Farmers Market Update: Union Square Greenmarket

by | May 26, 2013
Ramps

Ramps

Paloma is a Miami-born foodist with an insatiable curiosity to understand cultures through their food. Half her soul is in Spain, the other in the States. She blogs at Slim Pickings to inspire and inform how you can cook your way to health with 5 ingredients or less. She’s also a brand marketer in New York City. Follow Paloma on Twitter @pmvazquez

Farmers Market Update: Union Square Greenmarket

by Paloma Vazquez

Union Square Greenmarket

Union Square Greenmarket

It’s mid-May in New York City, and after a slow-burner of a winter, we’re finally blessed with the mercurial warm/cool days that are Spring in the Northeast. So on an overcast Saturday morning, I set off to the farmers market to pick up the ingredients for half a week’s worth of fresh, Spring meals.

The Union Square Greenmarket is well known and loved in the city by home cooks and restaurateurs committed to locally sourced, seasonal and REAL food. To give you a sense of its scale: it attracts over 140 regional farmers, fisherman and bakers that set up shop each season––and as many as 60,000 shoppers daily.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

You won’t find an ‘organic’ label on every farm stand, but can easily ask any farmer what their cattle/pig/chickens were fed, or how their produce was fertilized and grown. This is one location in the city where you’re guaranteed an honest, informed answer from the very people that grew the food (which certainly can’t be said of every restaurant, diner, or food truck).

Now, onto the goods!

Paloma's Union Square Greenmarket Bounty

Paloma’s Union Square Greenmarket Bounty

I hit the market with an experimental mindset: I would only buy seasonal produce outside of my usual comfort zone. I aimed to leave the market with more diversity of ingredients and flavor than what my habitual menus had recently become. In short order, here are the seasonal stand-outs I bagged:

Basil: A must-have in any tiny Manhattan kitchen. The aroma alone is an inviting reminder of why you choose to eat fresh to begin with – everything tastes (and smells) better.

Carrots: I was surprised by how good these curvy beauties smelled at the Norwich Meadows Farm stand. A mildly sweet scent emanated from these (organically grown) carrots. This is a scent you just don’t experience when you buy bagged or frozen carrots at the grocery store. This is the scent of real food pulled from the ground a few hours ago. It just smells FRESH.

Carrots

Carrots

Chives: Also from Norwich Meadows Farm,  I planned to saute my carrots with these. They’re also a nice aromatic complement to the basil I picked up earlier.

Micro-Sunflower GreensThese gems from Windfall Farms are very mild in flavor – almost nutty – and the texture is firm and crispy. They’re 25% protein (comparable to chicken), and high in lecithin, which helps break down fatty acids. I tossed them with anchovies, olive oil, lemon and salt for lunch. This simple dish is a new go-to favorite.

Micro Sunflower Greens

Micro Sunflower Greens

Red Russian Kale: Also grown by Windfall Farms, this type of kale consists of smaller, bite sized leaves that don’t require tearing off the stem. Because of its thinner texture, it’s an ideal green for salads, as opposed to cooking or baking. It is still a nutritional powerhouse of cancer-fighting glucocinolates and caretenoids.

Ramps: Most often compared to garlic in flavor, these look and cook like scallions, but have a much stronger, creamier taste. They’re highly in season, higher in demand, and usually gone before 11am the first few days of their seasonal premiere. More than just tasty, they’re high in vitamins A and C, and folate.

Tomatoes: I couldn’t write a farmers market post for Summer Tomato and not purchase… tomatoes. I couldn’t resist these, grown organically and fresh off the vine. Sliced and served with fresh basil, good olive oil and salt, it’s an antioxidant rich, delicious accompaniment to any meal.

Tomatoes and Basil

Tomatoes and Basil

Oyster Mushrooms: Grown by Bulich Mushroom Farm, these have a rich history in Chinese medicine. Oyster mushrooms are recognized for their antioxidant and antibacterial qualities, which do not decrease when cooked. I ultimately sautéed them with ramps and with some truffle salt, and the combination was beyond delicious, almost creamy in texture––and filling.

Green Garlic Pesto (dairy-free): This was the single pre-made item I picked up from the farmers market, because it was made by Salento Farms with exclusively three simple ingredients: garlic scapes grown at their farm in Connecticut, Italian olive oil and shelled walnuts. Period. A garlic scape is the stem from which the seed head of the garlic bulb is formed. It’s potent in flavor (like garlic) and has the consistency of fresh asparagus, making it easy to saute, grill or chop as the base for a pesto sauce. Delicious with fish, potatoes, or as a complement to a vegetable or other stir fry.

Green Garlic Pesto

Green Garlic Pesto

You can find delicious and deceptively easy recipes using 5 or fewer of these ingredients on Slim Pickings by Paloma. Get inspired to support your health while eating and cooking deliciously.

You deserve to feel great, look great and LOVE your body
Let me show you how with my FREE starter kit for getting healthy
and losing weight without dieting.

Where should I send your free information?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

One Response to “Farmers Market Update: Union Square Greenmarket”

  1. Rob says:

    Ramps are delicious, but they are a threatened species, here in Quebec 🙁

Leave a Reply to Rob

Want a picture next to your comment? Click here to register your email address for a Gravatar you can use on most websites.


Please be respectful. Thoughtful critiques are welcome, but rudeness is not. Please help keep this community awesome.