City dwellers today have larger access than ever to fresh, locally grown produce thanks to the popularity of farmers’ markets. Bostonians are fortunate to have access to several thriving city markets, but unique on the list, and not to be missed, is the Copley Square market.
When I moved from a city suburb of Boston to an actual suburb in the summer of 1989 my sisters and I enthusiastically described it to our cousins as “like being in the country!” Our new street had no telephone poles or street lights. A chicken coop marked where the yard met the woods, and in the summer I woke up to the chk-chk-chk-whrrrrrrrr of the automatic sprinkler. These were rural-suburb things.
From there I went to college in a slightly larger urban environment, and then made the jump to Boston, where I’ve been for the past six years. I enjoy the hustle, bustle, and public transportation options that an urban center has to offer (goodbye car, hello Charlie Card), but I have also learned how much I miss what was left behind “in the country.”
Knowing my love for the region and the pressing urge I feel to get back to nature, I was delighted to catch sight of a colorful little book titled “Markets of New England” by Christine Chitnis, cataloguing over fifty of the best farmers’ markets and crafts markets throughout our six states. My delight doubled when it dawned on me that Christine was The Crafty Yankee – a fellow Yankee blogger!
I look for ways to get my rural fix however I can, and I especially love the opportunity to visit the local farmer’s markets. I suspect that many of you enjoy this, too. Wandering through a cluster of tables and tents selling produce and wares from local growers and artisans gives me the opportunity to see the face of the farmer or maker, say hello, and support their trade. It’s a “good neighbor” feeling, and Christine’s book does a terrific job of highlighting some of the best each state has to offer, along with colorful photographs.
I knew “Markets of New England” would provide me with a lot of inspiration for venturing outside of the city, but then I saw the Copley Square market listed as one of Massachusetts’ best. The Copley Square market is held seasonally on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 – 6:00 and I had never been able to go, so when the opportunity arose a few weeks later, I went for it.
Christine was right. The market is vibrant and full of delicious things. It’s satisfying to rub your thumb along the leaf of a potted pineapple sage while standing in the shadow of the John Hancock tower, marvel at a crate of pattypan squash one crosswalk away from the massive Boston Public Library, or sniff a sun-warmed heirloom tomato while a bus roars past. Country meets city. Farmer meets human resources representative in dress slacks.
The Copley Square market has the usual array of produce, baked goods, flowers, jams, herbs, cheeses, and gourmet foods. The things that make it truly unique are the location and customers. Amidst the aforementioned library, skyscrapers, hotels, and Trinity Church a jumble of commuters, tourists, and the few that call Back Bay home are buying arugula and having impromptu goat cheese picnics in the middle of downtown Boston.
For me, being able to get the best of both words for a half hour on a sunny summer Friday afternoon was a genuine treat. Put “Markets of New England” on your wish list and the Copley Square market on the agenda for your next trip into Boston, especially if you crave a break from all-things urban and want to indulge in kringle cookies.
I highly recommend the kringles…