New England foodies now have their very own “Hub of the Universe” in the form of the Boston Public Market, a year-round indoor market dedicated to selling locally grown and produced foods, flowers, wines, beers, and handmade items. The beautiful 28,000-square-foot space is packed with fresh New England flavors, so it’s no surprise that the North Shore is very well represented, by farms, craftspeople, and so much more. Here’s a peek into how a few of these folks are bringing a taste of the North Shore into Boston.
Wolf Meadow Farm, Amesbury
When Luca Mignogna couldn’t find the kinds of cheeses he loved from his native Italy here in the United States, he took matters into his own hands, quite literally. The result is Amesbury–based Wolf Meadow Farm, which makes Italian-style cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta from cows’ milk that’s incredibly fresh: Milk from the nighttime milking of local cows becomes cheese on customers’ plates the next day. Wolf Meadow Farm’s Boston Public Market booth also takes advantage of being in a space with other local vendors, says Christina Barbieri, Wolf Meadow Farm’s director of operations and co-owner. They serve prepared items and panini made with their mozzarella, plus fresh roasted squash or tomatoes from neighboring vendors. There are also other products for sale at the booth that pair well with the cheeses, like jams and jellies from Little River Pantry in Newmarket, New Hampshire, and salt from Gloucester–based Atlantic Saltworks. “It’s a way to give people a bite of our cheese in a different way,” says Mignogna.
Appleton Farms, Ipswich
When it came time to establish its booth at the Boston Public Market, Appleton Farms wanted to highlight the range of wonderful cheeses that come from the Bay State. That’s why it partnered with the Massachusetts Cheese Guild to sell a range of other cheeses, like burrata from Mozzarella House in Peabody and creamy chèvre from Valley View Farm in Topsfield. Booth manager Gannon Long says that unlike in other shops, which might relegate local cheeses to a corner of the cheese case, Massachusetts cheeses are always the star at the Appleton Farms booth. “We do our best to keep a broad representation,” she says. They work with about 15 different farms—which make about 80 different styles of cheese—on a rotating basis. New farms are slated to be added soon, including Newbury–based Dancing Goats Dairy.
American Stonecraft, Lowell
“We are a studio that tells the story of New England farmers’ battle with rocky soil,” says Gerald Croteau, artist and founder of Lowell–based American Stonecraft. Croteau works with more than 45 farms in New England and New York to take their local “crop” of rocks off of their hands and turn them into beautiful creations for the kitchen and home. By cutting and polishing the stones, Croteau creates rustic “food slabs,” coasters, and “bowlder” bowls that accentuate the stones’ beautiful interior colors and designs. Since each finished piece is labeled with the farm of origin, North Shore residents might see familiar names, like Turkey Hill Farm in Haverhill and Mann Orchards in Methuen. Whereas the Lowell location is more of an artist’s studio, the American Stonecraft booth at Boston Public Market provides more of a storefront that offers a wider selection to customers. “People really enjoy visiting the market, and it’s been a great resource for us as a studio to connect with a bigger audience,” Croteau says.
Beantown Pastrami Company, Gloucester
Proving that Bostonians can tackle anything—even New York-style pastrami—Beantown Pastrami Company is serving up classic pastrami and other sandwiches to hungry marketgoers. Shop co-owner Joe Langhan says he recently got a very happy phone call from a Brooklyn native who told him: “This is the first real pastrami I’ve had in Boston.” Despite its name, though, Beantown Pastrami Company isn’t a one-trick sandwich shop. Langhan and the shop’s other co-owner, John Girard, also make Reubens, Rachels, corned beef, breakfast sandwiches, and the Pilgrim sandwich, which has gained a following for its freshly roasted turkey, homemade stuffing, and cranberry relish. Sides from Classic Cooks Catering in Gloucester round out the offerings. Of course, no sandwich is complete without a pickle; Beantown Pastrami Company sources theirs from Maitland Mountain Farm in Salem.
Sweet Lydia’s, Lowell
“It started with the homemade marshmallows,” says Lydia Blanchard, owner of the confectionary Sweet Lydia’s. “And now we’re probably just as well known—or more—for our chocolate salted caramels.” The fact is, Sweet Lydia’s is well known for many of its products for a reason: It creates decadent candy bars, fruit jellies, and other confections out of real ingredients, not anything artificial. And customers can taste the difference. Unlike store-bought marshmallows, the ones from Sweet Lydia’s are light and fluffy, and the flavors come from ingredients like real spices, fruit purées, and homemade caramel. “Our bright-pink raspberry marshmallows are pink with raspberry, not red dye,” she says. Now, Blanchard’s thrilled to be bringing her sweet treats to Boston. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity,” she says.
Soluna Garden Farm, Winchester
Soluna Garden Farm has made a name for itself in Winchester with its sustainably grown herbs and flowers, plus tea and spice blends. Now, co-owners Amy Hirschfeld and Tatiana Brainerd are expanding on that at Boston Public Market, serving their own hot and iced teas and chai lattes, as well as selling the signature tea and spice blends that customers love so much. There’s also a selection of homemade flavor syrups, like lemon thyme, mint, lemon verbena, and cinnamon. Soluna Garden Farm has teamed with other Boston Public Market vendors, too. For instance, Sweet Lydia’s chai marshmallows are not only made with the Ceylon chai spice blend, but they also float on top of Soluna Garden Farm’s chai lattes for an extra treat. “We’re really trying to collaborate with different vendors because it’s such a fun environment in the market,” Hirschfeld says.