On a beautiful night at Boston’s last working farm, Allandale, Edible Boston celebrated it’s 5th anniversary in a style appropriate to their mission. Surrounded by friends, family and Boston’s culinary community, we lingered under a big white tent in the middle of fields bursting with growth and potential. As the party began, with our nametags in place, we wandered and snacked, not working for once.
I was a guest of Chive’s, a sustainable event design and catering outfit, also the focus of a feature in the summer issue of last year. I felt a bit covert, as I have been asked to contribute an article for the fall issue, by enjoying the fruits of their labor before I offer any labor myself. Nonetheless, I am a Chive member and excitedly accepted the invitation. I reached the farm, somewhere I have been before but never fail to get lost while en route, and parked in an open grassy field. With lines of cars abutting fields with lettuce and cabbage sprouting, I felt as if we’d been ushered in to sacred land. We walked down a long dirt road, crop rows at odd angles to the left, brooks and trees to the right.
The tent eventually showed itself and we were welcomed first thing by Ilene Bezahler, editor, who willfully accepted the evening’s signature cocktail, named in her honor, from my friend. The welcome area displayed Edible Boston’s magazines from years past posted on the wall and wildflowers on the table to greet you. I promised Ilene that I would be hard at work on my article; she won’t be disappointed!
With signature cocktail in hand—local Knockabout Gin, strawberry puree and St. Germain—we chatted with friends and cohorts. Liz, the new farm manager at Apple Street Farm talked with Devon from Russell Orchards. Taza Chocolate had a few representatives there, as did Formaggio Kitchen , Mozzarella House, Turtle Creek Wines, Batch Ice Cream, Westport Rivers Winery, Island Creek Oysters, Thatcher Dairy and Soil + Seed Gardens. Future Chefs, a Boston-based organization that prepares motivated, low-income youth for employment in the culinary field, were the hosts of the evening. Dressed in their chef’s coats, they served and coordinated the hors d’oeuvres brought by the guests. Chive had brought smoked redfish with Maitland Mountain Farm pickle relish on baguette toasts and a summer fruit compote on black olive shortbreads. Their two Future Chefs learned the ingredients and their origins, offering them to guests knowledgeably and with poise.
Edible Boston, a member of Edible Communities, a family of magazines that serve their localities throughout the United States and Canada, is dedicated to local, seasonal food. The magazines are printed on a hefty, matte card stock, include beautiful photos and articles introducing the reader to the bounty of their backyards. They highlight local cheesemakers, beekeepers, farmers, chefs, artisans and more. The voice of the articles is one of reverence for the efforts made by the artisan; appreciative of the dedication they show by continuing to make their craft in a way that is specific to their home. Oftentimes, I end up picking up the magazine, free at many local food shops, reading it cover to cover, only to buy as many of the products featured as I have access to the next day. The magazine relays each feature’s story passionately and appreciatively; for it is through a producer’s labor of love and a desire to live life as it could be possible that a new career and a new product are born for us to enjoy.
It is appropriate that the celebration was held at Allandale Farm. Located in Brookline, MA, they hold the record as Boston’s last working farm, having tilled the same soil for over 250 years. They make their own honey, have greenhouses and fields, flowering and edible plants for sale. They have a beautiful farmstand as well, where I buy not only milk in glass bottles, but local fruits, small batch granola, their honey, and all the seeds and Ball jars I’ll need for the season. It is the type of shop that entices you with nothing but artisanal products, offering you the opportunity to get everything you need and want in one place. It truly is the Edible magazine come to fruition. I have spent so much time there admiring the selection and Allandale’s dedication to Boston-area producers. While I was smitten just by walking through the stand, they raised the bar by posting a favorite poem on a blackboard, Weathers, by Thomas Hardy.
As the night came to a close, we ambled back to our cars. The sun had set but there was still sufficient light to see the farm. I made my way through the field, glimpsing the sparkling flashes of lightning bugs on my way.
Find an Edible magazine in your community and help them reach a celebratory anniversary, for life will only become more delicious if you do.