By Tatum McIsaac
As I wrote this blog post, I was curled up in a blanket on the couch as it snowed outside. With only a few days before Christmas, I thought it unlikely that many people would plan to spend their Saturday morning at a farmers’ market. But I took a trip to Marshfield that day, and let me tell you, I was wrong! Here is what I found…
The Marshfield Farmers’ Market is one of the more popular ones on the South Shore. During the summer months, it resides at the Marshfield Fairgrounds, and is a regular stop for countless locavores. I suppose those same people stay true to their commitment of buying and eating locally, because there were a good two dozen vendors at the fairgrounds’ indoor space when I visited, with a steady flow of patrons coming and going. The winter market is held from 10am-2pm on the third Saturday of each month between November and May.
Upon arrival, I was first greeted by something I haven’t seen at other markets: a chair rushing demonstration by Doug Lowry. It was pretty cool, and made me think of some of the old chairs I’ve inherited from family members that with a little TLC could be back to looking great and actually safe to sit on!
From there, you could certainly tell the holidays were fast approaching. An acoustic guitar player sang Christmas carols as I walked by a Santa-patterned quilt at one table, overlooking another where delicate shell-inspired Christmas ornaments by Kristi Marshall of Rind Design in Marion were on display.
For those in search of a last minute gift for that hard to buy for relative, there was plenty to choose from. In addition to the holiday themed wares, there were hats, mittens and scarves from Sippican River Alpaca Farm; joyfully colored purses, market bags and iPad covers from Flapdoodlebags by Renee Roberts out of Marshfield; bath salts, essential oils and pressed flower cards from Back to Basics; and handmade goatsmilk soaps from West Elm Farm. Handmade wooden toys by Papa Smith Toys gave off a vibe of being in a certain, famous workshop. And for the foodie on your list, truffle oil from Omega Olive Oil, retro-style soft drinks from Simpson Spring Beverages, or sauces from Renaissance Cooking would all make great stocking stuffers.
As someone who will be hosting guests, I was in search of a few items that I could use while entertaining. I became a repeat customer of Foxboro Cheese since first trying their flavored cheese spreads at the Braintree Market; and a first timer of Great Cape Baking Company. I can’t wait to serve up the apple pear bread toasted, with fresh lemon honey fromage. There were also wintery root vegetables, red cabbages and onions available from Norwell Farms, freshly ground coffees from Uncommon Grounds, and Vermont-sourced bacon and meats from Brown Boar Farm. Oh, and Carberry Kitchen offered up something near and dear to my heart: grain free, all natural dog treats. Perfect if Rover’s New Year resolution is to eat better and exercise more!
Admittedly, I prefer Farmers Market’s when they’re outside and there’s an abundance of fresh produce available. But on a wintery Saturday, when all the big retailers were competing for my last minute shopping needs it was a treat to take a break and visit the Marshfield Winter Market. In addition to being pleasantly surprised by a strong turnout at the market, I was reminded of what a special town Marshfield is, where a strong sense of community was palpable. As I made my way back along Main Street and waited for a red light to turn green, I smiled as I saw a group of locals gathered on the corner of Ocean Street, sporting Santa hats, big “Merry Christmas Marshfield” signs and waving to the passing cars. Even better, nearly every driver beeped and waved as they made their way through the busy intersection, clearly appreciative of the holiday greeting.
To see who will attend the Marshfield market this month, check here, and start writing your list!
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.