The Boston Phoenix
August 31 - September 7, 2000

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Pemberton Farms

Bucolic bliss on Mass Ave

by Julia Hanna

on the cheap
  • Herrera's Mexican Grill, August 24
  • The Seasonal Table, August 17
  • Giordani's Muffin Shoppe, August 10
  • Jimmaize Café, August 3
  • Just walking through the door of Pemberton Farms, an organic grocery and gardening center in North Cambridge, could fill even the most dissolute late-night burger-gobbler with a sense of healthy righteousness. The wood-beamed, skylit space is a bucolic setting for picture-perfect produce, and an attached greenhouse shows off row after row of potted plants and flowers. It's almost like stepping into The Sound of Music.

    The counter of prepared foods and sandwiches certainly made me want to yodel. For a grand total of $7 I took home a meaty, tender duck thigh in a cherry-balsamic glaze ($10.99 per pound), a chicken cutlet with a crunchy herb-crumb coating ($7.99 per pound), and a generous half-pound helping of a creamy, chunky egg-potato salad ($4.99 per pound). That's an odd combo, but it's fun to sample the daily offerings -- on another visit, there was a vinegary-sweet beet salad with oranges ($4.99 per pound) and a cooling dish of "Dragon Noodles" flavored with soy sauce and ginger and packed with crunchy bean sprouts ($6.99 per pound). The sandwich menu offers a range of imaginative options at $5.25 each, including the Tropic, a zippy combo of turkey, mango, caramelized-onion marmalade, and red-leaf lettuce.

    Pemberton Farms is mostly a take-out operation, but if you can't tear yourself away from the pastoral splendor, there are a few benches and some displays of patio furniture in the outside garden and at the back of the store. Just don't forget to clean up after yourself.

    Pemberton Farms, located at 2225 Mass Ave, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call (671) 491-2244.

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