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The Dorchester Winter Farmers Market has kicked off its 2014 season, and it is a great little spot for picking up vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods this winter. The market is located in Codman Square in the Codman Square Health Center, a beautiful building, and is a wonderful thing for Dorchester and surrounding communities as well as for the vendors who participate.

Codman Square Health Center

Codman Square Health Center

The market is full of smiling faces and delicious food, and we picked up a few special items along the way. You may remember my visit to Red’s Best last summer. I was happy to see they are vending at the market, and even happier that they were offering Chatham cod. We picked up a pound of cod for Sunday dinner, and it was incorporated into a simple, delicious meal, recipe to come soon.

Red's Best

Dorchester Winter Farmers Market

We also picked up some guacamole and salsa from Mi Padre Pedro’s for snacking and taco salads this week. I have a meal plan that I am trying to stick to, and having some really fun ingredients to look forward to definitely helps.

Mi Padre Pedro's

We couldn’t resist a little bit of sweet from Union Square Donuts. We opted for a heavenly bourbon caramel donut before we left the market.

Union Square Donuts

In addition to great food vendors, the market also offers free coffee and local musicians for entertainment. I loved the community feel of the market and had a great time exploring it. I think it will definitely become part of our Sunday afternoon grocery shopping rotation.

Dorchester Winter Farmers Market

Confirmed vendors at the market include:

 

Do you have a winter market you love? Are you just dying for summer produce like I am?!

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Tags: Boston, Dorchester, farm market, farmers market, fish, Market, seafood, vegetables

Galway Love

If I could choose a place to live besides Boston, it would be a very tough choice between Healdsburg, California and Galway, Ireland.  I spent a semester and part of a summer in college in Galway, and I fell in love with just about everything in the city and surrounding country. After I returned to the US for senior year of college, I set things in motion to move back to Galway for at least six months with a work visa and to see what would happen from there. In March of that year, my father died, and I ended up skipping the travel, moving to Boston instead. As luck would have it, about a year later I met my favorite Galwegian, my husband, and I have been lucky to call this place home a couple of weeks every year since.

Galway, Ireland

There’s something in the air, in addition to the mist and rain here, the smell of turf fires, and usually the sounds of an accordion, flute, or some other instrument playing. Galway is colorful in its storefronts and homes, these bright pops of color and lovely little details make just a simple walk down the street an experience.

colorful Galway

Galway is an old city, founded in the 12th century, and its history shows up all over, in bits of the old city walls and arches, cemeteries, and churches

Galway city walls

A fast river, the Corrib, flows through the town and into Galway Bay, which offers spectacular sunsets. When I studied abroad I loved running along the river and out to the sea, and in past years even on vacation, I have done some marathon training here.

River Corrib

Galway sunsets, there are no words.

Galway Bay sunset

The Galway Saturday market is one of my favorite things about the town. I lived right across the street from the market when I was a student. Every Saturday morning we were woken by the sounds of farmers setting up their stalls with produce brought in from the country. One of my all time favorite vendors is a Hare Krishna named Govinda, who makes incredible vegetarian food. Govinda was gone for a few years, so when I saw his bright yellow stall this time around, I literally jumped for joy.

The recent addition of a Continental Christmas Market makes the city even more special at the end of November and throughout December.

Govinda at the Galway Saturday market

Govinda at the Galway Saturday market

Steamy kitchiri with tomato and pineapple chutneys, a heavenly way to warm up on a chilly Galway day.

kitchiri and chutney

Even though the weather can be atrocious, getting out and about in Galway is just something you want to do, and the Salthill promenade is the perfect place for a walk with a view.

Salthill Prom, Galway

Galway is a city full of restaurants and pubs, gourmet shops, and wine bars, making it the ideal place for food and wine lovers.

Sheridan's Wine Bar, Galway

Galway has a ton of character, and people flock here from all over the world, making it a fun place to go out and to get chatting to perfect strangers who become new friends. There’s a warmth and character about the city that just needs to be experienced to be understood. It’s why we always recommend that anyone visiting Ireland spend at least a few days in Galway, using it as a jumping off point for visiting Connemara, the Burren, and even Westport.

I guess you can tell that I love it here; if the economy wasn’t so desperate and jobs almost impossible to find,  our many talks of moving back for a few years would likely become a reality. Until then, I hold this special place in my heart year-round until I get to visit again.

Have you thought about moving to a new city/country?

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Tags: farmers market, Galway, Ireland, Travel, vacation

The Boston Local Food Festival was something that Boston needs more of, fun, positive gatherings with an emphasis on supporting local businesses and protecting the environment. Sure it had a few glitches here and there, but overall I think it was a success, and judging by the crowds still there hanging out, eating, and listening to music at 4:00, lots of other people agree.

I started my day early as I was a festival blogger and volunteer. The festival could not have had a more perfect day, which started out cool with bright sun and blue skies, and by the end of the day was quite warm. I definitely got a fall sunburn!

Tents were set up all along the waterfront in the Fort Point area in front of the Boston Children’s Museum.

Fort Point, Boston

The festival was positively packed with delicious, fresh, local food and drinks, in addition to a variety of non profit organizations. The list of vendors can be found here.

There were plenty of farms represented at the festival, and their late season hauls were quite impressive. I expected apples, squash, and root vegetables, but there were still lots of tomatoes and peppers. It has been a good year for local produce!

local food, Boston

image City Feed and Supply
Organic Valley Cabot cheese
Singh's Roti Nella Pasta

Some of my favorite tables included Cabot Cheese, Haley House, Nella Pasta recent winners of Daily Candy’s “Start Small, Go Big” Contest!), Singh’s Roti, and Grillo’s Pickles.

I of course also enjoyed looking at the pumpkins and squash. Pumpkin and apple picking to come very soon!

pumpkins

gourds

I had a Dough Raise Me cookie for breakfast, and it was the perfect blend of oatmeal, Taza chocolate, and coconut in a crispy cookie with a slightly chewy center. The family selling the cookies was super nice, and as a result of this combination, we returned later in the day to buy more cookies.

Dough Raise Me Dough Raise Me

Beauty was everywhere, from fresh pear tarts to fall flowers. . .

Beautiful Pear Tarts image

Baked goods were in abundance and hard to resist. . .

image

After volunteering and some wandering, we headed over to the front of the courthouse for the local beer tasting. This is the portion of the event that could use improvement. It was waaaaaaaay too crowded, and some of the vendors ran out of beer by the time my friends arrived at 3. The main problem was that people went in to the event, then parked themselves there even when they were done tasting their beer. Next year, a much bigger space would be helpful as would different tasting times to ensure that people don’t take advantage of having a place to sit and hang out.I feel like this portion was a waste of money; out of the 25 tickets I bought, we used maybe 7 and threw the rest away because we just couldn’t get to the tables. Do I need to teach a class on tasting etiquette? :)

beer tasting

For next year’s festival (and I really hope there will be one!), I would also hope that the volunteers are utilized a little more. I didn’t have much to do, and though I asked a few times, never really knew where I was supposed to be. When I volunteered at Taste of the South End, I was assigned 3 vendors to help which I think worked well because it avoided having 6 people in one spot while other vendors looked for help.

After all was said and done, the festival was an excellent way to spend the day. It was full of people of all ages learning about sustainability, farming, cooking, and local charities and of course, enjoying tastes of new and different foods. It was one of those days that offered something for everyone, and I think everyone who was there learned something. I felt really good spending my money to support local businesses and look forward to doing so more and more.

Did you attend the Boston Local Food Festival? What was your favorite part?

If you didn’t, what is your favorite local food where you live?

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Tags: beer, Boston, Boston Local Food Festival, farmers market, Fort Point, local, local food, local produce

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