The SOWA Open Market has been calling to me ever since I first heard about it a few weeks ago, but until last weekend one thing after another kept me from going. But I was determined, so last Sunday I set out, with fortitude and conviction, to meet my produce-vintage-crafts destiny.
As I headed South from the Tufts Medical Center T stop, I noticed that I wasn’t alone. The street was swarming with people dressed in green.
The crowd was thick and lively, so I followed them. Feeling very cool and in-the-know, my newly-acquired crowd and I strutted down Washington Street, turned left, and joined an even greater mass of people, all heading in the same direction. Smugly, it occurred to me that the Open Market must be a bigger deal than I thought!
Penned in on all sides, I was carried along on the tide of green until we reached, not market stalls and merchandise, but a family of leprechauns and some old men wearing fezzes with strange vehicles. I had stumbled upon the Boston Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Terrified, I scampered between bagpipers, horsemen and Saint Patrick himself, frantic for an escape.
Luckily, I was able to backtrack and eventually find my way to the SOWA Open Market!
I staggered into the huge indoor farmer’s market like a wild Alaskan salmon slips a fisherman’s net to flop gracelessly back into the Kenai River. There, the friendly patrons and vendors bolstered my spirits, and I began to explore in earnest. Immediately, I was greeted by Robert Varisco of John Crow Farm:
John Crow Farm is home to grass-fed and pasture-raised livestock, a rarity in the current age of hormone- and antibiotic-riddled meat and dairy products farmed under conditions of cruelty and abuse. JCF sustains its high standards through community subscriptions for monthly deliveries of fresh produce and meat, providing local people with animal- and environment-friendly alternatives to grocery store products.
After such a serious and important conversation about animal rights and the dangers of hormones in meat, I was delighted to turn around and find the whimsical steampunk-inspired jewelry of Emrys Jewelry and Fynery, run by Emry and Nick Perry from R. H. Mardigan Enterprises:
Their charming wares, all hand-crafted and relatively inexpensive (the necklaces I fell for were $20 each) are a big hit, though you’ll have to wait a week to get your hands on them at the SOWA Market: Emry and Perry are selling at CraftsBoston this week.
As I wandered around, I was drawn over and over to one stall in particular: Cannistraci Fine Foods. I have a sweet tooth the size of the continental United States, and Naomi, the owner and baker of Cannistraci, knew just how to charm me. Her apple pie is delicious.
After making a few circuits of the room and taking more than a few nibbles of pie, I headed over to the Vintage Flea Market. It took me a good minute to find it– it’s unexpectedly in the same shopping square as Bobby From Boston, the coolest vintage shop in this city, across the street and down a block from the Farmer’s Market. Stepping into the old converted storefronts of the Vintage Market, I didn’t know where to look first– every surface was covered in lovely, fascinating artifacts from other times.
I found a dizzying array of costume jewelry, some stylish antlers, Cruella DeVille-status fur coats, a decorated ship’s wheel, a variety of law enforcement badges, and so many other things. Honestly, trying to photograph the Vintage Market was like a never-ending game of I Spy, but much more fun than that sounds.
Once the dazzle wore off, I realized two things: that I was famished, and that in my eagerness to see the Vintage Market I had walked right past one of the SOWA Open Market’s most awesome components: Food trucks!
First stop: Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese!
This food truck is legendary, so I knew I was in for something extra special. I am here to testify: Roxy’s did not disappoint. I am officially and forever ruined for all other grilled cheeses. I mean, look at this beast. I had the Mac and Chorizo Melt, which– I am deadly serious– consists of a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with macaroni and cheese and chunks of spicy chorizo sausage. And just like that, I have a new favorite food.
All in all, the SOWA Open Market is great fun! Plan to spend at least a couple hours there, just looking around, chatting with vendors, and eating. See you there next Sunday!
–Rachel, Future Boston Intern