Monday, March 30, 2009

The Boston Dollar Menu

Sure it has its share of expensive parking, high-end restaurants and pricey theater shows, but not everything in Boston will leave your wallet empty. On any given Friday and Saturday throughout the year, wander over to Haymarket and you will be amazed at what a dollar will get you. An open-air market located between the North End and Fanueil Hall, Haymarket is where $1 will get you everything from 5 apples, to 3 avocados, to 2 melons, to 5 pounds of potatoes -- it is a mecca for the produce and seafood-wanting bargain shopper.
This past weekend, Mr. Charlestown Culinary and I walked the Freedom Trail from Charlestown over to Haymarket. 20 minutes and $3.50 later, we left with 5 dozen sweet peppers, 4 bunches of scallions, 5 lemons and a bunch of spring asparagus (recipes to follow in future posts). With the photos below (taken by Mr. Charlestown Culinary) are some hints for visiting and surviving Haymarket.
Hint 1: Do not buy anything before walking the entire market. Quality and prices can vary significantly by stall. Also, stalls on the outskirts tend to be priced higher. Hint 2: Unless you want to be yelled at by an Italian man 3 times your size or refused a sale, do not pick up the produce. Being allowed to pick out the exact 5 oranges is a privilege that you can enjoy at the supermarket or your local farmer's market. But NOT at Haymarket.Hint 3: Be prepared to eat your purchases within a couple of days, trim them or flat out throw them away. The produce at Haymarket comes from wholesalers clearing their inventories for their next delivery. Often times produce is at or near peak. This is perfect for making a large fruit salad for under $10, roasting vegetables or making large vats of stock. This is not good for the strawberry shortcake you want to make on the following Thursday.Hint 4: For the best selection, go early on Fridays. For the best prices, go after 2 on Saturdays. Hours vary with the weather and supplies, but tend to be between 7am and 3pm.


  1. This is great! I hadn't even heard of this! I just recently moved to Boston, so this is exciting! I'll be sure to check it out this Friday!

  2. Good luck on Friday! Oh and I am not sure where in Boston you live, but taking the T is the best!

  3. Thanks! I'm actually in Somerville. I usually just ride my bike. :)