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Haymarket

February 13, 2010

Today has been so productive! I even got up early to make it to the post office by noon (yes, Z and I are those people who usually sleep until 12 on the weekends). We spent the afternoon with two of our friends at Haymarket.

Haymarket is an open air market in Boston, tucked behind the pubs neighboring Quincy Market. One moment you are on a cobblestone street admiring the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America, and the next you are surrounded by vendors and vegetables, with the cries of “One dollar! One dollar!” and “Broccoli! $5 a box!” ringing in your ears. To some it may be overwhelming, but I love it!

It is by far the cheapest place to buy produce, fish, meat, and cheese anywhere in Boston. It is by no means a farmers market — the vendors get their goods at ridiculously low prices from the wholesalers in Chelsea and bring them to the market priced even lower. All of the vendors are local families, many who have been working at the market for generations. There are pros and cons to such an establishment:

Pros

-CHEAP! Try $1 for 3 lbs of potatoes, or $.50 for 6 zucchini.

-Open year round. Unlike the usual farmers markets, because the wholesalers are always working, so is Haymarket. Unless there is a blizzard, they will still be there every Friday and Saturday, sun up til sun down.

-Selection. Most of the vendors carry many of the same products. Don’t like the look of one? Move on to the next! There isn’t just one place to buy your tomatoes. And they always have everything: fruits, vegetables, local meat, fresh fish…we came here on my birthday in November and ate freshly shucked clams on the street. They were amazing!

There are also little stores off of the market that sell exotic spices, homemade cheeses, and some things you may have never even heard of.

-Fun. The banter with the sellers, the bustling of people…its the experience that makes it worth it. By the time you round the last stall you don’t want to go back in, but while you’re in the action its great fun!

Cons

-Crowds. On the nice days it gets crowded. If you don’t like crowds, I would recommend going early or late. Plus the tourists will normally “stumble upon it” around 2.

-Banter. Maybe you are not a bantering person. If you don’t like people yelling out prices or asking you to make quick decisions, it would be smarter to check out your nearest Whole Foods. It can be like an auction in this place!

-Quality. Because the produce are from wholesalers, some of the stuff can really be bottom of the barrel. You will walk by stands where you don’t like the look of their sprouts, or their spinach looks incredibly wilted. You have to be a smart shopper and pay attention to picking out what you want.  You are paying almost nothing, so not everything will be perfect.

Because it is the middle of February, the produce wasn’t super wonderful, but we found some good deals.

We went into one of the meat markets and examined their goat meat and cow’s tongue 🙂

We ended up with a nice little selection of vegetables (along with about 20 cloves of garlic…yum!)

Lettuce: $1, 3 lbs baby potatoes: $1, Large zucchini: $.50, 1 lb mushrooms: $1, 3 tomatoes from our friend’s purchase, 20 cloves garlic: $1, Goat and blue cheese: $3. Total: $7.50! Not too shabby!

I definitely recommend Haymarket to anyone in the Boston area, especially people who eat a lot of veggies! If  just the savings aren’t worth it, the experience is.

We snacked a lot throughout the day, so a big (and postable) dinner is not on the menu. However, I am about to curl up with a glass of this fine wine:

I don’t care how cheap it is, I love 2 buck Chuck! (I know it costs $2.99 now, but the name has officially stuck, don’t you think?)

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!! And there will be so. much. cooking. 🙂

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2010 3:08 pm

    We usually sleep in that late too – I figure we have to take advantage now since there are no kiddos running around yet!

    Your Haymarket adventure sounds so fun! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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