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Get a taste of Haymarket

September 14, 2016

Haymarket 6

With its generous helping of intellectual and nutritional delights, the Taste of Haymarket tour could be called a small feast. Offered as part of Historic New England's Everyone's History series and led by Ken Turino, the organization’s manager of community engagement and exhibitions, the tour serves up delectable morsels of the history of this open-air market, from the time when it really was a hay market in Boston’s earliest days through various periods of change and challenges.

Tour takers can’t help but visualize what the city must have been like in its earliest days, situated at the water’s edge with its maze of narrow streets and lanes. Despite a few centuries of transformation, reflecting natural trends of growth and modernization, and notably urban renewal, Haymarket carries on. Pushcarts evolved into produce stands and seasonal produce is now largely a thing of the past because of global access to foods. The vendors and their clientele both are part of the changing and expanding demographics of the melting pot that Haymarket forged.

Taste of Haymarket isn’t a cursory walk through the produce stands or a glance at the cheese and butcher shops that occupy permanent store space. It’s a social outing in which participants learn about the region’s past and present foodways. Talk with vendors and learn a bit about their experiences and how some of them, starting as children, came to a lifelong Haymarket presence or are continuing a family tradition. You can sample their products, which typically cost much less than supermarket prices. Also, you can find produce that isn’t the standard seasonal fare of the region, with tropical offerings from places such as South Africa, Chile, and Brazil.

Haymarket’s evolution and sustainability are explored in an exhibition titled Haymarket, The Soul of the City, on view through October 30 at the Boston Society of Architects' BSA Space, located in the Atlantic Wharf building in Boston. The exhibition features pictures by Justin H. Goodstein, principal photographer for digital projects at the Boston Public Library. Goodstein and Turino also collaborated on a book for Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series titled Haymarket. Historic New England’s Haymarket project features videos, oral histories, historical images, and photographs by Goodstein, as well as a documentary film, which can be viewed here in four segments that correspond to the seasons.

The next Taste of Haymarket tour is scheduled for October 14, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Buy tickets online.

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Get a taste of Haymarket