As the days grow shorter and I notice the folks who staff the local farmers’ markets starting to sport fleece, I’m always struck with a pang of sadness. Soon, the snap peas, fresh fennel, berry baskets and heirloom tomatoes will be shuttled away, and I’ll resign myself to another cold season of jarringly massive peppers and waxy cukes from frickin’ Shaw’s. Or at least, that’s how it used to be. Now I have Plum—as do you.
Tucked into a tiny storefront on Waltham Street in the South End, Plum’s interior is a spotless bright green room, adorned by little else but small bins of freshly delivered produce from local farms, as well as some special imports from fields afar.
“Good produce has been a love of mine for a long time,” says Barbara Lynch, whose menus at No. 9 Park, B & G Oysters and the adjacent Butcher Shop have always demonstrated her fondness for freshly picked deep cuts of local produce. With Plum, she’s able to bring just-picked treats from respectable local farms like Blue Heron (Lincoln, MA), Nesenkeag (Litchfield, NH), Eva’s Garden (South Dartmouth, MA), Sparrowhawk (Bradford, MA) and Siena Farms (Sudbury, MA).
Witness the table of exotic fungi—like the burly, seemingly sea-tinged lobster mushrooms from Oregon, or a heap of New Hampshire hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. Plump, thick-skinned lemon cucumbers throw winks at the remainder of a bin of lemons from the Amalfi coast, while across the room, are a row of house-made confitures and pickled veggies (like elusive ramps). Perhaps most notable is a strong selection of microgreens.
“I’ve been spoiled with all this good produce in the restaurants,” Lynch says. “Now I want to share it with our customers.”