As a major city, Boston has a diverse, constantly evolving food scene. From the North End to Chinatown to the variety of restaurants and outdoor markets, Boston has something for everyone. The one thing, however, that the city lacks is a permanent market that can provide fresh produce and other goods throughout the year. After years of delays, the Boston Public Market is filling this void by bringing the first entirely locally-sourced permanent market in the country to Boston.
The Boston Public Market, which is set to open in July on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Parkway in the North End (above the Haymarket MBTA station), is dedicated to bringing Boston up to speed with other major cities, like Seattle, by creating a space for local farmers and vendors to display their fresh local produce, fish, meats and specialty foods to Bostonians.
Since the rise in interstate food trade overtook Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall as popular public markets in the mid-20th century, Boston has gone without a traditional public marketplace. According to the Boston Public Market Association, the new market will “create a new civic institution, a vibrant marketplace that will let people from all walks of life taste, buy, and understand their food, from how it is made and sourced, to its nutritional value, to its impact on our environment, and of course, how to prepare it to make delicious meals that bring their friends and families together.”
What sets this market apart from others of its kind is the local element. All goods sold at the Boston Public Market will be locally sourced from New England, with Massachusetts producers being given first preference by the market’s coordinators. “We want New England consumers, all 16 or so million of us, to benefit from more food grown in this region,” Andy Kendall, executive director of the Henry P. Kendall Foundation in Boston and local food advocate, said to the Boston Globe. “Leading scholars suggest that more than 50 percent of our food can come from this region.”
When it opens this summer, the 28,000 square foot market will host around 40 vendors selling everything from fresh fruit to candles, as well as a demonstration kitchen and a restaurant, and will function similarly to a typical farmer’s market. Some of the vendors include Appleton Farms, a dairy farm known for its cheese from Ipswich, Massachusetts, the Boston Honey Company from Holliston, Massachusetts and Sweet Lydia’s, a small batch candy company from Lowell, Massachusetts.
“This market will allow us to show off the best of what our small farms and agricultural producers have to offer,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said. “There are a lot of wonderful things grown and made in Massachusetts that people ought to know about.”
Coordinators are hopeful that the Boston Public Market will become an institution in the city to unify, educate and provide food for all citizens while celebrating pride for all that New England, and Massachusetts specifically, has to offer.
“Our investment in the Boston Public Market creates a place where rural farmers and urban families, financial workers and fishermen, brewers and bee keepers can come together in a new civic institution where we all share the bounty of our state,” Governor Patrick said in a statement.