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Comments by YACCS
Saturday, August 21, 2004

Why I love the Union Square Greenmarket, and Local Produce in General

What I had for lunch when I got back

Okay, so here I am, messing around for the first time with the new Blogger engine since Steve got out of the hospital. Yesterday, I had a half-day at the office, so I went down to the Union Square Greenmarket before hitting a music event at the Cooper-Hewitt uptown. I had totally forgotten how great the produce--especially that from Upstate New York--is this time of year. Unfortunatley, I wasn't in a position to schlepp tons of soft, sun-warmed produce to the Upper East Side and then back to Queens. So, I resolved to go to bed earlyish, and make a pilgrimage back to 14th Street this afternoon before the predicted rain came.

I'm glad that I did. Now, granted, much of this food is NOT cheap, but a lot of it is, and it is all very much worth it. And, while heirloom tomatos are three to five times as pricey as the cottony, woody mutants in the supermarket, but taste like another item altogether. Also, I really do feel that we need to preserve the genetic diversity of what we eat, and this is a great way to do it, eat healthfully, and subsidize small farmers.

What you see above is only part of what I munched on--and, I only had half of that tomato, which was about the size of a human brain or a curled-up chihuaha. Now, these tomatos were not supermarket material--I had to carry my bag ginergly, lest it burst before I got it home. This particular merchant had three huge carts of mixed varities, arranged in flats. Another vendor had his piled high, all together:

That tomato, by the way, was fruity and the color of nectarines--yellow, orange, and red--inside. The other half went into some fresh succotash, but more on that later. Here's what I was able to get for the forthcoming few days:

--way too many heriloom tomatos (the only item that caused sticker shock--I gotta say, they're a great idea but not everyday fare)
--two bunches of carrots for a buck a bunch, bright yellow ones and deep purple ones. The purple ones are almost sweet, like pickled beets, while the yellow ones had an almost grassy herbish cast to them.
--purple basil (seen on the giant tomato, above)
--two different kinds of artesinal raw milk cheeses, a blue and a Dutch-style softer cheese, not unlike really good aged Edam
--a small, overpriced, but very tasty box of fresh mixed herb and greens sprouts
--a very reasonabley-priced bottle of hard cider from Ithaca, NY--and yes, they had samples--this type is a very dry type made from special cider apples.

What I want to get next time:

--mixed variety small eggplants from the same guy I got the tomatos from
--honey or beeswax from the Ithaca apiary guy
--more cheese
--sweet pea sprouts--very sweet, but very perishable; gotta eat em the day you buy them almost
--freerange-bred wild-variety ducks (mallards)
--pheasant eggs, if they're not sold out again
--gorgeous cultivated cut wildflowers
--mushrooms from one of the mushroom vendors
--another bottle of cider, maybe a different variety.
--mixed sweet and hot peppers from this guy:

What I did with all the stuff I got:

Pigged out on half of that huge tomato; had one or two tiny heirloom tomatos of another variety, had that all with bread and tiny slivers of artesnial cheese and a little wine, munched on a carrot afterwards.

Then I cooked some succotach with some okra that I needed to use, a few more of the most over-ripe tomatos, and some corn. It's cooling now on the stove. For the next few days I'll munch on the carrots, and make tomatos with basil for cheese sandwiches.

In any event, the whole episode cost less than a meal at a good restaurant, and it was more fun and hands-on. It's one of New York's more subtle, less-exploited pleasures.

Share your greenmarket stories here!


PS--and yes, this isn't a very serious post. But, I figured that it was time for me to tag something up, and why not another food post?

PPS--and yeah, didn't get my prosciutto either. Oh well.

PPPS--and yes, I took all of the pix myself, with my little cruddy 1.5 mp Kodak that I got as an "I'm sorry we f--d your order" gift from Dell, but that's another story....

posted by Jenonymous @ 5:18:00 PM

5:18:00 PM

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