With the arrival of spring also comes the return of the farmers markets. In particular, Haymarket Farmers Market, not far from the Freedom Trail or the historical Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, has become an essential part of Boston’s many traditions.
On Fridays and Saturdays, from dusk until dawn, vendors create a lively environment to do some shopping, meet new people and grow accustomed to Boston culture. This is not the typical relaxing, stroll-in-the-park type of market. It doesn’t share the ambiance of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Haymarket is fast-paced.
Vendors are yelling out their specials, and other market-goers are trying to start conversations with you, all while you’re trying not to bump into anyone who’s in a rush, doing their grocery shopping for the week. It may sound overwhelming, but the truth is – it’s exhilarating. It’s not unlike a flea market, where you find an inner urge to scour the place and pick out the best deals. But, in a Spoon-appropriate twist, Haymarket proves instead to work like a modern day food-driven treasure hunt.
I promise that’s not an exaggeration. The fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables are at their peak ripeness, so you could feed yourself for a week for all under $20. From $0.50 avocados to $2 for a bunch of fresh kale, you’re guaranteed to find great deals at Haymarket if you’re on a budget. You could spend hours examining each booth to find the perfect avocado or most vibrant strawberries, but if you don’t have a ton of time, here’s a few highlights.
There are tons of fruit stands, but the citrus produce is especially noteworthy. Lemons and oranges stay fresh longer, plus you can buy six for just $1. Haymarket also exhibits the extensive variety of strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, apples and more.
Be sure to find your way to the oyster bar, where you can enjoy four freshly shucked oysters and clams for $5. The creamy oysters and juicy clams are perfectly complemented with the hot sauce and sliced limes they offer on the side. The rest of the fresh seafood, which is unique to a traditional farmers market, serves as quite a sight, with booths showing off crab legs, raw tuna and slabs of salmon.
Despite the unique addition of seafood at a farmers market, Haymarket still stays true to some traditional aspects, such as the beautiful flower display. The colorful arrangements of roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and daisies could brighten any breakfast table.
Haymarket may not be a classic farmers market choice, but the bustling experience is definitely worth a try.