Berklee Riffs: Beats, Shoots, and Leaves

Danielle Dreilinger
May 13, 2011
Microgreens? Macro flavor abounded at Berklee's first-ever on-campus farmers market April 20.
The local, organic options included grains, nuts, and butter as well as vegetables.
April in New England means lots of crunchy, delicious sprouts.
Photo by Danielle Dreilinger
Photo by Danielle Dreilinger
Photo by Danielle Dreilinger

Like Kermit the Frog, members of the Berklee community might be tempted to sing, "It's not easy eating green." This summer, it's going to get a lot easier. On April 20, Dining Services held its first-ever on-campus farmers market.

Set up on folding tables in the Steve Heck Room were goat cheese, nuts, breads, organic butter, potted herbs, a red-and-green "watermelon" radish the size of a sub sandwich. And lots and lots of crunchy, delicious sprouts. "Those are in season right now," explained Jessica Mackool-Todd, Aramark's director of dining services at Berklee.

Everything was local—grown or baked within about a 150-mile radius—and offered at cost from the college's usual suppliers, Sid Wainer Specialty Produce and LaRonga Bakery.

Students on the meal plan can get all these goodies right in the caf, so the market is really geared more to faculty and staff, Mackool-Todd said. The closest public farmers market is in Copley Square, over half a mile away.

The gleaming reds and glistening greens got mouths to water. "I love sprouts!" one girl exclaimed, her eyes going dreamy.

"I'm pretty psyched," said Ben Silva, a MassArt student taking a class at Berklee. He tried to eat local whenever possible and knew exactly what to do with the more-unusual offerings, like lentil sprouts: "I usually do my own sprouting."

The market drew lots of curious looks and some sales, especially of basil, wheat and cinnamon raisin breads, and tomatoes from Maine's biggest greenhouse. Reusable bags came free with purchase.

Not everyone bought, but Mackool-Todd thought that was fine: She saw the first event as a test run. The next market would have "definitely better marketing, better signage," Mackool-Todd said. And longer hours—"I have to rush to class," a woman apologized, as she ran off without buying. Visitors requested gluten-free baked goods, samples, and ingredient lists. The market might even be able to take debit cards.

Aramark hopes to run the market monthly through the fall.

The leftovers won't have to wilt in the sun. "Everything that doesn't sell today will be used in the next day or two somewhere on campus," said Mackool-Todd. Radish, anyone?

The next farmers market is scheduled for May 25, from 3:00 to 7:00, at 7 Haviland Street.