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5 Awesome Farmers’ Markets in the United States (and Where to Stay Nearby)

Love fresh produce? You don’t have to give it up on vacation. Everything from zucchini to asparagus, spring peas to corn and watermelon to strawberries begins sprouting up during the spring and summer. And if you’re not quite ready to put on the overalls and bring in the harvest yourself, the next best thing is to visit a local farmers’ market, where fresh produce abounds. We’ve picked out our five favorite farmers’ markets across the States, so no matter where your summer vacations take you, you’ll have plenty of tasty treats to bring home. And we’ve even found a great hotel near each spot so you can be sure to beat the crowds.

1. Copley Square Farmers’ Market, Boston (pictured above)

A farmers’ market is a particularly nice summer treat in Boston, which certainly has some cold months. The Copley Square Farmers’ Market, located in the historic and upscale Back Bay area, is open May through November and features several dozen vendors selling local goods.

Where to Stay: After a thorough renovation several years ago, the historic Copley Square Hotel features cutely decorated (if small) rooms and a long list of freebies, such as Wi-Fi, morning coffee and tea, and a nightly wine reception. Not only is the hotel steps from Copley Square, but it is also within walking distance of Fenway Park.

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Farmstand App Takes the Guesswork Out of Going to the Farmer’s Market

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We all love farmer’s markets, but there is nothing is worse than piling the kids into the minivan, heading toward your nearest farmer’s market and finding out that it is closed. OK, a great many things are worse than that but it is still annoying.

Your solution is here, in the form of a handy and dandy iOS app. The app, named Farmstand, keeps track of when your local farmer’s market is open so you don’t have to. Just boot it up and the app uses GPS to locate your nearest market. It pulls up a whole host of information about it, including hours of operation and what specials they are offering. There is even a social element that lets you trade exciting farmer’s market anecdotes with friends. There is nothing more exciting than an anecdote about a farmer’s market.

The app is free and, for now, is only available for Apple devices. We’ll let you know when an Android version drops.

Fishing at the Farmers’ Market

Blue Moon Fish Market

Blue Moon Fish at the Union Square Greenmarket

At the farmers’ market, I usually beeline for the fresh produce — this summer, juicy peaches and heirloom tomatoes in all colors of the rainbow have captured my attention. But after a recent dinner, I am now seeking out the seafood vendors first. Not all neighborhood farmers’ markets sell fish, but if you’re lucky enough to frequent one that does, you can seafood-shop like a chef — just make sure to get there early like they do.

At New York’s A Voce Madison, Chef Missy Robbins is creating tasting menus that highlight the fresh, local and sometimes wacky seafood she discovers on her morning trips to the Union Square Greenmarket, just a short walk from her restaurant.

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To Farmers Markets We Go

Shop at your local market during National Farmers Market Week.

For many, summer weekends mean days of briny sunning and swimming, lounging by pools and picnicking in parks. But here at Cooking Channel, one of our favorite summer pastimes is visiting local farmers markets and choosing amongst their bounty of fresh produce like kids in a candy store. Every trip offers the possibility of happening across a new vegetable variety or getting lost in conversation with passionate growers about their choices for cooking and consumption. (It’s kind of like a food lover’s summer camp.) 

Whether you’re a weekly regular or have yet to explore what your neighboring markets have to offer, August is the perfect time for strolling amongst aisles of produce-filled bins. For a too-short period of time, beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini are at their finest.

To celebrate this cornucopia of the summer harvest, the USDA has declared this week National Farmers Market Week, encouraging the 6,000-plus nationwide markets to host events and offer specials. (Not sure where to find the closest markets? This handy search engine enables you to locate them by zip code.) Check individual market websites to see what specials might be offered through this Thursday.

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