The Waltham Farmers Market opens at 9:30 am, and within the hour, the parking lot of the Arthur J. Clark Government Center is full of people. Parents, children, friends, residents and dogs eagerly crowd the market, and stand in throngs by crates of purple eggplants and dishes of arroz con pollo. It’s early morning and already the air is heavy with humidity.
The tent for Dick’s Market Gardens spreads in front of the building, and a dozen or so hungry foodies pick through golden-purple ripe plums and mason jars full of sunflowers. The booth for Wagwan Jerkbar is to the right, and the pop up kitchen has Jamaican rice and jerk chicken today. The server slices up the meat as onlookers salivate and wait with baited breath for their lunches served in cardboard cones.
Across the lot is a vendor with small house plants, and another has a plethora of soaps and natural oils. The banner at Deano’s Pasta boasts “All You Need is Boiling Water,” and the bottles of Powerhouse Juice packed into an ice bath are full of healthy fruits and veggies. At Smith’s Farmstead Cheese, a man in a green trucker hat and a black #RAWMILK tank sets out samples of Traditional Farmers Cheese, Extra Sharp Cheddar, Everything Bagel Gouda, and three kinds of Gouda spread. He laughs when I laugh at his t shirt, and says that not everyone appreciates it.
Large and small, twisty and crunchy loaves of bread look idyllic on the Bread Obsession table and are perfect for a picture, along with the symmetrical display of craft cider at Far From the Tree. Cider made from black tea and chai, cider made with pineapple and jalapeños, dry-hoped cider with passionfruit and pine.
Around the side of the building is the fresh fish, meat and produce that I’ve been looking for. Long tables of leafy greens, beets, corn and tomatoes are spread out before me, and I breathe in the subtle smell of sweetness. Woven baskets spill forth their contents onto the tables, and the red and yellow and green and orange colors of the tomatoes, apples and peaches blend together in a beautiful waterfall of color. Their beauty is intoxicating.
Visit the Waltham Farmers Market every Saturday through November, between 9:30 am and 2 pm, at Arthur J. Clark Government Center. The market rotates vendors every week, so check their website before you head over.
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist based in Boston, MA. She created The Clean Food Club in 2016, and previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.