On Friday, Oct. 2, The Brandeis Farmers Club held a big farmers’ market event, which was a huge success last semester. Even though there were vendors selling produce, the weather created a huge problem for the event: many students stayed indoors the whole day to escape the cold and dreary rain.
The vendors present included Halvah Heaven, Lyndigo Spice, Galit’s Treats With Love and the Rooftop Farm. In addition to selling their products, the vendors also provided free samples to those walking around. It was Halvah Heaven’s second visit to the farmers’ market, and I could not resist buying a package square of the espresso-flavored halvah.
Halvah Heaven is the only artisan halvah company in North America. Halvah is a tahini-based candy common in Asia, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe. They have created six original flavors: cardamom, anise-rosemary, vanilla bean, mocha marble, earl grey and espresso. The candy is also peanut-free, gluten-free and vegan, which is surprising because most halvah sold in the U.S. is made with nuts or in a factory exposed to nuts.
It is also interesting that halvah is vegan, because when I bit into my first bite of the melt-in-your-mouth candy, the flavor had a very creamy, smooth texture that scared me at first—I can’t eat dairy yet the flavor mimicked a milky flavor. Victoria Willins, founder of the company, also plans to be coming to the next Brandeis Farmer’s Market, which is already set for Oct. 23. Visit her website, halvahheaven.com for more information about her product.
Galit’s Treats with Love, another vendor at the farmers’ market, is a home-based bakery in Newton, MA that sells vegan pastries, challah bread and burekas. Some of their products are also gluten-free and nut-free. You can order their products, ranging from all different kinds of challahs to seasonal jams, on their website galitstreatswithlove.com. They also sell chocolate rugelach and cheese and potato burekas.
Lyndigo Spice, owned by Celeste Croxton, has a clever name that plays on the concept of indigo spice, an Egyptian dye. Her whole company is based on the idea of expanding people’s taste buds by including flavors from all over the world, especially those from the Caribbean. Celeste is famous for her pineapple chutney, which she uses on the traditional Jamaican Jerk chicken dish she cooks up.
Lyndigo Spice also sells relishes in addition to their spices, which consist of spicy red pepper, savory red pepper and roasted mango. I tried a sample of the spicy red pepper and this combination of spicy and savory together made my mouth go wild with flavor, thirsty for more.
Lyndigo Spice also had a good variety of different fruit spreads and jams lined on their table, which included plum and ginger blueberry flavors. I’m a big fan of blueberry jam, so I had to make sure I got to try a generous amount when I was handed a sample on a small spoon. The mix of ginger and blueberry was a delightfully unexpected surprise; the ginger gave a spicy tang to the sweetness of the blueberry. The original spice rub that the seller let me try also contained this sort of balance between hot and soft flavors that made me oddly satisfied and craving for more.
Overall, the Brandeis Farmers’ Market had a lot of great vendors that sold many different foods. Vegan and gluten-free options are a popular alternative that many students on campus look for and the vendors sold a lot of dietary-friendly products. Unfortunately, the weather deterred a lot of people from coming, but the event started to pick up towards the middle of the day.