|Features - Farmers and Markets|
|Written by Lara Zelman|
This year in the Boston area we were lucky to have a year round opportunity to visit farmers markets. But nothing can top the excitement of the coming of spring and the start to the full market season. Just take a quick look at the listings here in The Markets, and you can see that there is almost no excuse not to visit a market during the spring and summer. There are more than 200 markets in the state this year.
My spring market season kicked off with the Copley Square Farmers Market. The market is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. They stay open through the week before Thanksgiving, so there is plenty of time to stop by, meet the vendors, and support the local food economy. The first market of the season brought many familiar faces, but also some new culinary delights that my co-worker and I enjoyed during a delightful lunchtime outing.
One of the newest vendors is Seta Dakessian and her company Seta’s Mediterranean Foods, Inc.. Her slogan is "Fresh Food, Simply Made” and that definitely translates to her products.
Seta was nice enough to answer a few questions about how she got started. She has been cooking since she was 5, growing up in her parents' restaurant in Worcester, MA. She went to Johnson and Wales and decided to go into business making her family's traditional recipes. Seta rents space from the Crop Circle Kitchen in Jamaica Plain. Crop Circle Kitchen is a "culinary incubator" that provides space to start-ups and small food companies for a place to work. Right now Seta gets her ingredients from Russo's. As she builds her business she hopes to utilize local farm collaboratives to source her ingredients. She plans to change her menu seasonally based on the availability of ingredients.
Seta made her debut at the Copley Market this season. From what we could see during our visit, she was well on her way to selling out of her products. A quick check of her Facebook page confirms that she sold out by 2:30 p.m.! We tried something we had never heard of before - metch. It is barley with tomato and parsley. You could taste and see all of the fresh ingredients. She also had spinach and cheese pies, hummus, tabouleh grape leaves and more.
Seta will be at the Copley Square Market on Tuesdays and will also be participating in the City Hall Market and a few other markets around the Boston area.
I had a chance to chat with some familiar favorites like the Apple Barn, Keown Orchards, Atlas Farms, Crystal Brook Farm, Breadsong Corner Bakery, and the Herb Lyceum. A full vendor list is online here.
Another new vendor at this year's market is Narragansett Creamery. This is also their first time up at the Copley Market. They offer "artisan cheeses handcrafted in the Ocean State." I had a chance to chat with Pattie, who has been making cheese for over 20 years with her husband, and Louella who has been making cheese for 9 years. They get all their dairy products from a local New England Coop. They test all their cheeses to ensure that there are no antibiotics and that the milk meets their high quality standards. They only sell direct to consumers, you won't find their delicious cheese in stores. They have almost a dozen products - fresh cheese, aged cheese, cheese spreads, yogurt, and yogurt spreads. We were able to sample almost all the products before making a purchase. Pattie is the chief recipe creator and we went with her suggestion to try the salty and a little spicy Pirate Spread. It is made with their Salty Sea Feta, tomatoes, and a little kick of cayenne.
There are many great stories to hear, foods to try, and plants to take home to your garden. I'll see you there next week for a Crystal Brook Farm goat cheese picnic, Danish Pastry House treat, or maybe fresh herb spring rolls from the Herb Lyceum.
Copley Farmers Market Stuffed Pirate Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
1.5 cups fresh Atlas Farm spinach
Approximately ¼ cup Narragansett Creamery Pirate Spread
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x13" glass baking dish. Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap, then, using a mallet or other object, flatten the chicken to a 1/2 inch thickness. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the refrigerator while you prepare the spinach.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add spinach, tossing to coat with oil, and cook until just wilted. Take out the chicken and lay out each piece individually. Spread about 2 teaspoons of Pirate Spread on each chicken breast. Divide spinach evenly on the chicken. Roll chicken and place seam side down in the greased baking dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with bread from the market and fresh fruit for dessert.