Beginning June 19, the Harvard community can once again enjoy weekly access to freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, handmade breads and pastries, and other healthy, homemade options, when the Farmers’ Market at Harvard reopens. Started by Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) in 2006, the market will be held every Tuesday through October.
Last year, the market featured the goods of four farms, two bakeries, and a chocolate vendor. In 2007, the market will expand the opportunity to purchase products directly from the farmers and artisans behind the food by including a rotation of specialty vendors. Also this year, the market will stay open for an additional 30 minutes, running from 12:30 to 6 p.m. to accommodate lunch breaks.
“The adjustment is another way HUDS hopes to bring together the many members of the community,” said Ted A. Mayer, executive director of HUDS. “Community and fresh, local produce are integral to the dining experience, and the farmers’ market is the perfect combination of these elements.”
Weekly cooking demonstrations using produce available at the market will continue to be part of the program. The demos, mostly run from 1 to 2 p.m., are a unique addition to the farmers’ market tradition in Massachusetts and are not featured as regularly in other markets. Scheduled demonstration chefs include area restaurateurs, such as Paul O’Connell of Chez Henri, as well as HUDS’ own chefs.
Specialty vendors will make scheduled, regular appearances. Last year, one such vendor was Maria Trumpler, artisan of Vermont Ayr cheese and a former Quincy House senior tutor and history and science lecturer. She will return to the market this year. “I fell in love with cheese and cheese making after I tasted a delicious cheese at a restaurant a few years ago,” Trumpler said. “I am so excited to share another experience with Harvard outside of the classroom.”
The market will also feature Shootflying Hill Sauce Co., a dessert sauce producer from Brookline. Their small-batch products include hot fudge and caramel. Additional specialty vendors will include Taza Chocolate of Somerville, a late-season regular at the market in 2006, partnering with mozzarella cheese maker Fiore di Nonno. Gilson’s Herb Lyceum of Groton and Olio di Melli olive oil importers from Wesport will also make appearances.
Jessica Zdeb, HUDS’ Food Literacy Project coordinator, organizes the market. In preparation for the 2007 round, she has been publicizing it in the neighborhoods on Oxford and Kirkland streets, as well as Harvard Square. “Judging from the number of e-mails I have received, the market will again be very popular,” Zdeb notes. Eager shoppers have already begun signing up for weekly e-mails that announce special vendors and cooking demos. Zdeb also hopes that more undergraduates will visit the market this year once the academic year begins.
As an event sponsored by Harvard’s Food Literacy Project, the Farmers’ Market at Harvard embodies the project’s educational themes of nutrition, agriculture, community, and food preparation. The market supplies appetizing fresh produce and healthy eating information that enable customers to learn about agriculture and nutrition. Cooking demonstrations give customers a glimpse and taste of food preparation. And by interacting with the vendors, students and staff can give direct support to local businesses while building a relationship with local residents.
Zdeb says, “We hope to expose the campus to Massachusetts vendors. It’s great to let folks know that much of the state is still very agricultural.” Moreover, on average only 15 cents of every dollar spent on produce sold in supermarkets are earned by the farmer. “At the farmers’ market, all of the money goes straight to these vendors, so the customers are lending huge support to the local economy and small farmers through their purchases.”