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This past weekend I attended the Boston Local Food Festival with my family. Now in its third year, the festival is a celebration of food made or grown throughout New England. There were free samples aplenty and cooking demonstrations for everyone. Over 100 local farms, restaurants, and producers gathered to show off their unique products.
Boston Local Food Festival Highlights
I felt like a kid in a candy store at the festival, and not just because I love local food. There was actually a lot of candy there. There were booths upon booths with free samples of locally made candy – handmade caramel, high-quality chocolate, and cotton candy made from maple sugar. There’s nothing like a local sugar rush to keep me happy on a Sunday afternoon.
There was also a great abundance of non-sweet local fare. Several farms were there to sell local produce and educate people about various purchasing options. I learned that some innovative New Englanders have applied the CSA model to seafood, selling fish shares from the Gulf of Maine and Cape Cod. There were many vendors selling various types of local food, including artisan bread and baked beans. Some businesses had prepared lunches, from fancy food truck grilled cheese to Jamaican and Thai food.
The first person we encountered at the festival stopped us to ask if we liked McDonald’s. I was a bit tongue-tied because I didn’t know her perspective and I didn’t want to get into an argument, so I just said, “No, not really.” She was delighted with my response because her group was there to generate signatures for a petition to get McDonald’s to stop their aggressive marketing toward children. Unhealthy food advertising geared toward kids is something that really bothers me, so I was happy to sign that one.
My favorite area of the festival was the Associated Buyers section. I was one of the bloggers for the festival, and I had interviewed Associate Buyers for an article I wrote. They are a natural food distributor working with small producers throughout New England. Now in their 25th year, Associated Buyers helps small natural, organic, and ethnic local food producers to get their products into the hands of consumers who value these high-quality items. They had many different businesses set up offering samples and selling discounted products, including jalapeno chips and Dancing Deer brownies. I was happy I didn’t miss this section of the festival.
Finally, I loved the location of the Boston Local Food Festival on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston. This stretch of land used to be the home of an unsightly elevated highway that ran through the heart of the city. Now there is a beautiful green park there. What a great spot to spend a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the best local food from around New England.