‘Ello, New York.
So we meet again. You were quite chilly the last time I saw you in January but, boy, do you make me awfully sweaty now, five months later. How very pleasant.
Actually, very not.
But that’s only because I don’t like having to run amuck your flooding sidewalks in my canvas TOMS and drenched clothes during your “I-wanted-to-be-sunny-this-morning-but-feel-like-spontaneously-pouring-four-hours-later” moods.
Good thing it was totally and completely worth it. Your Union Square Green Market was quite enjoyable.
Birthed 36 years ago and open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Union Square Green Market “in peak season, hosts 140 regional farmers, fishermen, and bakers who descend upon Union Square to sell their products to a devout legion of city dwellers who support local agriculture” (http://www.grownyc.org/unionsquaregreenmarket ).
Eager to more observantly peruse the market, I wandered aimlessly from vendor to vendor. Well, okay, not aimlessly. Yeah, well, okay. Kind of aimlessly.
Angel and I stumbled upon this market once before several months ago back in January but didn’t get a chance to indulge in its luxuries. Then again though, it was the dead of winter and many vendors were lacking. After all, who wants to set up tents in 21 F degree weather?
I saw a jam guy, some wool people, a local and organic wine vendor, a cheese dude (for there’s always a cheese stand), plenty of seasonal produce (mostly radishes, asparagus, and onions), and my favourite — an herb man. Well, two men. Because two herb men are better than one herb man.
By the time I got to the all day Saturday market, the popular jams had already been snatched. But Mr. Jam Guy’s savory spins on sweet classics evoke cocked heads. Green pepper and red pepper jellies? Hot garlic jelly? Hot strawberry jam?! What madness. And by madness, I mean pure deliciousness. All from a nearby family owned farm in Massachusetts.
Now let’s get to the wool talk. Wool, wool, wool. So soft, colourful, and homemade. Absolutely spectacular stuff. It’s not at all scratchy like the wool they use in sweaters from the, eh, sweater stores. I’m craving for a knitting project using this wool. If only I had knitting skills.
Look at the expression on that sheep yarn tag! Hahaha, oh my. Sweet, ’tisn’t it? I was awestruck by this tantalizing vendor. Only once before have I come across a wool and/or yarn vendor. It was in the La Jolla open aire market of San Diego, California. But their selection was not quite as triumphant as Catskill Merino Sheep Farm’s collection.
Look at those beautiful shades of periwinkles, lavender, northern moss, and pale granite.
My hand loves hugging this deep shade of Logwood purple yarn. Look at them — too cute!
The vendors next door to the wool specialized in capturing the wide range of the forests’ scents with wood chip filled pouches and brightly scented multicoloured wood slices. Take a gander! Or a whiff if you’re in the area. Things definitely smell woodsy in that region of the farmers’ market.
Or if smelling doesn’t tickle your tummies, these naturally coloured heritage eggs of bronze, mint, and cream shells, will make you dream of mushroom and proscuitto frittatas, sunny-side up eggs served atop a slice of crisply toasted sourdough, or carbonara pasta laid atop buttery al dente noodle strands. We brought a few of these back with us along with a grass fed and naturally grown Belle Rouge chicken from Violet Hill Farms.
Many of the produce stands carry in-season red and white radishes, kale, carrots, and other root vegetables. I think California’s summer came a bit early this year — markets on the West Coast are already flush with sweet and colourful beauties. Either that or there’s a black market of strawberries, peaches, oranges, pomelos, nectarines, and cherries that I haven’t learned of yet. But don’t worry, New York, your fruits will arrive soon and boy will it be worth the wait. Or, y’know, we can create a fruit black market for you guys too.
Yes, mountain ranges of radishes exist at this market! So blushingly perfect they are.
My favourite stand so far consisted of lip balms, hand salves, butter, and teas. All are herb based and sold under the name Tweefontein Herb Farm. Once again, due to my late nature and having arrived so close to the market’s closing time, there was just one type of herbal tea left when I stumbled over to this stand. They normally have “ginger cayenne sweetened with maple syrup, basil & mint (with a variety of over six types of basil and peppermint), and lavender and applemint” (http://tweeherbs.com/?page_id=209). Their teas and other products vary due to seasonal herbs but luckily there was still one tea left – stinging nettle and sage tea. It was earthy yet mildly sweet. Surprisingly refreshing!
With the skies rumbling and hinting at a spontaneous downpour, we rushed to one last stand where apple cider donuts by Migliorelli caught attention of our noses. Tasting reminiscent of a snickerdoodle donut, these doughy treats were consumed in an incredible speed.
Then rain poured from the clouds and we ran for cover. New York loves surprising its inhabitants with baths like a mother drenches her dirty child with Nerf Super Soakers after a Sunday mud bath in the back yard to get him clean. We trapped ourselves beneath a narrow doorway shivering from the wetness whilst enjoying the sight of a very wet Manhattan (and Andy Warhol) until we realized we reached maximum drenching capacity and made a run for it.
This was the most exciting farmers’ market experience I’d had since April (where I was hardcore craving pommelos and went to the nearby FM during a storm with gusts of wind at 50mph just to purchase a few). Call me a die hard farmers’ market fan, right?
I’m really hoping to visit this market again before the peak season ends. There were so many stands I had yet to explore! But this market is definitely worth going to. Specializing in prepared goods and products rather than raw farm produce, these vendors will surprise you.