BOSTON – Farmers markets are nothing new. In fact, you can say Massachusetts led the trend—all the way back in the 17th century. But the 17th century didn’t take into account sustainability for both regional economies and environmental diversity. It was a brave new world in 1634. Costco had only 300 odd years to catch up.
Despite the predictions of market oversaturation in recent years, farmers markets continue to thrive. There’s an estimated 8,600 registered with the USDA. And the numbers are predicted to grow. Massachusetts alone currently boasts over 300 regional markets, not counting other entries from expected New England states like Vermont. Many of whom will be on hand at this year’s Boston Local Food Festival, occurring this Sunday, September 15th on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Billing itself as “New England’s Largest One-Day Farmer’s Market,” the festival is currently in its tenth consecutive year. It’s a zero-waste and family-friendly event sponsored by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, designed to help generate and raise awareness of sustainable food options for Greater Boston area residents through activities, education and vendor offerings.
Even if face painting and educational lectures aren’t your family’s cup of kombucha, there’s additional activities for adults including a “Seafood Throwdown” between local chefs, live cooking demos and samples from over 60 vendors—including the likes of Maple Valley Creamery, Brewer’s Crackers, North Square Oyster, Somerville Chocolate, Nashoba Brook Bakery, Boston Organics and Wood Stove Kitchen.
But defining just what is a farmers market can be tricky, however. Traditionally, it might include anything from a quaint roadside apple stand in Maine to… whatever the free for all Haymarket is. But the definition has been expanded.
Take Cabot Creamery for example, probably the most well known vendor at this year’s festival. It’s a regional brand—owned by the Agri-Mark dairy cooperative of local farmers, which counts some 900 employees and whose 2016 revenue was estimated just shy of $1 billion. And while only a fool wouldn’t welcome a taco truck at any outdoor event, whether or not Taco Party counts as an agricultural concern depends on your own brand of logic.
But that's just nit-picking. Don’t let it put a damper on things. Sunday may be the last summer-like day you’ll have this September, so you might as well use it productively.
The Boston Local Food Festival is being held this Sunday, September 15th on the Rose Kennedy Greenway starting at Milk St in Boston from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. Admission is free. For more information, including a full schedule, visit bostonlocalfoodfestival.com