On Sunday, Sept. 15, the Boston Local Food Festival — which touts itself as “New England’s Largest One-Day Farmer’s Market” — will promote all things healthy and regional on the Rose Kennedy Greenway for a 10th straight year. Presented by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, the free event not only features purveyors of local fare and practical products but also focuses on educating attendees about the benefits of eco-friendliness through activities and demonstrations for all ages.
Popular local chocolatier Taza will be on hand as one of the 70-plus vendors this year. “The best thing about the Boston Local Food Festival is the chance to connect in person with local food lovers who care as much about food as we do!” says Stephanie Larason, director of marketing and e-commerce for Taza. “We’ve done the event for many years and it’s so inspiring to share chocolate and conversation with people who are excited about handcrafted food, exceptional ingredients, and ethical trade! It’s also so rewarding to be surrounded by the wonderful community of local producers who share our values.”
Michèle Miller, founder of BOLA Granola, is also looking forward to the sense of community created by the festival. “Being from the far western region of Massachusetts, it’s easy to feel the distance from the vibrant city,” she admits. “We can’t wait to connect with our customers and make new friends, too.”
Another vendor, Wood Stove Kitchen, will be participating for the first time this year, offering all-natural drink mixes. Owner Steve Zyck explains that these kind of events are one of the best ways to gauge consumer response to products. “They’re a great barometer for what we’re doing right and where we might want to make adjustments before rolling out our products to a broader national audience. This is especially important as we gear up for the holiday season and gauge what new flavors we want to test and develop. For instance, farmers markets in the Boston area have really shown us that a combination of sweet and savory flavors in our drink mixes are popular.”
Boston Organics, which has been part of the festival since its inception, is looking forward to another great year. “We love participating to show our support and to be part of the local food movement,” says President Jeff Barry. “It’s fun and the vibe is always positive and, as the name indicates, very festive!”
Among the other vendors this year are Allandale Farm, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Grateful Burger, Maple Valley Creamery, MOJO Cold Brewed Coffee and Red Apple Farm.
In addition to having the chance to enjoy samples and meet local business owners, there will be live demos from several area chefs, including Meagan Greene of Snapchef, Suman Shah of Fork on a Road, and Peter Ungar and Marcos Sanchez of Tasting Counter. And for a bit of good-spirited competition, the Seafood Throwdown will pit two chefs against each other to show off their skills while incorporating a mystery ingredient.
Speaking of fun, a dedicated Family Fun Zone will keep both kids and parents occupied with interactive events and attractions, including Bollywood dancing, composting lessons, facepainting, goat petting, and wildflower planting.
True to its mission, the festival walks the eco-friendly walk, too. This year’s event is zero-waste, with 100 percent of energy use offset, more than 91 percent of waste diverted, and all perishable items sold originating from locally-sourced products.