Going in for the Kale

With the opening of the Boston Public Market on July 30, locavores have finally realized their dream of a permanent one-stop shop for pedigreed produce, dairy, seafood, meat, and all manner of ready-to-scarf comestibles—all made here in New England. And if you think that’s impressive now, just wait till winter.

boston public market vendors

Click to view larger. / Map by John Macneill

It took the better part of two decades—and tireless campaigning by ranchers, fishermen, and farmers—for Boston to get a permanent central market of its own, but now the city is finally joining the ranks of foodie-centric cities like San Francisco and Seattle. And in true New England fashion, the Boston Public Market actually goes one step beyond its lauded forebears out West to become the nation’s first all-local yearlong market. (Talk about a bazaar twist.)

Mind you, this isn’t some overhyped upgrade to your local farmstand. Yes, the $15.5 million, 28,000-square-foot facility off the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway will offer aisles of apples, leafy greens, and all of the other predictable provisions. But with sushi counters, coffee-geek-approved cafés, and kiosks hawking ramen and falafel, it’ll also be a deluxe food court for the locavoraciously inclined. And when winter forces outdoor markets to close from December through May, the heated BPM will continue to operate.

The BPM’s pro-regional ethos can’t be overstated: Its 40 permanent vendors—chosen from some 300 applicants—had to show how they would keep their kiosks full during kale-and-beet season without breaking the strict local-provenance requirements. Expect plenty of prepared fare and creative takes on pickles and preserves. Ahead, 10 kiosks we’re planning to put into regular rotation.

boston public market vendors

1. Red’s Best

Jared Auerbach cuts out the middleman to offer the Atlantic’s most pristine seafood, both for home- and on-site enjoyment. His 850-square-foot kiosk wows with sushi-grade bluefin, clam-shack classics using more-sustainable “trash” fish (porgy and chips, anyone?), and a melt-in-your-mouth scallop ceviche.

boston public market vendors

2. Stillman Quality Meats

In addition to a full-service butcher counter offering premium grass-fed cuts and specialty items like whipped lardo and herb-studded pork fat, expect smoked-chicken clubs stacked with house-cured bacon and juicy heirloom tomatoes, and, come winter, bone-broth restoratives ladled into coffee cups.

boston public market vendors

3. Noodle Lab

Ramen junkies, prepare to meet your maker: Audrey Yap, who grew up hand-pulling noodles in her family’s Tucson restaurants. Here she makes bowls of collagen-rich tonkotsu, an unctuous shoyu ramen packed with nori, and chewy Shanghainese noodles. Re-create the magic at home with Yap’s DIY kits.

boston public market vendors

4. Wolf Meadow Farm

Load up on Luca Mignogna’s traditional Italian farm cheeses, like salt-crusted ricotta and mozzarella kneaded from local curds (i.e., 7 miles from the Amesbury facility). Can’t wait to indulge? Wolf down one of the daily panini—with any luck, melty black-truffle scamorza with mushrooms and parsley pesto.

boston public market vendors

5. Union Square Donuts

Somerville’s cult doughnut dealer heads into unfamiliar terrain, catering to audiences beyond the morning hordes. To placate both savory seekers and sweet tooths, strategically designed pretzel-doughnut spinoffs include one enriched with mustard butter, another with salt and Belgian milk chocolate.

boston public market vendors

6. Boston Smoked Fish

We don’t mean to imply that Matt Baumann’s impossible-to-find salmon-belly bacon—those ethereal slices of applewood-smoke-perfumed richness marbled with creamy white-fat striations—is the only reason we’re jonesing for his first full-scale retail shop to open. That’s right. We don’t mean to imply that at all.

boston public market vendors

7. Inna’s Kitchen

Mother-and-son deli team Inna and Alex Khitrik leave the pastrami back in Newton in favor of crackly cabbage-and-potato knishes; Israeli street food like sabihs stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, and fiery zhoug; and a spicy tomatillo shakshuka capped with feta and baked sunny-side-up eggs.

boston public market vendors

8. Corner Stalk Farm

Connie and Shawn Cooney stick it to the cold weather with their slick Eastie “freight farms.” Built from shipping containers, they yield year-round leafy greens, sorrel, epazote, and obscure varieties of basil, thanks to a temperature-control system manned via smartphone. We do live in the innovation hub, after all.

boston public market vendors

9. Jasper Hill Farm

Prepare yourself for a queso coma courtesy of the rare black-label reserve versions of the Vermont fromager’s cellar-aged lineup; a hulking, double-armed raclette machine capable of blistering two half wheels of Alpha Tolman; and a grilled cheese oozing Swiss, clothbound cheddar, and Welsh-style Landaff.

boston public market vendors

10. Red Apple Farm

Apple pies. Apple crisps. Hot apple-cider doughnuts, fried on-site. Apple cider coaxed from fresh-from-the-Phillipston-orchard apples by means of a 19th-century apple press. Candy apples, caramel apples, fudge-covered apples…all right, you get the point. (Note: not so much with the tangerines.)

illustrations by the ellaphant in the room


a) The 3,200-square-foot demo kitchen will feature cooking lectures and hands-on classes from the likes of America’s Test Kitchen.

b) A ramp leads to a covered parking garage with 325 spaces.

c) There will be limited seating in the middle of the market hall, though this food court caters primarily to “cash and carry” noshers.

d) The main entrance to the 28,000-square-foot facility is located on the corners of Congress and Hanover streets.