Summer weather means an explosion of fresh produce suddenly at every cook’s fingertips. This is certainly apparent at Faneuil Hall’s historic Haymarket, which has sizably expanded and where the quality of the produce is superior now than at any other time of year.
But Haymarket can be overwhelming. A Moroccan friend recently confided that Haymarket reminds him of home! It is no surprise, then, that if Haymarket is reminiscent of Marrakesh, some of us might feel daunted trying to navigate this open-air produce market.
Here are five tips to help you move around the market, find the freshest produce and make the best use of what you take home…
Tip 1: Don’t let parking keep you away. If possible, drive over to the North End with a buddy. Loop if you have to (while your partner shops for two), park if you can, or *take the T.* Don’t forget your cart and canvas bags!
Tip 2: Never rush to buy from one vendor. Do a full scan of the market to scope out the most impressive stalls. Once you have your bearings, buy.
Tip 3: Look for labels. It’s worth paying more for names you recognize and would buy elsewhere. Ask about sourcing.
Tip 4: Remember that Haymarket is not just on the ground level. There are some great Middle Eastern pantries, cheese shops and butcher shops downstairs from the main market, and they shouldn’t be ignored. Some might argue you’re walking above the best falafel in the city!
Tip 5: It’s important when you wash. The produce at Haymarket is usually on the riper side of ‘ripe’ since the fruits and vegetables available are often what wouldn’t sell elsewhere. Introducing water to herbs, berries and fruits can accelerate mold, so only wash immediately before eating so as to keep your produce fresh for as long as possible.