Sep 182014


Playing With Your Food” is a weekly post highlighting a few of the many great uses for the wide range of produce and artisan food at the Salem Farmers’ Market, a Salem Main Streets project.  The Salem Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday from June 12 to October 23 from 3 pm to 7 pm on Derby Square.  While we can never predict exactly what our farms will be able to bring each week, we do our best to reflect some of the fun items we’ve found recently and what’s likely to be available for the upcoming week.  Hopefully this will give you a few new ideas to play with, and inspire you to try some new things at the market.

It may not officially be fall yet, but we’ve definitely entered the season for one of the most beloved symbols of fall food – APPLES.  If you’re like me, your eyes are probably bigger than your stomach when it comes to purchasing apples or apple cider.  Suddenly, you find yourself with three bags of apples and two gallons of apple cider that really need to be used within a week.  What to do?

Confession time – I am terrible with pie.  “Easy as apple pie” has no relevance to me.  So here’s a list things that I find EASIER to make than apple pie:



Boxes of Far From the Tree Hard Cider ready to go!


Aug 182014

Museums are neither boring, nor dreary, nor dark places! At least not the one in the downtown district of Salem, MA. Our very own Peabody Essex Museum is big, bright, and very community oriented. Admission is always free of charge to Salem residents (with ID) and members; it is also free Tuesday-Friday 10am – 5pm for people who work in Salem (with pay stub or other proof) but live elsewhere. Fees for non-members: adults $18, seniors $15, students (with ID) $10, youth (16 and under) free.

Take this week for example. On the 3rd Thursday of every month, the PEM invites the community to come in after hours for a late night fun-themed party. Yes, we said a party in the museum. Throwback Games Night set for this Thursday from 6-9pm will present hands-on interaction with electronic and board games of the 70s and 80s.

Some samples from the shelves of Mud Puddle Toys

Some samples from the shelves of Mud Puddle Toys

Among the games scheduled: (some of which you can actually see on the shelves of Mud Puddle Toys in downtown Salem)

  • Twister
  • Rubicks Cube
  • Uno
  • Pick up Sticks
  • Ouija Board
  • Atari
  • Operation
  • Perfection
  • Sorry!
  • Trouble
  • Payday
  • Arcade Legends
  • Ms. Pac Man/Galaga
  • Air Hockey
  • “Giant” Mouse Trap

These will be available to be looked at, touched, read about, discussed— and played!

And since it would be rude of a host to not provide refreshments, the museum will have (in keeping with the theme of games and quick munchies) mac & cheese, Rice Krispies, Yoo Hoo, and a few other treats.

Cocktails and conversation, art making and music, culinary demonstrations and surprising experiences add up to great night out whether you are a resident or visitor looking to extend a day trip into an evening. And for this special PEM/PM event, non-members pay only $10 admission.

Have further questions? More details available at PEM website or by calling 978-745-9500.

Aug 152014

Tax FreeTax break time! Not that we ever need an extra reason to attract visitors to our diverse downtown district in Salem, MA, but if you want one, we have it this weekend. The 2014 Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday Weekend  is set for Aug. 16 & 17.

What is that? “Two consecutive days during which most purchases made by individuals for personal use will not be subject to Massachusetts sales or use taxes” reads the recently enacted statute. The current state sales tax is 6.25%.

It continues, “on those days, non-business sales at retail of single items of tangible personal property costing $2,500 or less are exempt from sales and use taxes, subject to certain exclusions. The following do not qualify for the sales tax holiday exemption and remain subject to tax: all motor vehicles, motorboats, meals, telecommunications services, gas, steam, electricity, tobacco products and any single item whose price is in excess of $2,500.”

Did that say steam? In any case, there are many more items that are covered by the exemption. Come to Salem. Look through any store window along Washington St, Essex St, over to Front and Central and Derby Streets. Travel to Pickering Wharf and everywhere in between. You’ll find an assortment of items that lean on the city’s historical, literary, seafaring, and ‘witch-themed’ notoriety.

All are priced to sell nicely, with this weekend’s tax break as extra incentive.  Many local businesses are offering promotions this weekend, including 15% off at Treasures Over Time (Saturday only), 20% off at newcomer Edward John Home Decor, and The Urbane Cyclist‘s biggest sale of the year.  So get out there and start shopping!

Aug 112014

PEM PalsNot every tourist destination can offer “kid-friendly” events on a regular basis— but here in Salem, we can. As proof, we present the on-going PEM/PEM Pals. This is a fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers. It is presented Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 am at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Residents and visitors alike are welcome to attend.

For example, last week they read The Deep Blue Sea (which was in keeping with the theme of the current exhibition Turner & The Sea). There was also an adventure & fun with a sea-related craft.

This week the sea theme continues with a reading of Big Al, a book about a really big, but really friendly fish named Al.

The month will round out with special guests.

On Aug. 20 participants will be joined by Mr. Whirly (aka Keith Wasserman). He has some fresh tunes to share from his new cd, so attendees should be ready to dance!

On Aug. 27, you might want to keep your dancing shoes on because Teresa Coelho from Music Together will be available with all her instruments for children to try!

In fact, we suggest you take a look at the entire “Kids & Families” schedule for August at the Peabody Essex.

PEM/PEM Pals operates on Wednesdays  from Sept. 4, 2013 – Dec. 24, 2014. It is made possible with support from Target and American Dental Partners. For additional info call 978-745-9500.

Dec 182013

Winter Farmers' MarketMaking a list and checking it twice, we hope, has been the activity of our friends and neighbors this week in preparation for the final Winter Market of the season, Thursday 12/19/13.

Time to stock up for the Holidays! And to say “See ya next year” to the accommodating vendors who not only sell items but also share informative conversations with their customers.

To mark the event, Mayor Kimberley Driscoll will ring the bell at 3pm to kick off the final market.

The Winter Market is a fantastic opportunity to combine your grocery and holiday shopping, all while supporting local businesses,” states Kylie Sullivan, manager of Salem Main Streets and organizer of the market.

Whether you’re stocking up your pantry or crossing items off your holiday gift list, our range of vendors makes the Market a one-stop shopping destination.”

The Winter Market includes produce from local farms, pasture-fed meat, spices, pickles, soup, baked goods, artisan soap, jewelry, wreaths, and more. All items are grown or produced in New England.

But for this final session there will be some extra “gifts” (enough to fill Santa’s sleigh!) for attendees:

  • Young visitors will have the opportunity to catch a visit from Santa! (hint 3 to 4:30 pm)

  • $1-a-pound specials for select produce at Clark Farm

  • Wreaths and trees from Wally’s Vegetables

  • Holiday gift baskets at Salem Soapworks

  • Gift certificates for cheesemaking classes at Wolf Meadow Farm

  • Sales on all Shine Jewelry items

  • New vendor We All Scream for Ice Cream Co will be there again with vegan, gluten-free ice cream in a variety of fun flavors (she’s come the past two weeks to test out this brand-new business)

  • Summer market favorite Tangerine Pastry will also be there

  • Dorothy Malcolm will be there selling copies of Legendary Locals of Salem

  • Historic New England will be our guest non-profit this week, sharing Christmas/holiday-related stories and information

  • City of Salem Ma will be holding a flu clinic

Current Vendors at the 2013 Winter Market

Farm Vendors (produce): Clark Farm, Grant Family Farm, Long Hill Orchard & Farm, Wally’s Vegetables

Non-Farm Vendors (not produce): Big Sky Bakery (bread), Great Cape Baking Company (baked goods), Piper Ranch (meat), Salem Spice (spices, also selling Maitland Mountain Farm’s pickles), Tangerine Pastry (macarons, pastries), Valicenti Organico (pasta/sauces), We All Scream Ice Cream Co (vegan, gluten-free ice cream), Wolf Meadow Farm (cheese).

Artisan Vendors: Salem Soapworks, Shine Jewelry/Heritage Industries

The Salem Winter Market is also looking for feedback. If you’ve visited the Salem Winter Market this year (or even if you haven’t), please take a few minutes to fill out this survey.

The final market runs from 3–6 pm at Old Town Hall. Old Town Hall is adjacent to Derby Square on Front Street, where the summer farmers’ market is held.