By Tatum McIsaac
One of the most colorful aspects of summer in New England is the arrival and abundance of farmers’ markets. I was first introduced to them in my 20s, on occasional weekend trips to visit family in Waitsfield, VT. I loved the energy of the markets – with dozens of local farmers and makers proudly sharing their passion for food, art and everything in between, with the community. Now that I have children of my own, farmers’ markets take on a whole new meaning for me. They’re a source of fresher-than-fresh produce, healthy alternatives to just about any conventional snack, and a source of great camaraderie and pride for neighborhoods and towns throughout the state.
So as summer came to an end, and I began my new eSS&SC assignment of profiling area farmers’ markets, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many markets run year round, or at least well into the fall. And on a Friday afternoon visit to the Norwell Farmers’ Market held at the South Shore Natural Science Center, it was apparent that the leaves from the south shore thru the south coast weren’t the only things beginning to change their colors this month.
The upside to a market in late September? Local farm tables were lit up with bright orange pumpkins, butternut squash, dark red tomatoes and Macoun apples! Upon arrival, I was quickly drawn in by the colors on display by Freitas Farm, located in Middleboro, and was tempted by their reasonable prices and package deals (a select mix of veggies and fruit for a mere $10).
The downside: With summer officially over, some vendors have called it quits for the season and won’t be back until next June. The ones that remained, though, seemed to have plenty to share (ahem, sell) and were eager to talk about what a great time of year it is to grow, mix, bake and even make wine. On that note, a wine tasting by Travessia Urban Winery was very tempting, but I felt obligated to forge on for the sake of the blog!
After perusing the half dozen vendors that were on display, we filled our bag with fresh apples off the bed of a truck, vegan pumpkin bread from Seeds & Songs Artisan Bakery of North Weymouth and soap samples from Lightning Willow Farm in Rockland.
The market is a little like the town which hosts it: a bit hidden but full of lovely stops to visit during your time there. I briefly spoke to the market’s coordinator, Chris Jacobs, before heading out, and she told me of how she is optimistic about talks with the town to find a location that is more central and visible to those passing through Norwell.
With that said, the grounds of the Science Center are reason alone to visit: beautiful walking trails with native plant display gardens; a children’s indoor discovery zone featuring the flora and fauna of the area, and a collection of New England animals, both live and stuffed, to visit.
As the autumn colors start to set in, all the more reason to relish in yet another one of the best features of New England living: quintessential farmers’ markets where local farmers show their true colors as well. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to returning next summer to check out this growing group of local vendors (yup, pun intended).
Tatum McIsaac is a south shore resident, self-proclaimed foodie, and mom to two kids who actually like vegetables! She works full time in corporate communications, but loves spending her free time perusing farmers’ markets, scoping out local eateries with her husband, and cooking for her family. In addition to her posts on the eSS&SC blog, you can read her New England restaurant reviews at Good Taste by Tatum.