own package store, Hopsters Alley. At BPM, they have curated an extensive collection of New England craft beers (including their own), hard ciders, and spirits for purchase along with the expertise to guide you in finding what you like to drink. (See Edible Boston, Drinks 2014.)
For breakfast there are shakshuka and bagels, for lunch try the matzo ball soup and falafels. Then take home a knish, a frozen pot pie, and stuffed cabbage for dinner. Inna’s Kitchen at BPM and in Newton prepares Jewish foods from a variety of cultures with local and organic ingredients. The company’s goal: to preserve the culinary tradition of the owners’ Jewish heritage while making food that is “modern and relevant for today’s health conscious society.” Inna’s Kitchen opened in Newton in 2011, 11 years after the family immigrated to the United States from the former USSR.
The Kitchen/Trustees of Reservation
If you want to take a cooking class or participate in a discussion about local food, The Kitchen is the place to go. The Trustees of Reservations have created a state-of-the-art space for all of these activities. Check out their website for the daily class schedule.
Selling seasonal fruit and vegetables, Lakeside Organics sells local farm products directly to institutions helping to provide fresh produce to public schools and hospitals. The Joe Czajkowski Farm originally grew tobacco, potatoes, and cucumbers. Now the farm grows organic produce under the name Lakeside Organics.
Lilac Hedge Farm
Shepherd’s pie, chili, soup, rotisserie chicken, and bacon hot dogs are a few of the ready-to-eat products made with locally raised meat available at Lilac Hedge Farm. The farm provides these meals in addition to eggs and local and sustainable fresh and frozen cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. After raising their animals on borrowed and leased land in West Boylston, Spencer, Lancaster, Rutland, and Berlin for the last four years, Lilac Hedge Farm now owns a 325-acre former dairy farm in Holden, MA where the cattle and sheep will have plenty of room to graze. (See Edible Boston, Winter 2015.)
Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery
What bread will you take home today? Will it be ciabatta, sourdough, or cinnamon raisin? Sesame semolina, cranberry pecan, or Italian? Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery sells these European-style breads as well as croissants. Since 2007, the company has baked bread in Winchester, selling it at farmers markets and retail stores in neighboring towns until 2008 when they opened their own retail shop. (See Edible Boston, Summer 2010.)
Sample all of Mangé’s 12 varieties of fruit flavored vinegar, then choose flavors such as blackberry, lemon, fig, or red pepper, to create your own personalized gift box. Made with fresh fruit picked at its peak, then puréed and preserved, the vinegars can be used to enhance the flavor of food or cocktails. The company has been selling its fruit vinegars, created by a French chef, online since 2012.
Massachusetts Farm Wineries and Growers Association
Taste one or buy a glass and sample a rotating flight of locally-grown wines and ciders on sale at Massachusetts Farm Wineries and Growers Association. With wine and cider from 18 participating wineries, the association’s goal is to educate the public on wine from the state and to advocate for the business interests of Massachusetts wine growers and producers. Once you find what you like, you can purchase it on the spot.
Mother Juice offers local, seasonal, and organic cold pressed juices, smoothies, salads, and other plant based foods, like avocado toast and quinoa bowls. Founded in 2012, the company started out as a food truck, eventually opening a brick-and-mortar cafe in Kendall Square in 2014. Now at BPM, customers can choose between juices like the Cure (beet, carrot, celery, apple, orange, and lemon), Kale Yea (kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, mint, pineapple, ginger), or smoothies like the Almond Love (almond milk, banana, cinnamon, coconut yogurt, flax, almond butter, agave, maca, strawberry). The goal of Mother Juice is “to create a welcoming and friendly cafe that connects Bostonians to their neighborhood farmers, contributes to a sustainable food system and helps spread our message of peace, love and veggies.”
Do you know what’s in your pasta? A variety of pastas are made every day at Nella Pasta’s stand, like sriracha cassarecce, orange creste de gallo, and red wine and balsamic campanelle, along with the signature ravioli they’ve been selling at area farmers markets since 2009. There’s a daily gluten-free option made with rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and almond flours. Frozen ravioli, stuffed with local cheese and seasonal produce, along with pasta sauces from Lynn’s Sauces ’N Love, are available to take home, or choose pasta e faglioli soup with pancetta or a pasta salad of roasted butternut squash with basil, oregano, and hazelnut pesto to eat now. (See Edible Boston, Summer 2010.)
Hand-pulled Shanghai noodles, edamame, gyoza, and wakame are served every day at the Noodle Lab, a stall that specializes in authentic Japanese ramen. At Noodle Lab there is only one noodle dish offered daily, which could be miso or curry with ramen or udon, pork wonton ginger noodle soup, Vietnamese chicken noodle soup, or pork dumplings. Sprindrift seltzers and Maine Root sodas are available to quench your thirst. To discover today’s noodle option, follow the Noodle Lab on Twitter @bpmnoodlelab.
Peterman’s Boards and Bowls
Looking for the perfect gift for yourself or others? Peterman’s Boards and Bowls are made from fallen trees in the woods of Western Massachusetts. Once a Nantucket basket weaver, 15 years ago Spencer Peterman learned how to turn bowls. He now turns logs of cherry, maple, oak, and black walnut into bowls or boards, salad tossers, bottle toppers, and napkin rings. Cut and sanded in Gill, MA, the wood is treated with tung, beeswax, and mineral oil to make them food safe.
Nibble on locally roasted almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds from Q’s Nuts. The Somerville company uses local ingredients when possible, roasting the nuts and seeds in olive oil in small batches and spicing the original mixes with cinnamon and vanilla or cayenne, habanero, cane sugar, and a touch of garlic. You can choose from Limoncello Lavender Cashews, Chocolate Blood Orange Poppyseed Almonds, or Curry Mango Cashews with Sea Salt. Granola is for sale as well as are gift baskets. The company began roasting nuts in 2000 and opened its Somerville storefront in 2012. (See Edible Boston, Winter 2013.)
Red Apple Farm
Warm up on a cold day with hot mulled cider and hot apple crisp from Red Apple Farm. The farm sells everything apple, plus homemade fudge, at BPM. Fresh cider doughnuts, caramel apple loaf, cider syrup, apple butter, and apple salsa are all products made with apples from the Phillipston orchard. You can also purchase apple sauce and sparkling cider from Harvard’s Carlson Orchards, and spicy unfiltered apple cider vinegar tonic from Fire Cider, in Pittsfield. The fourth-generation Red Apple Farm is open seasonally for apple picking, hay wagon rides, and other seasonal events. Visit them at BPM for a taste of fall year round.
For those who love seafood, Red’s Best offers it fresh at the market. Cod, swordfish, mackerel, sea scallops, skate, tuna, halibut, clams—straight out of our local waters. A Boston-based seafood distributor founded in 2008, Red’s Best identifies each type of seafood with the names of the fisherman, vessel, and port, the type of gear used, and any suggestions for cooking. At BPM, you can buy lobster rolls, sushi, chowder, or fish tacos to eat now or choose from an extensive seasonal seafood menu to bring home for lunch or dinner. (See Edible Boston, Summer 2012.)
Find seasonal vegetables at Siena Farms, plus several other products curated from all over New England. The farm sells its own pickled and preserved vegetables as well as mesclun mix, mushrooms, root vegetables, and cabbage year-round, flower bouquets from Upton’s Fivefork Farms, nut butters from Watertown’s Fastachi, sriracha from Sunderland’s Kitchen Garden, cider vinegar from Hadley’s Carr’s Ciderhouse, Iggy’s breads, Sofra’s provisions, and several New England cheeses. Using only sustainable agricultural practices on its 75-acre farm in Sudbury and Concord, MA, the farm began growing vegetables in 2005 and now sells its produce to many Boston area restaurants, 750 CSA members, and at its retail location in the South End.
Pick up seasonal vegetables and honey, eggs, mustard, jams, and pickles, at Silverbrook Farm. The stand sells cranberry sauce made from local Carver bogs, root vegetables, and apples, as well as the farm’s own micro-greens, available year-round. Silverbrook Farm sustainably grows its produce in Dartmouth, MA. The farm has been owned by the same family since 1953.
Soluna Garden Farm
Warm up with a cup of hot tea then bring home an herb blend to spice up your meal from Soluna Garden Farm. On just an acre in Winchester, Soluna Garden Farm sustainably grows organic culinary and medicinal herbs and flowers. The herbs and spices are dried and blended in small batches creating teas of Ceylon chai, mint, and Earl Grey, herbs of lemon balm, nasturtium, and caraway thyme, spice mixes of smoky maple barbeque rub, jalapeño pepper powder, raspberry sugar, and a variety of salts. At BPM, the farm offers chai lattes, iced tea, and other hot and cold teas with house made syrups to drink now or bring home. (See Edible Boston, Summer 2015.)
Stillman Quality Meats
Buy fresh turkey, chicken, pork, or beef, all grass-fed and humanely- and sustainably-raised in Hardwick, MA, at Stillman Quality Meats (SQM). Formerly known as Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm, SQM is the only small farm in the state featuring an on-farm poultry abattoir and meat processing/butchering facility. At SQM, you can buy fresh cuts to bring home, buy farm-made sausages and bacon or order a holiday turkey. (See Edible Boston, Fall 2014.)
Where else can you find not just one variety of peppers, but over 20? Not just red radishes but daikons and Easter eggs? Not just red beets, but chioggia and yellow beets, too, all locally grown? Stillman’s Farm is dedicated to growing the finest variety and selection of produce in the Boston area. For over 30 years, the Stillman family has combined traditional and organic practices to produce fruits and vegetables conscientiously grown on their Lunenburg and New Braintree farms. During the winter months, look for cabbages and root vegetables plus freshly ground wheat and whole wheat berries from Whitesfields Farm in Hardwick, and Rita Brown salad dressing.
Adorn your house or office with sustainably-grown cut flowers, seasonal centerpieces, and potted succulents from Stow, MA. Specializing in hybrid lilies, Stow Greenhouses grows over 90 varieties of flowers year-round in a one-acre glass greenhouse and outside on a 14-acre farm. Fresh-from-the-garden flowers are used to create natural bouquets and centerpieces by the farm’s own design studio. Visit them at BPM to buy a gift and see what’s blooming today.
Love s’mores but not enough to go out camping? Not only does Sweet Lydia’s make 14 flavors of gourmet marshmallows (including coconut, stout and pretzel, and black currant), the company also makes ready-to-eat s’mores in a variety of flavors, like caramel and peanut butter. Sweet Lydia’s began making marshmallows in 2008 and now sells them alongside caramels, chocolates, and other gourmet candy bars at its store in Lowell and at BPM. (See Edible Boston, Winter 2012.)
Need a breakfast pastry, a salty snack, or a sweet dessert? You can find European croissants, sandwiches, pretzels, and linzer cookies, all made without artificial ingredients or additives, at SwissBakers. SwissBakers began baking its European cakes and breads in 1998. They sell their products at farmers markets, at their store in Allston, and now at BPM. Originally from Northern Europe, the company’s objective is to bring European traditions to America.
Do you know where your chocolate bar comes from? Taza Chocolate stone-grinds locally roasted cacao beans and cane sugar into hot or cold chocolate at its Taza Chocolate Bar. With Direct Trade-sourced beans from Central America, Taza has been making chocolate bars in Somerville for almost 10 years with granite Oaxacan stone mills called molinos. Chocolate with cinnamon or guajillo chilies, milk or water, hot or cold? What will you choose? (See Edible Boston, Winter 2007.)
Union Square Donuts
For a quick breakfast and maybe some nostalgia, grab a maple bacon donut from Union Square Donuts. Using local ingredients including milk from Hadley, MA, and maple syrup from Vermont, Union Square Donuts creates a rich and flavorful pastry dough, more like a brioche. There are flavors like brown butter hazelnut crunch and sea-salted bourbon caramel. There are raised donuts for vegans and baked pizza savory squares made with tomato sauce, cheese, and donut dough. Union Square Donuts opened its door in Somerville in 2013 and now sells its pastry at BPM.
Wolf Meadow Farm
Using milk from local, sustainable, and humane dairies, Wolf Meadow Farm makes traditional southern Italian cheeses in Amesbury, MA, the old world way. Cheeses like mozzarella, scamorza, ricotta. There’s ciaocavallo, caciotta, farmer’s cheese, and jams and jellies from Little River Pantry and sauces from Valicente Pasta Farm to eat alongside. The company was started after the recently-immigrated Italian owner studied cheesemaking at the University of Vermont’s Institute for Artisan Cheese. (See Edible Boston, Summer 2014.)
This story appeared in the Winter 2016 issue.