Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Farm Hill Farmers Market: Now Open in Stoneham

Yesterday was opening day of the Farm Hill Farmers Market in Stoneham, located on the Stoneham Common. The market will now be open every Tuesday, through October 11th, from 2pm-6pm. (Though the banner says 7pm, the time was changed to 6pm). It is open late enough so you can make a stop there after work to bring home something for dinner. Throughout the seaon, the Market will also offer entertainment, weekly raffles, and information on healthy eating and organic products. If you live in the local area, you should make a stop here to check out all the delicious offerings. 

The Farm Hill Farmers Market, now in its third season, is the premiere fundraising project of the Senior Center Friends of Stoneham. Proceeds from the Market benefit the programs and services of the Stoneham Senior Center.  At the Market, you'll usually find about 15 or so vendors, with some of the vendors only present every other week. Despite being cool and overcaste yesterday, plenty of vendors still showed up for the opening, and I got a good sense of the nature of the Market this year, and it should be even better than last year.

Let me mention some of the vendors you'll find this year.

Hanson's Farm, located in Framingham, grows over 52 acres of fruits and vegetables. This is their first year at the Market, and currently offer a variety of fruit, vegetable and herb plants which you can plant in your own garden. They also sell fresh strawberries, some vegetables, and will be selling many more items in the near future.

Got a sweet tooth? Then buy some Caramel Corn or Confetti Corn (a multi-colored popped corn).

Lawton's Family Farm/Foxboro Cheese has some intriguing offerings, including their own cheese, grass fed beef, and humanely raised veal. They sell Asiago cheese as well as Fromage Blanc, in several different flavors such as chive and lemon honey. I sampled the Asiago and it was good. Their grass fed beef is available as ground beef, patties, hot dogs, kielbasa and more. The veal is available as rib chop, osso buco, veal stew, veal sausage and more. I will be buying some of their meat in the near future, but am excited that it is available at the Market.

The famed Piantedosi Bakery sells a wide selection of breads, from foccacia to ciabatta rolls, from scali to olive loaf. Most of us have probably eaten their breads before so you know what to expect.

 You'll find more than just food here, such as the Kaleidoscope Soaps, selling a diverse selection of artisan made soaps.

Maybe the cupcake craze is dying off, as whoopie pies seem to be now dominant.  Whoopdedoo Bakery, based in Stoneham, makes large whoopie pies ($2.50 each), in several flavors, including original chocolate, mint chocolate, lemon, vanilla raspberry, peanut butter and strawberry. I bought a couple of the original chocolate to taste, as they did look enticing.

Wenger's Farm offers plenty of tasty choices, including eggs, strawberries, vegetables, pies, cookies, breads, honey and more. I bought a loaf of their cinnamon pull-apart bread ($3.99).

If you get tired while walking around, Philip Davidson, LMT of PMD Massage, can give you a short massage.

Jones Farm, an organic farm, has a diverse selection, including eggs, strawberries, veggies, honey, breads, granola, maple syrup and even goat's milk soaps. If you seek organic produce, then seek them out. 

West River Creamery, located in Vermont, brought several different cheese, as well as some maple syrup. Their selection of cheese will rotate each time they are at the market, which should be every other week. The cheeses this week included Cambridge (a farmhouse cheddar), a Smoked Cambridge, Farmhouse Jack, Firehouse Jack, Chevre, Marinated Chevre and Marinated Feta. Samples of all were available, and they were very good cheeses. I really enjoyed the Smoked Cambridge and the Chevre.

Rett's Home Baked Goodies has a smorgasbord of baked goods, including cookies, breads, muffins and more. They sell Snickerdoodles so I will have to try some soon to see how they match up to my favorites.
A couple of the stalls were still setting up while I was there, one that seemed to be selling cosmetic jewelry, maybe handmade, and another that was apparently selling TupperwareMamadou Bakery, which makes superb breads (especially their sesame semolina) was unable to attend this first Market but should be there next week. You will see other vendors there in the coming weeks.

Still River Winery, who sell Apfel Eis, a delicious apple ice wine, also were not there this week. They are currently still trying to acquire a license from the town. The Governor passed a law last August, permitting local wineries to show their wines at farmer's markets, but each town must grant a license.  Many other communities have already granted licenses to local wineries and Stoneham should do the same.

Their primary concern may be liability, but that risk appears quite low. Still River has a single product, just one apple ice wine, so each customer will only receive a single sample, one ounce, of wine. That won't be enough to make anyone drunk, and obviously the owners would check everyone's i.d. before providing them a sample.  Still River is a small, local family business that deserves our support, especially as their apple ice wine is so delicious.

I hope to see some of my readers at the Stoneham Farmers Market in the coming weeks.

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