I love New England, but the dark days of winter seem so long by the end of January. A few weeks ago, I was sitting around lamenting the lack of fresh produce, considering just how crazy it would be to make a 2+ hour drive to the winter farmers' markets I'd heard about in Rhode Island or Connecticut.
Imagine my surprise when I found there's not one, but TWO winter farmers' markets in the area! How do I miss these things? Anyway, after lots of squealing and jumping for joy, I told my husband and we planned our trips. Both markets are still about 45 minutes away, but that's a little less extreme than leaving the state :)
This past Saturday, we checked out the Wayland Winter Farmers' Market. It runs Saturdays 10-1 through February 27.
It was awesome! Just what I needed!
Okay, now for a more useful review. We arrived shortly after the market opened, about 10:30. The parking lot was crowded and exceedingly slippery. We wound our way through the store to the area where farmers' market was set up. It was ridiculously crowded! I mean, stacks of people crowded around stalls, queued up to buy, blocking aisles.
I figure this is a good and bad thing. Good, because it certainly proves there's a demand, and I can hope next winter there will be more farmers' markets. Good, because I like to see the farmers' work supported and valued. Bad for me who was trying to shop with two kids and a baby in a stroller! It certainly wasn't the relaxing experience of most summer farmers' markets where you can spend a minute or two talking to vendors.
As to be expected in the winter, the market was heavier on prepared foods than produce. A lot of the prepared foods are produced locally, but not necessarily with local ingredients. That doesn't bother me, but my issue is that many of the prepared foods aren't nut-safe, so we can't get them due to nut allergies. Ah well. We got some anyway and just won't let our son eat any! We ended up with a container of maple syrup and a container of Thai Maple Peanut Sauce from The Warren Farm, a jar of delicious cranberry-lime sauce from Appalachian Naturals, and a very exciting container of Baba Ganoush from Samira's Homemade, not to mention their Ful Medammes and some pita bread. We got some gnocchi and mozzarella from Fior D'Italia and some stew beef from Springdell Farm.
I embarrassingly can't remember which farm the veggies came from...hey, as I said, I was wrangling twins, an infant, and braving huge crowds. The veggie stand was so swamped when we arrived that we passed them by at first. We stopped back as we were ready to leave at about 11:15, and the stand was less crowded but looking a little picked over. I wonder what it was like closer to 1 when the market closed! For example, I really wanted kale, and by the time we got there, there were only 3 scraggly looking bundles left. I snapped one of them up...made it into yummy soup last night :) We also got some onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and garlic. Plus just enough baby spinach and arugula to make a salad for my husband and I. At $14 a lb, we didn't buy much, but it sure was a delightful mid-winter treat and worth the splurge!
Overall, I'd give this one a positive review. I'm glad it was so crowded, even if it did make it a little bit difficult for me to maneuver through. Just go expecting the crowds...the products there were all high-quality, delicious, and worth the trip!
Next week, we're off to try the Natick Winter Farmers' Market! I'll let you know what I think.