More than Just Baked Beans! Boston Local Food Festival By Amy Elvidge

Cheese, chocolate, caramels, wakame, burrata, seasonal jams, fresh baked bread, veggies straight from the farm, Thai, Indian, Jamaican, Turkish, French and Italian, wine, beer, kombucha, tea, coffee you name it and it made an appearance at the 3rd annual Boston Local Food Festival on Saturday October 7th!  This event was most definitely a food-tacular feast for the senses.  Locals and visitors alike were rocking out to more than a dozen local musicians while snacking on generous samples from over 120 diverse vendors from across New England.  Attendees perused the Rose Kennedy Greenway while watching demonstrations from local chefs and DIY-ers (a la home craft brewing and medicinal tea foraging) and truly experienced all the gastronomic marvels Massachusetts and New England have to offer.

Boston Local Food Festival provides opportunities for local food-related businesses, nonprofits and initiatives to share their products, programs and services directly with locals.  The festival showcases specialty crops sold fresh or incorporated into dishes, food products produced in Boston and the greater Massachusetts area, local restaurants and chefs who emphasize local food on their menus, and the work of local food and health-related organizations.  What better way to get to know your local food and agriculture system than chatting with a farmer, chef or foodie while enjoying their delicious creations?

As a volunteer with the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Massachusetts, I was able to experience the inner-workings of such a successful city event and take advantage of all the free food that comes with lending a hand.  Major stand outs were handmade salt and pepper Mexican chocolate from Taza Chocolate, apple butter biscuits from Sofra Bakery, BBQ ribs from R&S Jamaican, Iggy’s Francese bread with thick spread butter from the Vermont Creamery, Black Lava Sea Salt caramels from McCrea’s Candies.  All you can sample baked beans from Breakwind Farm and an array of peanut butter from Teddie Natural Peanut Butter was an added bonus.

The Boston Local Food Festival aims to be a Zero Waste event by maximizing recycling, minimizing waste and reducing consumption.  This year SBN certainly reached its goal through encouraging attendees to compost and recycle and kept the event carbon neutral by utilizing local wind power!  Through a partnership with Save That Stuff, an organization providing cost-effective alternatives for waste disposal, a whooping 91% of festival waste was diverted from the landfill this year.

Didn’t get a chance to make the festival?  Want to learn more about local producers?  Interested in helping out at next year’s festival?  Check out bostonlocalfoodfestival.com to be on the inside track of the Boston Local Food Festival and find out about other local food events such as ALLocal Dinners, the Local Craft Brew Fest and themed restaurant offerings

Amy Elvidge is a first year AFE student and lover of all things local, particularly Berkshire Brewing River Ale and Meg’s Big Sunshine cheese from Ruggles Creamery. 

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