Lani's Farm, from Bordentown, NJ, has a small stand at the Union Square Greenmarket on Mondays, but they stand out among the crowd with some of the most unique and pristine produce around. Grown and handled with care, they inspire a loyal following of both home cooks and chefs from some of the finest restaurants in the city. Lani's Farm is recognizable at the market not just because of the unique items that they offer, but also thanks to their signs: bright yellow, with typed serving instructions.
"I'm studying, reading books, making it easier for customers," said Eugena Yoo, who works on the farm and manages the Greenmarket stand. Not everyone knows what to do with a fresh lima bean, or what sets it apart from the flageolet or cranberry beans, which are also for sale right now at the Lani's stand. The signs make the product more approachable, and they're incredibly helpful when it comes to items you don't see every day--and Lani's Farm has these items on a regular basis. Right now the unexpected items include fresh chickpeas and ground cherries. It's also helpful to know the difference between a plain old zucchini and the funny-looking patty pan squash (for the record, Lani's zucchini aren't plain, and the patty pan squash is drier than your average zucchini).
Like many farmers at the market, Eugena also wants to educate her customers about the word "organic." "People see the word organic, and they think organic equals no spray.... The organic people did a very good job keeping people thinking they are not spraying," she said, reminding that organic farmers are allowed to spray their crops with organic certified sprays. Lani's Farm is not certified organic, but take one taste of their crops and you'll see that organic certification is hardly the issue.
Like just about everyone at the market right now, Eugena and her customers are most excited about the heirloom tomatoes that are now available. Lani's Farm now has them in full size, as well as cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and even fresh tomatillos in their husks are available. The bell peppers are also in, as are poblanos, jalapenos, and even Japanese shisitos. The summer squash selection is not just vast, it's one of the most staggeringly beautiful arrays at the market.
Click through the slideshow for a look at what Lani's Farm has at the market right now, and visit them at any of the markets listed below!
Greenmarket Schedule for Lani's Farm
Monday: Union Square
Wednesday: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (E. 47th and 2nd Ave), Tribeca (Greenwich and Chambers)
Thursday: Colombia (Broadway and W. 114th)
Sunday: Carroll Gardens (Carroll and Smith)