Farm to Dorm: Boston University Farmers' Market
|Features - Farmers and Markets|
|Written by Lara Zelman|
When most people think of college food, fresh and local doesn’t come to mind. But at Boston University they’ve been working to change that. For the past three years they’ve hosted a Farmers' Market in front of the student union on Thursdays. The market is run through BU Dining services. The first year, the market consisted of one tent staffed by dining services with fruits and vegetables and a few baked goods. It was a good start, but nothing to write about. The second year they added in real vendors – Taza Chocolate, The Petal Collection (jewelry), and a produce vendor or two.
This year was the biggest yet! The addition of the market has been great for faculty and staff, as well as the students. The market ran on Thursdays from late August through mid-October. From 12 – 4 pm the market was full of a diverse crowd browsing the locally produced goodies. This year’s market featured vendors with a variety of products from produce to pastries to puppy treats.
One of the new vendors this year was Erin Willett of Smaht Farm. Erin is a farmer and beekeeper based in Lunenburg, MA. Each week her cheerful table was full of honey, honey sticks, honey lip balm, farm fresh eggs, and her delicious jams. She enthusiastically told shoppers about her bees, her chickens, and how she stayed up all night making lip balm to make sure it was ready in time for the market.
Not all college students have access to a kitchen, so Peter from Gold Meadow Farms in Fosters, RI had a nice selection of succulents, flowering plants, herbs, pickles, squash, and more. This is the second year Peter has participated in the BU Market. He sells wholesale through his farm and at just a few markets in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (BU on Thursdays and Charles Square, Cambridge on Fridays and Sunday). Peter feels the population at BU is right for sustaining a market and that he hopes to be back again next year.
Ward’s Berry Farm brought a colorful selection of tomatoes throughout the market season along with hot peppers, green beans, kohlrabi, and more. At the request of a student, Ward’s Berry Farm offered a modified ‘share’ for the second half of the market season. For $20, students (or faculty and staff) could take home a pre-packed box full of produce. There was an overwhelming response and the boxes were stacked high awaiting pickup each week. The share pickup is continuing into November.
Other vendors included the Danish Pastry House, Big Sky Baking Company, Earthfrendz (handmade bags from India and natural soaps), Polka Dog Bakery, The Pebble Collection, and a number of BU sustainability organizations.
The market is a wonderful way to connect BU students with the local food movement in Boston. With increased student participation and interest, next year’s market should be even bigger and better!
Perfect Fall Pancakes
Adapted from Joy of Cooking Recipe
Makes about 12 4-inch pancakes
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1.5 cups milk (plus a little extra)
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons Smaht Farm honey
About a 1/3 cup cooked, pureed red kuri squash (you could also used canned pumpkin or squash)
Preheat a skillet or griddle and melt butter if you want. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and mix until just moistened. If the batter seems too thick, add in a little additional milk (just a splash at a time) until you reach the desired consistency. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to spoon batter into the skillet. Cook until you can see bubbles in the top of the pancake then flip and cook until the underside is lightly browned. Serve with more honey on top, or maple syrup, butter, or powdered sugar. You can freeze leftover pancakes after they have cooled and reheat in the microwave or toaster.