I can’t believe this Sunday is the last week of the Brookline Winter Farmer’s Market.
And they said it couldn’t be done. “The Arcade can’t accommodate an indoor market,” they said. “There aren’t enough year-round vendors to participate,” they lamented. “Apart from potatoes and beets, farmers can’t sell veggies 52 weeks a year,” they complained.
Wrong, wrong, and wronger, still.
And here’s the biggie: “Who wants to shop for vegetables in the snow?”
A lot of people, apparently. At times, up to 1,500 a week.
Take that, naysayers. Eating and buying local isn’t a movement, it’s a way of life. Customers are proving it weekly at farmer’s markets in Brookline and across the country. They’re investing their time, energy and money one root vegetable, one dozen fresh eggs or one bunch of parsley at a time, building sustainable economies that support food justice and craft and artisan production. And eating more healthfully, too.
For all my enthusiasm and optimism, I was clueless when I named the market. The Brookline Winter Farmer’s Market? Not so much. I mean, come on. We’re around for 32 weeks a year, beginning in the Fall and running straight on through the Winter until the last weeks of Spring. We’re the Brookline Three-Season Farmer’s Market. And proud of it.
I love a lot of things about the market.
I love the vendors. They’re tops on my list. Without exception, they are intrepid, reliable, hard-working, and conscientious. In a world full of shortcuts, short tempers, and getting the short shrift, they stand apart, as stand-up people often do. They care. It’s really the only explanation, and the only way to be if you’re as passionate as they are about the work they do.
I love the crowds. They every-week regulars who seek out the same vendors and buy the same products weekly to stock their pantries. The pleasantly surprised folks who have discovered us by happenstance. The parents with small children munching on a french roll from Clear Flour Bakery. The elders with shopping bags tied to their walkers. The teenagers who stealthily seek out a chocolate covered popover or Almond Joy cupcake.
I love the questions from customers. Like, what can you possibly sell in the spring? The chance to remind folks about growing cycles, about greenhouse growing, about traditional and modern growing methods is a big part of what a farmer’s market does best. We teach about unrecognizable vegetables, we suggest recipes, cooking methods, how to store or prolong shelf life. Throw away those greens atop the beets? What? Are you crazy?
So, a big thank you to all of you for making us part of your weekly to-do list. An even bigger thank you to Howard Leeder and his team for making the Arcade available for the market. Thanks to our weekly neighbors, the full-time tenants at the Arcade, who have welcomed us and made us feel at home.
Hope to see you all on Sunday, and remember, the Summer market starts Thursday, June 13 from 1 pm to dusk in the Centre Street parking lot.