Boston Goes Local With Public Market

The Boston Public Market has officially opened.

Boston's first year-round indoor local market features more than 35 local vendors.

There was lot of buzz around the long-awaited opening Thursday - literally.

As part of his Boston Honey Company stand, Andy Reseska added a 15,000-bee hive with a passage for bees to get out and pollinate the city's trees and plants. "If the bees survive the winter, which I think they will, we could get a little bit of Boston honey," Reseska said. "A couple frames of honey, five to ten pounds." Mostly, his honey comes from Holliston, Massachusetts, and other locations where he keeps as many as 2,200 bee colonies each year.

Reseska's one of the 35 local food producers, farmers, and fishmongers in the brand new Public Market, atop the MBTA Haymarket station and right on Boston's Freedom Trail. The market features meat, cheese, fish, vegetables, nuts, and much more, including stands selling prepared foods ranging from Israeli to Vietnamese to $17 pastrami sandwiches.

Reaction was overwhelmingly positive among some of the thousands of first-day visitors we talked to. While many of the items are high-end and priced as such, most shoppers seemed to appreciate that the Public Market is about quality local goods - and the bargains are still to be had across the street with the Haymarket produce vendors on Fridays and Saturdays.

"It's just so great to see local farmers and local vendors being highlighted in Boston," said Allie Flannery of Acton, who plans to stop by often on her way to the train at North Station.

"Overall, I feel like this is a really good market. I mean, I see this as a more healthier style of Faneuil Hall," said Renee McCurvie-Sides of Boston, who said she also liked the "affordable prices. Close to the T. Very easy to get to."

"It's wonderful. I'm so happy for the producers and the gourmands and local folks who just love a great taste of great local food," said Josh Ostroff of Natick. "Easy access to locally produced and locally grown produce and cheese and meat."

Because the building started out as a Big Dig tunnel vent stack and for a time was controlled by the now-defunct Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, it took market backers running a complicated gantlet of federal, state, and city government approvals. The market's designed to be as a landlord a self-sustaining non-profit, and backers had to raise $9 million from donors and foundations to get it built out and up and running.

About 92 percent of the vendors are from Massachusetts, the rest from neighboring Rhode Island and Vermont. Many said the market will be an important source of business for them.

For Kim and Rich Jakshtis of Hardwick, out by the Quabbin Reservoir, this is an important way to sustain and grow their Chestnut Farms.

"By bringing our farm into the city of Boston, we're able to connect the community directly to what it takes to raise happy, humane, and healthy livestock," Kim Jakshtis said, adding that their Boston stand can consolidate six separate suburban farmers' markets they now sell through.

"You know exactly where your money is going to, and it is preserving a piece of the state," added her husband, Rich.

The Trustees of Reservations' Appleton Farms in Ipswich has a stand selling 20 farms' locally made cheeses.

"We're the largest purveyor of Massachusetts cheeses in the market," Trustees CEO Barbara Erickson said. That includes Appleton's own, with a special taste of history. Founded in 1636, Erickson said, "Appleton Farms is the nation's oldest dairy farm, so it actually is the farm that introduced the Jersey cow to the United States."

The Trustees of Reservations are also "program partners" for the market, including its kitchen, which will have about 40 cooking, food, and healthy-living classes for 12 to 20 students at a time over the year.

The BPM is seeking local businesses interested in becoming permanent vendors at the market. Click here to find out how you can become a vendor. 

The Boston Public Market is located at 100 Hanover St. in Boston at Haymarket MBTA Station.

The hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

The Boston Public Market is the only locally sourced market of its kind in the United States. 

The BPM is a partnership between the Boston Public Market Association, individual and corporate donors, foundations, the City of Boston and the project's seed funder, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

With videographer Marc Jackson

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