Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fenway Farms

Fenway Park.  If you've spent any time in Boston...really any at all... you're very well aware of Fenway.  The country's oldest ball park, we, as residents, cherish
our summer nights there, and lord knows we parade every guest we've ever had through there as the trophy of our city.  There's a badge of honor that goes along with how many games you've been to each season, and another for how many different areas of the park you've sat in.  Knowing where the right sausage guy stand is and who to ask for "dust and dirt" has it's own medal.  Of course there's also one for knowing how to juggle two beers, a pretzel and a hot dog back to your seat without spilling on the row in front of you.  If you're in the know- you are in the know for Fenway and its a point of pride.

However- there is still one surprise hiding in Fenway that I would bet you a carton of Popcorn that even the die hards don't know about (obviously I'm not much of a gambler).  Fenway Farms.  Heard of it?  And no I'm not talking about the gardens in the Fens.  Just above Jersey Street, on the third base line, outside the EMC and State Street Pavilion levels, there sits, on a former "dead space" sits a fully functioning garden.  

Begun in 2015, this piece of roof has been transformed to house a 5,000 square
foot garden.  Now this isn't your fire escape "garden" comprised of a couple of basil plants and maybe one sad tomato plant (face it- that thing isn't going to make tomato sauce), this garden is producing 6,000 pounds of vegetables annually.  Six Thousand Pounds of an incredible variety of vegetables - we're talking carrots, peppers, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, kale, collard greens, every herb you can think of, tomatoes (of course) and so much more.   

So where does this harvest end up?  Two spots really- a large chunk is served right in Fenway Park.  The chefs there have the incredible good fortune to design their menus (mainly in the EMC Level dining) around what the garden is growing.  Talk about fresh and local.  Now most of us aren't attending many games in those lux seats but that doesn't mean we
can't indulge in these veggies- there is a salad bar in the ground level concessions that offers these sweet picks!  It doesn't end in Fenway though.  There is a whole area of the farm known as the Vineyard Vine's Deck where private events can be held and ALL of the produce grown there is donated to my very favorite organization- Lovin' Spoonfuls.  If you are a long time reader of ABFD- you love them as much as I do.  We go way back.

So how does all of this work?  Green City Growers set up the garden using- wait for it- milk crates.  Yup- milk crates, landscaping cloth, dirt and a minimal use irrigation system keeps this garden growing all season long. 

Fenway Park has always been one of my favorite places in the summer.  It's the place of great team work, of heartbreaking suspense and incredible joy.  It may well be one of the romantic places in Boston where loyalty is tested and belief perseveres- and now it's a place of growth, a return to our roots, and a place to nourish body and soul.    

No comments:

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...