Boston Public Market opens amid crowds
The wait is over.
Boston Public Market opened its doors Thursday as the city’s only year-round indoor market for New England products.
While the Faneuil Hall area in which it is located has been a hub of market activities for centuries, the old Quincy Market had largely turned into a wholesale market in the early 20th century before it was closed in the 1970s and renovated into the food-and-souvenir emporium called Faneuil Hall Marketplace today.
“It’s so festive. I love it,” Sheba Francis, a medical assistant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said of the new public market.
Francis tried the watermelon-flavored fudge from Phillipston’s Red Apple Farm during her lunch break but was thinking about the Crescent Ridge ice cream, too.
“I usually go to Crescent Ridge in the summer, but it’s kind of a drive” to Sharon, said Francis, a Mattapan resident. “To know that they are right here, it’s so convenient.”
With 37 vendors, there was no lack of samples for the families, working folks on lunch breaks, and retirees spending the day in Boston.
Located at the MBTA’s Haymarket Station, between Congress Street and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the market is devoted exclusively to food and wares produced in New England. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“It’s a great day for Boston. It’s a great day for farmers and food providers in Boston,” Governor Charlie Baker said before cutting the ribbon with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and market officials.
After the snipping was done, the commotion commenced as customers crowded the aisles. Samples were freely available, including pesto pasta at Boston’s Nella Pasta, chocolate at the Somverville-based Taza Chocolate stand, and sausage from Stillman Quality Meats, whose farm is in Hardwick. Siena Farms of Sudbury handed out free sunflowers.
Julie Hernandez, a manager at L’Espalier restaurant on Boylston Street, decided on a pastrami sandwich from Beantown Pastrami Co. of Gloucester. A frequent open-market shopper, she said she was glad to have another option besides the Copley Square Farmers Market and the SoWa Open Market.
“We’ve been watching this for awhile and thought, ‘Cool, indoor market, seafood,’ ” Hernandez said. “It’s awesome to have something like this here.”
Removed from the hustle of aisles, 8-month-old Louis Kroll played with a stuffed animal in the Kids Nook.
“My husband was very insistent that we come,” said his mother, Nicole Kroll. “Then in 10 years when we come, we can tell Louis that he was here on the grand opening.”
Kroll feasted on grilled cheese from Cellars at Jasper Hill of Greensboro Bend, Vt., and Red Apple Farm’s cider doughnuts — healthy picks, she joked.
“We didn’t do any real shopping because I didn’t want anything to go bad on the way home,” the Jamaica Plain resident said. “It’s so hot out today.”
The air conditioning was running, but with so many people conversing with friends and co-workers on a 90-degree day, it was warm in places. Still, the lines moved quickly, with waits no longer than 15 minutes at noontime.
For the vendors, Thursday’s opening was just the beginning of 60-hour work weeks, producing items to fill the displays and determining what sells the best.
Lydia Blanchard of Sweet Lydia’s, a handcrafted marshmallow bakery in Lowell, described the day as “like sprinting to the beginning of a marathon. We’ve been working so hard to get everything together.”
Florida resident Stephanie Gunn, who was visiting her sister on the South Shore, was excited to spend the day perusing the vendors’ offerings.
“We are so excited because when I was going to be here, this was going to open,” Gunn said. “We kept saying, ‘The 30th, the 30th.’ This is what I wanted to do when I got here.”