It was another sizzling hot day in Boston, but opening day at the Community Servings Farmers Market in Jamaica Plain on Wednesday, July 7, was pretty cool in all senses of the word.
I volunteered for a few hours and was pleased to see a steady stream of excited customers arriving for fresh veggies, eggs, bread, and free lemonade. The 4-7pm time slot made it convenient for people to stop on their way home from work, and by then, the heat had dropped, a pleasant breeze was blowing, and there was plenty of shade.
With only four vendors—two farms, a bakery and a florist—the market is small, but the quality and range of products are good.
Brad Brown, pastry chef/owner of the Blue Frog Bakery on Green Street, was selling at a farmers market for the first time and didn’t know what to expect. He’s there because Community Servings’ Social Enterprise Manager, Edith Murnane, is a friend and customer and asked him.
Blue Frog makes delicious pastries like strawberry shortcake, but such delights are too delicate for a hot day, so Brown brought an assortment of breads, cookies, and cakes. “Next time,” he said, “I’ll bring more baguettes and fewer whole cakes. “
Meanwhile, the folks from Millbrook Farm in Concord were busy selling a multitude of berries, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and gooseberries, as well as cucumbers, corn, and tomatoes for only $2 a pound, among other items. “Business today has been more steady than last year,” farmer Shaun Giurleo told me.
Across the patio, Ashley Howard, co-owner of Heavens Harvest Farm in New Braintree with his wife, Ethel, presided over his giant scallions, fresh fennel, little bundles of lemon balm, and assorted other fruits, vegetables and herbs like the proud father of every stalk. He hands out free nasturtium flowers, telling timid tasters that every part of the flower is edible and has a different flavor.
The primary focus of his organic farm is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), but since Community Servings hosts their CSA, they agreed to sell at the market. Howard seemed to recognize the names of every CSA customer and thanked them for participating.
As I left, I heard Howard suggesting a recipe for cooking fennel: slice it thinly, grill it, and serve it on a burger with mustard and fresh chives. Can’t wait to pick up some fennel next week and try it!
The Community Servings Farmers Market is open from 4-7 pm each Wednesday at 18 Marbury Terrace, near the Stony Brook T station in JP. For a list of Massachusetts Farmers Markets, visit http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/.