There are many reasons to shop at a local farmers market. Supporting your local economy and business owners, getting food right from the source with all of its vitamins and minerals and avoiding negative effects on the environment associated with shipping, packaging and storing food over long distances.
It's a misconception that here in New England everything shuts down during the winter. There are actually several winter farmers markets in the city and in neighboring cities and towns worth checking out for your fresh food fix.
Unfortunately for Charlestown residents, the closest market to the neighborhood, the Prudential Center market, is closed for the winter season. Another nearby winter market, The SOWA Market in the South End, is also closed, and will reopen in May 2013.
The following are the markets open for the Winter 2013 season in Boston and in nearby cities and towns.
- What: On Sundays, you can head to the Dorchester Community Food Co-Op, where 14 different vendors sell everything from meat to dairy to produce. There's Silverbrook Farm (produce), Lilac Hedge (meat), Hickory Nut Farm (handcrafted goat milk products), The Ancient Baker (plant-based bakery products), Red’s Best Local Seafood (fish) and Foxboro Cheese, to name a few.
- When: The Great Hall at the Codman Square Health Center, 6 Norfolk St., Boston
- When: Sundays, 12-4 p.m., Jan. 6 through March 24
- What: New this year to the Winter Farmers Market lineup is one at Our Lady Of Lourdes Parish (45 Brookside Ave.) in Jamaica Plain. This market features baked goods from the Great Cape Baking Company, fresh vegetables from Stillman's Farm, the Buckle Farm and meat from the John Crow Farm, among others
- Where: 45 Brookside Ave., Jamaica Plain
- When: Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., January and February
- What: The Brookline market runs on Sundays and Mondays and features organic produce, meat, eggs and a few specialty items like roasted nuts.
- Where: The Arcade, 318 Harvard St., Brookline
- When: Sundays, 12-5 p.m. and Mondays, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- What: In its second season, the Cambridge market offers a wide variety of food and non-food items from local artists and crafters and features an art gallery, live music and demos and activities, too. The market has a selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, fish, chocolate and baked goods.
- Where: Cambridge Community Center, 5 Callender St., Cambridge
- When: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Jan. 5 through April 27
- What: Another market that's new to the area this year, the Newton market features the fresh fruit, vegetables you'd expect, plus fish, Popsicles and maple syrup, among other items.
- Where: Hyde Community Center, 90 Lincoln St., Newton
- When: Tuesdays, 1:30-6 p.m.
- What: Held in the magnificent castle of Highland Avenue, the Somerville market is made possible by Shape Up Somerville and The Center for Arts at the Armory. There's fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, chocolate and wine, and even a gluten-free vendor. In addition to the food, there is music and children activities, too.
- Where: Center for the Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville
- When: Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 1 through April 13.