Friday, March 15, 2013

Explore: Brookline Winter Farmer's Market

Whatever your plans are for this Sunday, cancel them.

Where you need to be from 12pm - 5pm this Sunday is the Brookline Winter Farmer's Market.

Last weekend I met three of my cousins at Zaftigs in Brookline for lunch. When we put our name in with the host he said it would be a 45-60 minute wait. Undeterred, my cousin suggested we pass the wait time across the street at The Arcade, home to the Brookline Winter Farmer's Market.

I have always wanted to check this out, but since I live all the way in Watertown now, Coolidge Corner isn't exactly close. I was so excited I literally skipped through the cross walk.

As I said, the market is set up inside The Arcade, right next to one of my favorites, Rami's Falafel. In case you get nervous you're not in the right place, the banners will reassure you.

The first table set up inside was for the market itself and the two lovely women staffing the table were selling t-shirts and aprons. The t-shirts were super soft and I loved the design that had the word "Brookline" climbing up the side.

The aprons for sale were also quite cute. They had a picture of a rooster weathervane with the words, "Fresh, not frozen. (Weather permitting.)"

After the host table I met two energetic gals from Nola's Fresh Foods. They were offering samples of two kinds of salsa - salsa fresca and a salsa with corn and black beans.

The salsa fresca was the stand out. I could totally make that entire tub disappear in one sitting.

I loved their packaging which had a very seductive, pin up illustration that reminded me of posters hanging in New York City's Tortaria.

Heading further into the market there was brightly colored, fresh produce everywhere. It's hard to remember there is snow on the ground when you see something like this!

I really have to hand it to the team from Stillman's, their booth was by far the most creative. They had a chalkboard sign (my favorite) listing all of their meat offerings - pork, lamb or beef.

I also loved their wildlife photos for their egg and poultry business.

If you aren't familiar with the names of the cuts on their packaging, you can look it up on one of their handy takeaway cards. These are so simple, but so genius.

Another great marketing move, the Stillman's team promoted dishes you can order for St. Patrick's Day, Passover or Easter.

Next to Stillman's was Samira's Homemade. I just read about Samira's in The Improper Bostonian and head been wanting to try their dips.

They have countless Mediterranean spreads like Mousakaa, Tabouli, Baba Ganoush and more.

I got to taste the jalapeno hummus which was excellent. Just the right amount of kick without losing the classic hummus flavor.

Samira's also sells za'atar topped lavash, which is very hard to resist!

While at their booth I learned Samira's has a store front just about a mile from my house on Belmont Street!

The next booth really won my heart. Nella Pasta not only sells fresh made ravioli, but they let you taste the fillings! That day all the filling choices were spelled out on a blackboard:

I asked to taste the mushroom duxelles and it was heavenly! I love mushroom so it doesn't take a lot to convert me, but this flavor was so rich.

A Brookline favorite, Clear Flour Bread, had quite the set up. Their staff person told me they just got this bread rack for shows and events. It's beautiful.

Each loaf of bread looked so fresh and doughy. I wanted to buy one of every variety.

I thought these half loaves up front were for taste testing, but I was sadly informed that they are not.

In addition to the bread, Clear Flour was also selling granola, a perfect addition to your weekend breakfast routine. Or just to munch on while you walk around the farmer's market.

At the end of the row was the Cape Cod Fish Share. As I don't eat fish, I didn't stop to chat at this booth, but I really appreciate that the staff person matched his sweatshirt to their sign.

Across the way in the second row was Vianne Chocolat which had some of the most delicate, beautifully presented chocolate truffles.

I love the black tea flavor in the front, right corner that looks like a yellow lady bug.

Vianne Chocolat also had gorgeous chocolate truffle boxes you could give as gifts. This would make an excellent hostess gift.

They also offered what they described as, "Rich, dark and steamy hot chocolate." Sold! I don't drink coffee, so I am always on the look out for a great hot cocoa mix.

Lastly, if you are starting to think about putting together Easter baskets, Vianne Chocolate has the most adorable chocolate bunnies!

I am completely obsessed with their branding. Their poster girl reminds me of the feminine, whimsical illustrations from Daily Candy.

Right next to the chocolate temptations was the table for Silverbrook Farm. I hadn't heard of them before and learned they are located in Dartmouth, MA. All of their produce had such vibrant colors. They even made turnips (the ugliest root vegetable) look delicious!

I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous color of their radishes. The farmer said to me, "Those? Those are nothing. You should have seen the bunches I had first thing this morning - now those were gorgeous."

The theme of "get here early" would come up at the next two booths I visited. Noted.

The coolest thing I found at the Silverbook Farm table was wasabi flavored micro greens. How awesome is that?

Wouldn't you love to garnish an Asian salad or a peanut noodle dish with these?

After Silverbrook Farm came the table for Cannistraci Fine Foods which was offering three flavors of popovers.

When we first walked in I noticed the sign for chocolate popovers and made a mental note to return, but by the time I got back to their table, the chocolate ones had already sold out!

My last stop was at the table of an old friend, The Cupcakory. She was doing great business and had already sold out of a few flavors. Again, come early!

She had adorable to-go boxes so if you wanted to take one or two home, your guilt would be over ridden by the cute packaging.

March is such a hard month. It's the middle of winter, we're still getting snow, it seems your toes will never see anything but the inside of a boot again, but when you visit the Brookline Winter Farmer's Market, you feel hopeful and excited again. You feel like spring really will come and you can cook with fresh, seasonal veggies and heck, you might even be back out in your yard.

Have your hope renewed this Sunday from 12pm - 5pm at the Arcade, 318 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA. In the meantime, follow the market on their Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Molly! Thanks from all of us at the Brookline Winter Farmer's Market for the great, all-inclusive shout-out.

    All you market lovers, if you haven't visited, Come Soon! We love our vendors and our customers really love our community. See you soon.


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