Shipping Down to Boston: Maine Sail Freight Arrives in Boston Harbor

Farming group the Greenhorns bring Maine-made farm goods to Boston—by schooner.
Maine Sail Freight

Maine Sail Freight schooner / Courtesy photo provided by the Greenhorns

Yes, the goods at Boston Public Market are already pretty spectacular (especially those cider donuts). And now, they’ve gone and upped the ante: Your groceries will be arriving in a wooden two-masted schooner.

This August, the Greenhorns—“a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators”—are channeling the spirit of the 19th century (and the ocean trade routes that once defined New England’s coastal cities) by loading up the schooner Adventure, with 11 tons of Maine-produced cargo and setting sail for Boston.

On August 29, the Maine Sail Freight voyage reaches Boston Harbor, docking in Long Wharf.

Packed in flour sacks, Beckford boxes, Port City canvas totes, or wooden barrels, Maine Sail Freight’s cargo includes such goods as dried heirloom beans, Ironbound Island seaweed, beeswax candles, apple syrup, and blueberry preserves.

Maine Sail Freight cargo

Maine Goods / Photos by Lawrence Braun, provided by the Greenhorns

How can you get your hands on this ocean-borne bounty when it arrives?

Head to the markets: Maine Sail Freight wares make an appearance at the Harvard University farmers’ market on September 1, and at a Boston Public Market stall on September 2.

But if you don’t want to wait that long, you can also pick it up at the dock while they’re unloading, straight from the hands of a stevedore. On August 30, go to Boston Harbor and buy your cargo directly off the ship (or if you’ve pre-ordered a Maine Sail Freight box, you can pick it up there). They start unloading cargo—some of it destined for bike delivery via “cherry red bike courier trailers”—at 8 a.m., and sales start at noon. Stick around for the entertainment, which includes schooner tours and sea shanties with Revels performer David Coffin.

In addition to heirloom beans, the Greenhorns come bearing food for thought. A part of their mission is to provoke discussion about where our food comes from. In a press release, they write: “We’re sailing a schooner—not just because it’s ecological when compared to supertankers spewing as many pollutants in an hour as 350,000 automobiles, but also because we’d like trade to operate scale that gives us resilience to climate change, history can teach us a lot about the logic of the landscape.”

For more info about Maine Sail Freight, visit thegreenhorns.net/mainesailfreight.