The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 55.0°F | Overcast

Sustenance for Your Grocery Needs

a Food Guide

By Kathy Lin

Without Mom around to cook dinner or produce those trusty after-school snacks, and with limited dining options at MIT, it’s time to hit the grocery stores and start cookin’. It won’t be long before you start craving a homemade dinner or familiar midnight snack.

Where should you shop for food? Like most areas, Boston abounds with grocery stores. While the convenience of LaVerde’s Market in the Student Center may tempt you, resist and pursue other options whenever possible; you will find better food at cheaper prices.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Star Market

20 Sidney Street

Cambridge, MA 02139


Open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight

Walk north on Mass. Ave. Take a left at the gas station, then a right on the next street. Star is on the left.

The closest supermarket to MIT, Star is part of a New England chain and has all the standard items from toothpaste to fresh meat. Prices here may be higher than what you’re used to at home, but that’s true for all Boston supermarkets.

Trader Joe’s

748 Memorial Drive

Cambridge, MA 02139


Open daily from 9 a.m.–10 p.m.

Walk west along Memorial Drive (along Dorm Row); Trader Joe’s is a 20-minute walk from MIT.

A quirky supermarket, Trader Joe’s boasts culinary gems at reasonable prices. The selection is less comprehensive than Star’s, but you’re sure to find some new favorites that will keep you coming back. Mine include the cappuccino meringues, tropical fruit popsicles, lobster bisque, and frozen mangos. And I’ve always wanted to buy one of those 20-pound chocolate bars that occasionally appear on the shelves.


Take the red line subway to Park Street, then take the green line to the Haymarket stop.

A fantastic weekly outdoor market, Haymarket is a destination everyone should hit at least once. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and even seafood abound each Friday and Saturday, with vendors staying until the crowd thins or the produce runs out.

The market is loud and boisterous, and the prices are remarkable — though the quality is sometimes questionable. But even with a bad apple or two (literally), you’re sure to come away with a good deal.

For the freshest food, go on Friday or early Saturday. For the best deals, go on Saturday afternoon when the sellers are getting ready to go home. Try it early in the year, because if you like it, you’ll want to keep going back.

Other Options

Boston has a relatively new grocery delivery service from the expanding Peapod, which works with another New England grocery chain, Stop and Shop. Shop online at, arrange a delivery time, and receive the food at your front door. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard good things, and it sure sounds like a good idea.

For those interested in healthy or organic food, try out the Harvest Co-op in Central Square (walk North on Mass. Ave. about 10 minutes; Harvest is on the left at 581 Mass. Ave.), or Whole Foods Market (turn right two streets past Harvest on Prospect St., and walk three minutes to 115 Prospect St.)

Cambridge also boasts a number of farmers’ markets, most of which appear once a week in a parking lot. I’ve picked up a few delicious homemade pies there, and markets are always fun, though small. A close one is on Bishop Allen Drive by Columbia Street in Central Square, and runs from 12 p.m.–6 p.m. on Mondays. Another is at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, and runs from 1 p.m.–6 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Sundays. Both run until November.

Happy cooking!