Boston: Local Food Festival Offers Savory Dishes at Discounted Rates

News Staff Photo/Laura Finaldi

By Chelsea Mattioda |

News Staff Photo/Laura Finaldi

Crowds of people made their way down to the waterfront despite the overcast day to partake in Boston’s second annual local food festival.

Presented by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston, the festival, which took place Saturday, Oct. 1, sponsored local businesses, education about local and sustainable food options and zero waste.

Masses of white tents were set up around the Boston Children’s Museum with food vendors ready to serve area residents and visitors. Nothing was allowed to be priced over $5, giving vendors the chance to serve up dishes of fresh, local and organic ingredients at low prices.

At the “Thai Hut,” options like Pad Thai, rice and spring rolls that sizzled in their serving pans were abundant. Vermont Smoke and Cure sold “slab of bacon sandwiches” which were as simple and delectable as the name suggests. The sandwich was made with thick, organic, smoky-flavored bacon on fresh French bread.

Flatbread Company was cooking up homemade sausage. Scents of onions and garlic permeated the air around their station among other natural toppings and ingredients. They also brought some of their Maine Root, organically sweetened sodas. The blueberry soda, ginger brew, lemon-lime and standard root beer were sweet, yet refreshing.

For dessert, Izzy’s Cheesecake was only a few tents away with slices and whole pies of lemon, chocolate, marble, raspberry swirl and various types of freshly made cheesecake. The soft pies were made with fresh cheese. There was also an abundance of free samples of chocolate chunks, like those from Chocolate Taza, where visitors could try a sample size of their rich chocolates before caving in and buying treats like chocolate covered hazelnuts and cashews.

“I’m really glad I went today,” Julie Landsman, a freshman anthropology major, said. “All of the food was really good and the music gave it a more cultural feel.”

Other tents featured farms as opposed to restaurants, where fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables were sold. It was the first year at the festival for Holmes Cranberry Farm, where they sold their fresh, organic cranberries. Festivals and markets such as this one give farms like this a major outlet for promotion in the slim window they have to sell their cranberries before Christmas, she said.

On the other side of the dock, the New England Aquarium held a booth to raise awareness about seafood conservation. They gave out recipes including options friendly to the ocean’s ecosystem along with a description of how each choice is beneficial. There are a large variety of ways people can help the cause just with their own diets.

“The best and easiest thing people can do is try a new type of seafood,” Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, outreach coordinator of the aquarium, said to onlookers.

Just expanding options and tastes can have a major impact and help people “live blue” a new take on “going green” that the organization uses to encourage conscious decisions around our seafood diets.

In line with the event’s “no waste” goal, categorized trash bins were situated throughout the festival with sections for recyclables as well as composting. This meant that after a grilled ham and cheese from Grilled Cheese Nation’s food truck or a sticky-sweet candy apple from any of multiple farmers stationed around the festival, waste prevention and organization was easy for everyone.

Several of the food trucks that park themselves around the area also made appearances at the festival, serving up their usual dishes at a discounted price. Davis Square-based bakery Kick Ass Cupcakes served up sample-sized treats of their own, including a caramel apple-flavored cupcake just in time for the fall.

The almost overwhelming array of food and information had an eccentric soundtrack with bluegrass, hip-hop, and Middle Eastern dance music at different points in the day with the Kolors Band closing out the day with a self-described “Soca Caribbean” – or fusion Caribbean – sound.