Public Market: Making downtown a neighborhood

Every year, the arrival of summer sends crowds spilling out of the Haymarket T station in search of fresh produce. It’s an iconic Boston image: shoppers mingling, vendors shouting, tomatoes glimmering in shaded pushcarts. Still, amid a population boom in downtown Boston, even the Haymarket hasn’t been able to keep up with demand for one particular type of food: locally grown produce.

This year, a new farmers’ market will help satisfy that demand. The market, on a long-underused plaza next to Haymarket, was formally opened Monday by the Boston Public Market Association. Equally encouraging is the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s approval of the indoor market that will operate year-round on the same plaza. For several years, the market association has been planning a permanent space to showcase high-end local produce and offer items like seafood and meat that aren’t yet available nearby. Though the indoor market won’t be up and running for at least another year, the announcement is a sign of progress. With more than 5,000 new residents in the past decade, downtown Boston is the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood. Yet Boston remains one of the only major US cities without a daily public market.

The new locally focused markets are not intended to replace Haymarket. Rather, they will further enrich the city’s core. The people are already there. Improvements like these markets will help cultivate a living, breathing neighborhood.