Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fairland Farm at the Braintree Farmers Market

Mark Kavanagh sells cranberries for Fairland Farm.
As we reach the end of June and the beginning of July the strawberry season is starting to taper off.  To take advantage of this early summer crop before they disappear please join us at the Braintree Farmers Market hosted by Sustainable Braintree this Saturday from 9 to 1, rain or shine, at the Braintree Town Hall Mall.  Eating fresh-picked, local strawberries is one of the best ways to celebrate the fourth of July.
     This week we are featuring Fairland Farm/Cape Cod Organic Cranberry as one of our new farmers at the market this season.  Fred Bottomley is the owner and operator of this farm and has had a connection with cranberries that goes back ten generations.  His tenth generation grandfather is John Alden who just happens to be one of the pilgrims that settled the Plymouth Bay Colony.  The Native Americans were quite familiar with this local crop and introduced it to the Pilgrims.  Legend has it that cranberries were served at the very first Thanksgiving with a tradition that carries on to the present day.  The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to use cranberries not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the year as a food staple that has many medicinal benefits as well.
     Fairland Farm/Cape Cod Organic Cranberry produces some of the finest cranberries in Southeastern Massachusetts. They have bogs located in Norton, Easton, Sharon, Dartmouth and on the Cape in Mashpee and Falmouth. Some of the bogs that have been placed in their care have existed prior to the Civil War. Fairland Farm and Cape Cod Organic Cranberry were formed to become stewards of a continuing agricultural history of Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. 
     This farm offers different varieties of dried cranberries for sale at the Braintree Farmer's Market and other markets in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They have organic sweetened dried cranberries, pomagranate juice infused sweetened dried cranberries, omega fortified sweetened dried cranberries and no sugar added dried cranberries. They also have their book, "Rubies in the Sand; Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs" available for sale at the market. They provide frozen cranberries for sale in bulk orders year round and fresh fruit during the harvest season.  They service wholesale customers as well as their farmer's market customers.
     Cranberries are truly a super berry offering a multitude of antioxidants and scientifically validated research documenting their effectiveness in prevention of urinary tract infections, ulcers, cavities and helping to reduce the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia that affects many men as they age. Cranberries are one of three native berries that are a sustainable food crop and should be consumed year round for their healthy benefits. Come out and try their dried cranberries and you will never buy the other brands again!  For more information about Fairland Farm/Cape Cod Organic Cranberry go to
     As we round the corner into July we're coming into the peak of the harvest season so please come down to the market and support our hard-working farmers and vendors and enjoy the fruits of their labor.   Produce retains more of it's flavor and nutritional value when it is consumed soon after harvesting.  Most of the produce we find has been picked before ripening and has spent many long hours, even days, reaching stores before finally becoming available to the consumer.  For more information about the farmers market visit us at 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Local Foods at the Braintree Farmers Market

Angela Cavanaugh gets her CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery every week from The Farmer's Garden.

by Deanna Levanti

As the local and organic food movement gains momentum, the debate against conventional agriculture is heard for the first time by more and more people.  Many people don’t really see what the fuss is all about, and are reluctant to challenge the food system as we know it. This is understandable, since it would be a challenge to much of life as we know.  Life is complicated enough without having to analyze and change how we shop, what we eat, where we eat, and how we cook right?  Believe me, I wish I could just walk into the grocery store and not think about every detail of every item I purchase…life would be much easier if I could just go with the flow, add water, shake, bake, and eat it up.  But I can’t.  I want to know where it’s from, who grew it, whether they sprayed it, what it was eating, what they injected it with.  I want to know how their methods are affecting the surrounding environment and community.  The truth is that I simply don’t trust agribusiness to grow a product that meets my food quality standards.  I know that the bottom line encourages mass production, over-crowding, and overall excessive pressure on the natural growing processes of both plants and animals.  However, rather than trying to turn my friends on to this movement by overwhelming them with rants about everything that’s wrong with our industrial global food system, I prefer to turn them on to something better by showing them what’s right with our lovely local food system.  
One of my favorite ways of doing this, and probably the most effective, is to let them find out for themselves how wonderful food is that came fresh from the farm.  For some people, snapping into a freshly dug carrot, tasting that sweet tenderness that could only exist in a carrot just pulled up from the soil--that is the way to turn them on.  The joys of crunching into a fresh snap pea is the hook for those with a sweet-veggie tooth, or for those who like spice, give ‘em a hot pepper plucked right off the bush, and watch their faces turn red with delight after adding it to their first recipe.  Traditional cookers will be in awe when they smell the aroma and see the juiciness of freshly cured garlic…pungent and wonderful as it was meant to be.  For others, they marvel at the colors and flavors of an heirloom tomato…they never knew tomatoes could be so vibrant and bursting with flavor!  If a friend is not a veggie lover, I skip these and move right to the best secret weapon an organic farmer ever had--the awakening burst of flavor packed into a perfectly ripe strawberry…simply irresistible, undeniable, and unforgettable.
Eating is one way of experiencing things first-hand, giving people a personal introduction to local foods.  Another great way to make this connection for people is to let them actually use their hands and get a feel for what small-scale farming is all about.  Many people are interested to know how their food is grown, and are eager to get out to the farm to check it out.  Once there, they can see plants growing from seed in a greenhouse, watch farmers transplant these into the fields, and witness the crops being harvested.  Some farms work with volunteers as well, giving people the opportunity to help grow their own food.  Working on a farm is extremely hard work, but it is also extremely rewarding and lots of fun--when is playing in the dirt not fun?!
Once people realize the difference between fresh and local, and industrial and global, they will wonder why we let ourselves eat such poor specimens of produce and meat for so long!  They will know what industrial agriculture is missing, because they will have experienced it first-hand.  Local growers of fruits, vegetables, and meats are increasingly gaining visibility in the market.  Once people get a taste for their superb products, they will soon be joining the mounting demand for real, good food.  And that is my favorite strategy for transforming our food system into something better.  Try it out!
For fresh local produce, meats, cheeses, honey and much more visit the Braintree Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 to 1, rain or shine, at the Braintree Town Hall Mall, One JFK Memorial Dr. Braintree, MA. For more information visit our website at

Deanna Levanti works for Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset. Her mother, Susan Ryan, is a Volunteer Coordinator for the Braintree Farmers Market. To sign up as a volunteer at the market simply go to our website.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Strawberry Festival June 18th, 2011

You are cordially invited to the First Annual Strawberry Festival hosted by the Braintree Farmers Market and Sustainable Braintree this Saturday, June 18th, from 9 to 1, rain or shine, at the Braintree Town Hall Mall.  Our events tent, donated to us by the Braintree Electric Dept., will be up with plenty of tables so folks can sit down and enjoy their market treats.  C. N Smith Farm and The Farmer's Garden are currently harvesting an abundance of fragrant and luscious strawberries.  The season is fleeting so don't miss out on this opportunity.  Ever So Humble Pie Co. will be whipping up fresh strawberry shortcake to enjoy at the market as well as shortcake biscuits you can purchase at their tent to recreate the flavors at home.   Tiffany Rozenas and Family will be on hand to entertain us with their Celtic fiddle music that creates a festive atmosphere.  A limited print-run of Strawberry Festival posters(10"x15.5"), signed by the artist, will be available with a $5 donation.  This an event that you'll want to enjoy with your entire family. 

Come by the Braintree Town Hall green at 8 a.m. for Children's Yoga led by Checka.  Get your kids interested in the basics of yoga and you'll find they take to it like fish in the water!  This activity is brought to us by Healing Tree Yoga.

SEMAP (Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership) will be at our Community Tent during the Strawberry Festival.  For the month of June they are celebrating and promoting strawberries as one of our region's favorite specialty crops.  SEMAP is dedicated to preserving and expanding access to local food and sustainable farming in Southeastern Massachusetts through research and education.  Stop by and pick up one of their flyers.

This coming Saturday our friends from Project Have Hope will be at the market with their colorful, recycled paper, beaded jewelry that will go perfect with your summer wardrobe.  Purchases from this vendor contributes to the empowerment of the women of the Acholi Quarter of Uganda.  Your support contributes directly to the women and children of this region and creates a more stable economy and provides educational opportunities.  Every piece is beautifully crafted, very affordable and contributes to a very worthy cause.

Drop by the market manager tent to pick up complimentary issues of edibleBoston and edibleSouthShore Magazines while supplies last.  Read about local foods, farmers markets and try their recipes that focus on locally grown, in-season ingredients.  They even feature local farms and food artisans like our very own Nella Pasta and Ever So Humble Pie Company.  While your visiting check out this season's Braintree Farmers Market tee shirts that are now available.  Shirts are silk-screened right here in Braintree on 100% organic cotton with several sizes available.  Shirts are only $12 with all proceeds going towards the operating costs of the farmers market.  This year we're focussing on a chicken theme as we celebrate the fresh eggs from C.N. Smith Farm and The Farmer's Garden and Joe Beaulieu Farm is now selling USDA inspected roasting chickens which is a new product for the market this year.

Many thanks to all of you who came out last Saturday to our Opening Day.  Even though the farmers market was temporarily moved for the day and the weather was challenging the market was thriving and we were thrilled with the support that our community continues to bestow upon us.  We continue to work at making the market the best that it can be with the highest quality products and vendors available and enjoy seeing everyone each and every week. 

Be sure to come out this Saturday for the Strawberry Festival.   Invite your friends and family to the market to enjoy this seasonal event.  For more information go to  Follow us on facebook.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Braintree Farmers Market Opening Saturday June 11th at 90 Pond St.

Radishes are now in season in Massachusetts.

We're back...  The Braintree Farmers Market hosted by Sustainable Braintree is kicking up it's heels for another sunny season starting on Saturday June 11th from 9 to 1, rain or shine, at 90 Pond Street, Braintree's other Town Hall.  Thayer Academy will be holding their graduation on this date as well so we've moved, for one day only, to ensure there'll be plenty of parking to go around.  The market will be located in front of the building with parking in the back.  This location is wheel chair accessible. The market will return to our permanent location at the Braintree Town Hall Mall on June 18th, just in time for our Strawberry Festival, and will operate there every Saturday from 9 to 1, rain or shine, through October 29th with the Special Indoor Thanksgiving Market on Nov. 19th.
     Mayor Joseph Sullivan will be on hand to welcome folks to the first market for our 2011 season.  Make sure to say "Hello" and let him know that you value the farmers market.  Community support is the reason why the market thrives and every single visitor is important to our continued success.  Reacquaint yourselves with your favorite farmers and vendors and meet our new ones as well.  The market will be poised to bring you the best locally grown produce and artisan food products this side of Sunset Lake.  Our goal to provide our customers with a one-stop shopping experience with a wide variety of choices. 
     Bring your dull knives for this market only as we're hosting On The Edge Knife Sharpener as a special Visiting Vendor for the day.  Patti Small is making the rounds at various farmers markets as a convenience for customers to ensure your cutting tools are in tip top shape for cutting your local foods from the market.  Bring your knives, scissors, shears and just about anything you can think of to have them sharpened by this local sharpening legend who has turned knife sharpening into an art form.
     Be sure to mark your calendar for June 18th as we're celebrating with our first Annual Strawberry Festival.  C. N. Smith Farm will be featuring their locally famous and intoxicatingly delicious strawberries along with strawberry shortcake, made to order, from Ever So Humble Pie Company.  You know the combination of products from these two proprietors are a match made in heaven.  The mighty strawberry will take center stage for the day as other vendors will be featuring this fine fruit for your discerning palette.  The very talented Tiffany Rozenas and Family will be on hand to provide us with their Celtic fiddle music as everyone is invited to enjoy your treats under our big events tent that was bestowed on us last season by BELD (Braintree Electric Light Dept.).  A limited print run of commemorative Braintree Farmers Market Strawberry Festival posters (10"x15.5") are available with a $5 donation.
     Please take notice-this season we are no longer allowing dogs in the market.  The market is now attracting more people and we've decided that it has become too much of a liability.  Vendors have also had their products destroyed in the past.  You may bring your dog through the market if you are holding them in your arms or the animal is wearing a muzzle.  Animals must be at least six feet away from any food products.
     Drop by the Sustainable Braintree/Market Manager tent to pick up your complimentary summer issue of edibleBOSTON.  By the end of June we will also be providing edibleSouth Shore Magazine free to customers.  Learn about the local foods movement that has taken a stronghold on Massachusetts and be proud of the fact that Braintree is an integral part of this important revolution.  
     Be sure to purchase our newest organic Tee shirt design for this season.  All profits go directly towards supporting the efforts of the market.  They're silk-screened in Braintree and they're cluckin' awesome! 
Joe Beaulieu is our livestock farmer.
  For all your local foods and more explore the Braintree Farmers Market. For more information about us and to see our special market dates go to  We're always in the market for volunteers. Please look for the volunteers sign up link at our website.  See you on Saturday.