Metro, Food

Quality and Camaraderie at Brookline Farmers’ Market

Open rain or shine for 36 years, the Brookline Farmers’ Market is a faithful supporter of local farmers and artisans.  

Held every Thursday afternoon from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., the market is easy to reach: Take the C branch of the Green Line to Coolidge Corner, and it’s about a five-minute walk to the market. It sets up shop in the Centre Street West Parking Lot right behind the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Having kicked off the season in June, Brookline Farmers’ Market will remain open until the last Thursday before Thanksgiving.  

The Brookline Farmers’ Market is labeled as a Massachusetts nonprofit and run by a small board of three volunteers. Abe Faber, treasurer of the board for six years, has really been involved with the Brookline Farmers’ Market for about 20 years as a vendor. Until about a year and a half ago, he and his wife, Christy Timon, co-owned Clear Flour Bakery, a crowd favorite of the market’s customers. In its earlier days, the market’s manager asked them to sell their baked goods, which helped increase business for the bakery, both at the market and the shop.

The market consists of vendors who sell an array of products, including fresh produce, ice cream, and uniquely designed jewelry. A vendor from the Nicewicz Family Farm in Bolton, Mass., has been coming to the market since it was created.

“The people here are all nice. It’s a great market, and we push a lot of product,” he said.

The Nicewicz Family Farm sells produce including peaches, apples, plums, pears, corn, tomatoes, and squash. 

What really sets the Brookline Farmers’ Market apart is the quality of the products. Faber explained that the produce vendors harvest their products the morning of the market, which is why it doesn’t open until the afternoon. Certain products are unique to Brookline’s market, like fresh gluten-free pasta from Valicenti Pasta Farm in Hollis, N.H., and keep customers coming back.

“That is just the difference between that and what you’re going to get in any other grocery store where something was picked in California, Florida, or even in Massachusetts, you know, a week ago or two weeks ago. That was on the truck, on the loading dock, and in the warehouse, and cold storage,” Faber said.

Buying from a farmers’ market directly supports local farmers and businesses, which often offer better quality products. This quality is obvious upon visiting the Brookline Farmers’ Market, as your eyes are immediately drawn to the vibrant rainbow of fruits and vegetables laid out at the booths. As Faber pointed out, the vendors are directly involved in the production of their products and are happy to answer any questions about their processes.  

“It’s good to have your name out here to every one of these, and this one is live and packed—I mean look around, we have piles of people here,” said John Sterritt from Valicenti Pasta.  

Not only is the quality of products available at the Brookline Farmers’ Market better than what can be found at a grocery store, the experience is also more enjoyable. Some customers said they have been attending the market for years and continue to come back not only for the products, but for the company and camaraderie. 

The Brookline Farmers’ Market makes an effort to be accessible to everyone in the community, and about six years ago, they took a major step in that direction. The Market now accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards, so that community members who receive government assistance can purchase quality, healthy foods.

“It’s like a town meeting center,” said one long-time customer. “There’s usually a whole crowd of people we meet up with … It’s a lot of fun and socializing.”

Some locals love to get Trombetta’s Ice Cream at the market, which they say is the best in town. They also buy peaches from the Nicewicz Family Farm and baked goods from Clear Flour Bakery. 

There is something for everyone at the Brookline Farmers’ Market, and it is an enjoyable experience for customers and vendors alike. The market unites both returning and new customers and seems to be flourishing every week.

“Our vendors bring a diversity of products, most of which are produced here in Massachusetts or New England,” the website says. “ We are proud to support local growers, producers, and artisans, and to be a part of the Brookline community.”

Featured Image by Rachel Phelan / for the Heights

September 15, 2019