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Haymarket: Love it or Hate it?

June 26, 2012 by Katie

We’re new to Boston, so most of the time I have no idea what’s going on. We haven’t been here long enough to really have routines, but Haymarket may become one.

Haymarket is a weekly market in Boston that sells produce, as well as fish, etc. It’s near our apartment, so it’s a great way for us to get fruit and veggies for the week. And, it’s a little bit of a Bostonian institution, so it’s crowded with locals and tourists alike.

Reading reviews on sites like Yelp, people either love Haymarket or they hate it. If you’re looking for a farmers’ market, you might hate it. Vendors at farmers’ markets are typically friendly, they’re excited to sell their produce because they most likely had some hand it creating/growing it–or at least know who did. While most of the vendors at Haymarket are nice enough, we’ve run into some that aren’t as friendly (put mildly…), but it’s just part of the experience.

The produce is what was leftover or picked over by the local grocery stores, and sometimes there is a reason for it. Here are few tips we’ve learned in the handful of Haymarket trips so far:

  • Bring reusable grocery bags–it’s easier to carry everything home (and more eco-friendly!). Although the vendors are happy to give out plastic bags, as well.
  • Inspect everything you buy. If they bag it for you, look at it before you walk away. People complain about vendors throwing rotten veggies in their bags, but the vendors we go to always give us good produce.
  • Walk around first. Most of the vendors are selling similar things, so check prices before you start buying.
  • Watch your pockets/purses etc.–it’s crowded and a city, so I’m sure pickpocketing happens.
  • Buy what you can eat that week (or in a few days). People told us the produce would only last a couple of days. Ours easily lasts a week. I have fruit I bought two weeks ago that is still good. But generally, I buy enough produce to last through the week, and use what I think will go bad quickly earlier in the week.
  • Buy things you can freeze. I love berries for baking, but they’re expensive. I’m buy extra every week and freezing them for muffins, smoothies, etc.

I lived in Africa, so maybe my expectations are a bit different for open air markets. But, I think Haymarket is great for what it is. It’s not necessarily local (which I would prefer). But, you can find some organic produce if you look hard enough. And the prices are good. It blows my mind what we can get for $20.

Image Credit: Dan4th & radiantradon

What’s your favorite local market? Have  you experienced Haymarket, what did you think?


Katie is a freelance writer, writing mostly about her love for travel and, of course, food. Her husband, Marc, is a web developer and photographer. The newlyweds have visited 15 countries together, and Katie's on track to have visited 30 countries by her 30th birthday.

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