FROM farm to table and more!
GROWNYC Greenmarket Program, established in 1976, has been promoting regional agriculture, ensuring the supply of fresh local produce for New Yorkers.
It supports farmers and preserves farmland for the future by providing small family farmers with opportunities to sell their fruits, vegetables and other products in open-air farmers markets throughout New York City.
We have a small one every Saturday in Sunnyside where my daughter, Patricia, resides. The flagship, however, is in Union Square with over 140 vendors occupying the famous landmark in the city. The produce is pretty spectacular and never fails to amaze me.
There is everything needed for farm-fresh meal including freshly picked veggies and fruits, eggs and dairy, even freshly caught fish, locally made wines, plants, flowers and baked goodies. And the season dictates the different varieties of vegetables and fruits available.
Patricia was off on Wednesday and we decided to shop for vegetables in Union Square Greenmarket.
The mood is always festive and the explosion of freshness and colors is dazzling.
The different varieties and cultivars (cultivated varieties) are simply admirable.
Tomatoes come in different kaleidoscope of colors and sizes.
We always get the huge heirloom tomatoes, which are great eaten fresh with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
There were so many colors of cauliflower – purple, yellow, white.
But we were on the lookout for Romanescu Broccoli or Roman Caulifower, which we recently had, simply cut into bite sized pieces and roasted in the oven with a dash of salt and garlic powder.
My grandkids Silvian and Sabrina ate them like popcorn. Roman cauliflower, with beautiful jewel-like flower buds, was first documented in Italy.
I have never seen multi-colored turnips and radishes! And the variety and colors of potatoes are just unimaginable.
The season of fall has a big harvest of different kinds of winter squash and pumpkins with hard shell covering vis-à-vis the summer squash or zucchini also known as courgette with soft edible skin.
Patricia picked up a butternut squash for soup, spaghetti squash or vegetable spaghetti and delicata squash which is cream colored with green stripes. The spaghetti squash is truly surprising. The flesh comes out in long strands resembling noodles after baking in the oven.
We used the more tender delicata for tempura and it was really good. The peppers are very colorful but we chose to buy the green Shishito peppers, which are a delicacy in Japanese restaurants, simply grilled and dipped in Ponzu sauce.
Shishito pepper is a sweet East Asian variety of capsicum with thin skin and blisters easily.
I have never tried cactus but they are a large part of Mexican cuisine.
The wide, flat cactus pads or nopales bear fruit that grows on its edges and are pear-shaped hence the name prickly pear cactus fruit.
Depending on the level of ripeness, they can range from slightly sweet (green) to syrupy sweet (red).
The micro greens are also very impressive like the Pea Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, and Radish Sprouts.
The fall colors of the harvest are truly fascinating. We spent the rest of the afternoon with curious abandon from one stall to the other.