A Talk With WFM Manager Mimi Graney

We’re insane followers of the Watertown Farmers Market, and had the chance recently to catch up with Market Manager and local food guru Mimi Graney. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

What’s important for first-time WFM visitors to know?

  • The Watertown Farmers Market at the Arsenal on the Charles is held every Thursday, rain or shine, from 2 to 7 PM, from June through the end of October.  The market is held on the green in front of the Arsenal Center for the Arts.

  • There's ample free parking in surface lots and in the garage abutting the market, as well as bus service. 

  • Because we’re a producer-only market, visitors to the 20 booths meet and shop from the farmers and food producers themselves. 

  • The market offers a wide variety of local products including vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, fish, cheese, teas and herbal mixes, fresh juices, cut flowers, bread, and sweet baked goods, as well as specialty items like ice cream, sauerkraut, tamales, and more. 

 

Lucky for us, the Farmers Market movement has caught on strong across the state. What makes the Watertown one unique?

  • We're pleased by the number, variety and quality of vendors at our market, many of whom offer certified organic products. You can get all your food shopping done here.

  • The market offers live music each week, surrounded by cafe tables and an open green space that encourage visitors to gather with friends and linger with treats from the market.   

  • We have a number of guest vendors who are able to extend the variety of items available at the market, from maple products to locally made chocolates, vegan baked goods to pickles. 

  • Once a month On the Edge Knife Sharpening is on hand to provide a fine edge to your kitchen and garden tools.

  • The market offers a weekly SNAP-match to low income residents shopping with EBT benefits (formerly “food stamps”). Each week customers can visit the market manager tent to swipe their EBT card and receive a 1-to-1 match up to $15, turning $15 of food assistance into $30 of fresh healthy food at market. The market also accepts WIC and senior coupons as well as credit cards and cash. 

Who are some new vendors to the market this year?

  • Pranaverda Farm out of Johnston, RI sells chemical free vegetables and culinary herbs with a specialty in baby greens mixes, sunflowers and cherry tomatoes.

  • Two new cheese vendors alternate each week. Cambridge’s Central Bottle Wine + Provisions offers a variety of regional, handcrafted, cheeses along with house made preserved and pickled accompaniments. Jasper Hill Farm from Greensboro, VT makes artisan creamery cheese from their own dairy cows.

Heading into late summer/early fall, what’s being harvested that people can buy in August and September?

Starting in late August, Apex Orchards returns with a variety of local apples.  We'll continue to have lots of tomatoes, greens, and root vegetables into the fall. Corn arrives in late July. New fall and winter varieties of squash emerge later into the season. Our specialty food vendors will have some new options appropriate for the cooler days.  

How can we keep track of market happenings? 

Finally, what’s your go-to market recipe for late summer?

Foil baked fish with summer vegetables is a super easy dinner. Use any white fish from Red's Best Seafood. Julienne a variety of whatever vegetables you like - carrots, zucchini, summer squash, fennel, onions, peppers, etc.  Add a couple springs of your favorite herb like parsley, dill or basil.  Add a tablespoon of Carr's Ciderhouse cider vinegar. Sprinkle with a flavored salt from Soluna Garden Farm -- their sriracha salt is perfect for this. Wrap in foil and cook on a medium grill or the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Another easy favorite is a farmer's market bruschetta! Toast fresh bread from Iggy’s lightly coated with butter, and rub with a garlic clove. Top with big, juicy chunks of colorful heirloom tomatoes, torn basil leaves, chunks of cheese. I sometimes sauté Red's Best's scallops and serve them on the side to make it a whole dinner.