Today, while running errands, I stopped at the Winter Farmer’s Market at Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland. What with the packing and the moving and the unpacking and the coughing and the sneezing, and the sleeping, I had not found time to make the trek before this.
Russell’s is always a delightful place to go in the winter. Even if there's snow and ice outside, it's always spring inside Russell's greenhouses. There's moist air, the smell of green things growing, the tinkle of the waterfalls, the colorful blossoms and cute little toad houses, the flash of fish in the koi ponds.
The farmer’s market adds another dimension with booths selling artisanal cheese, local honey, fresh salsa, root vegetables of all sizes and colors, home-made seafood bisque and many other wonderful things. There’s even a food truck with a portable wood-fired pizza oven and a mac-and-cheese cart. After browsing the booths--and grazing the free samples, too--I picked up a quart of half-sour pickles like the ones we used to buy at Guss’ Pickles on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
There the pickles (along with sauerkraut and sour tomatoes) sit out on the sidewalk. When you order, they scoop the pickles right out of the barrel into your container and make sure they add enough brine to cover them. These pickles make your refrigerator smell like a deli and that’s before you even eat one. Guss’ shop is still there but a lot of the Lower East Side has become part of Chinatown and many of the old stores are gone.
We don’t go to New York much anymore so it’s good to find a local vendor. The ones I bought today are made by Boston Red Sox fans at Grillo's Pickles in Cambridge, of all places. Like all the best pickles, they have all natural ingredients and must be refrigerated.
There are only two weekends left in the Winter Farmer’s Market season and I have to remember to go back because a knife grinder is going to set up outside and my kitchen knives could all use a better edge. Maybe we’ll be out of pickles by then, too.