The last time I set foot in the Union Square Greenmarket, it was a sea of green: spinach, sorrel, and lettuce galore, with not a single fruit in sight (except for those controversial greenhouse raspberries). Not even moving to a diversified farm in the meantime could prepare me for the summer's bounty that greeted me recently. Tomatoes, squash, broccoli, carrots, and fruit, fruit, and more fruit!
Tomatoes are still greenhouse-grown, and not quite as magical as the field crops. Still, they're infinitely tastier than those tomato-impostering tennis balls crowding the grocery store all winter. Cherry Lane Farms had some particularly pretty heirlooms.
Carrots are officially my most frequently consumed vegetable (possibly because they taste the closest to candy), and Paffenroth Farms had a rainbow of crazy, beautiful types: red, purple, yellow, "white satin," and something called carrot nubs, which seemed to just be small carrots.
Good news for anyone attempting to actually cook with these items (as opposed to consuming them raw on the subway ride home, like a certain Serious Eats reporter): most varieties of herbs are now coming up in copious quantities.
Terhune Farms had the essentials: basil, thyme, tarragon, and oregano, as well as lemon basil and lemon thyme, which I've never cooked with before. Any suggestions?
And on to the sweeter side of things: cherries, black and red raspberries, early blueberries, and late strawberries were all over the market. Kernan Farms even had some very early yellow peaches, which usually aren't ready until mid-July. This very early variety was delightfully juicy but not quite as sweet as later varieties. Best to wait another few weeks for stone fruits (and gorge yourself on berries in the meantime).
Now that life is so easy for all you Greenmarket shoppers, I'd like to pose two challenges: One, who can come up with a meal uses the most of these seasonal ingredients? And two, what are some creative, delicious methods for making preserves?
Broccoli Blueberries Peas Carrots Raspberries Greenhouse tomatoes
Corn Field Tomatoes (hopefully-unless the rain completely drowns them out) Peaches Nectarines
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