by Michael Manni
Photography by Michaela Johnston
As most permanent residents can attest, it can become quite frustrating to wait in the long lines at the “cute” Boston Chowder stand or the “authentic” pizza slice in Faneuil Hall. Faneuil Hall may have great food, but it also comes with loud groups of tourists with a constant bombardment of camera flashes and shuffling lines.
However, you don’t have to sacrifice the charm of Faneuil Hall to give up the long queues. There are tons of places to go to avoid the lost families and shuffling crowds that come along with the hot tourist spots of the city. It can be a struggle to find somewhere to go and grab some great food in a calm environment that won’t drain your wallet.
If you want to express your inner Master Chef and try a healthy recipe for yourself, check out the Boston Public Market right down the street from the Haymarket T Station at 100 Hanover St. The Public Market features dozens of local vendors selling locally sourced foods and other goods ranging from gourmet nuts from Somerville to honey from Holliston to beer from Newton.
Because it opened in May 2015, the market is still unfamiliar with many permanent residents of Boston and even less familiar to tourists, making it an escape from the crawling pace of Faneuil Market, even though it’s only blocks away. The indoor market is open year-round, instead of the typical farmer’s market, which relies on sunny weather to bring in customers.
The interior of the market is simplistic, yet surprisingly modern. Each stand has a custom hanging sign, making it more appealing than the plain signage of a grocery store and providing each stand with a unique identity that draws the shopper in depending on what they’re looking for.
On the day I went, the market wasn’t too busy, but it still managed to feel cozy and not cavernous. Although I could tell that the number of selections was endless, the layout and individual feel of each stand made it much less overwhelming that numbered aisles of a typical market. It was nice to see that everything was very clean while not feeling eerily sterile, and that it was easy to feel welcome despite never having been there before.
One of my favorite vendor stations I visited was the meat stand Daniele from Pascoag, Rhode Island. I bought a package of amazingly delicious prosciutto sliced from New England farm-raised pork. One would expect this food to be extremely expensive, but it actually cost less than similar products from Whole Foods.
After I bought the prosciutto from Pascoag, I walked down the aisle to the vendor Wolf Meadow Farm from Amesbury, M.A. to get some freshly sliced provolone made with locally sourced milk. To finish off what my sporadic wandering started to turn into a sandwich, I walked sought out some fresh lettuce and bread. I found the perfect Italian bread from Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery stand, baked fresh in Winchester, M.A., and found a deliciously crisp head of romaine lettuce at the Lakeside Organics stand from Hadley, M.A.
Although you may think that the Market is just a place to stop for food, while I was there I found some great information about various programs that are held at various points throughout the year, many of them put on by the vendors themselves. One such program was the terrarium building class that was going to be held in mid-March by vendor Stow Greenhouses with succulents and other materials they provide. The thought of being able to grab some great food and also take home a plant that I actually might not kill sounds pretty great! Of course, if terrarium building isn’t everyone’s style, but the Public Market’s twitter (@BosPublicMarket) and their website post regular updates on fun happenings at the market.