Friday, November 18, 2011

The Bounty of GrowNYC Greenmarkets

I am working at one of the most excellent places in New York City this semester: the Union Square Greenmarket. It wasn't all that long ago that fresh food was hard to find in the grand city of New York, but GrowNYC managed to make the city streets bloom with produce from local vegetable farms, orchards, dairies, livestock and poultry farms. Union Square is by far the most unique market. It is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and there is a constant bustle of people moving through the stands to purchase local goods.

Some of the most unique farms and local businesses include an ostrich and emu farm, a lavender farm, and an entirely vegan bakery that also sells many gluten-free goods. There are many daily events, including cooking demonstrations that use the most glorious and seasonal foods available at the market.

Coming from Kansas, I am used to seeing many farmers' markets filled with beautiful produce, but Greenmarkets often have farmers selling much more unique vegetables that Americans may not always cook with. Some farmers sell many distinctive asian vegetables, and I have also discovered all the wonderful varieties of other vegetables I would use seasonally (like pumpkins and squash). Here are some more pictures of the end of this glorious summer season:

What fantastic peppers!

So many tomatoes...

SOOOOO many tomatoes!

Mmmm... And the last of the stone fruits. How glorious!

I think my favorite new discovery is the concord grape. I did always enjoy concord grape juice as a child, but eating a concord grape that was freshly picked a day or two before the market is something like heaven. They smell so sweet that the bees and wasps swarm around the grapes, sometimes scaring customers away.

What do I do at the Greenmarkets? I am a Youth Education intern. We teach kids about what it means to have local produce sold at the Greenmarkets, why supporting local farmers is important, and we give them a short cooking demo using produce found at the Greenmarkets. I'll likely have another post about that later with one of the recipes we use.

If you are ever in New York City, the Union Square Market is definitely a place worth visiting. There's so much to see and do in the surrounding area, it's easy to make an entire day out of it. I will certainly miss it when I go back to Cornell.

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