Sunday, November 22, 2009

Union Square Greenmarket

I had the delightful pleasure of indulging a long-time desire -- shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City.

I've made annual trips to NYC during the Christmas season (and other times of the year, of course), and I've always enjoyed strolling the Greenmarket at Union Square (Broadway between 17th and 14th, if you're not familiar with Gotham geography).
Strolling a market like this brings out the creative juices in any cook, and any cook will start thinking about the many dishes he'd like to do with the bounty of produce in front of him. BUT, when you're schlepping to NYC from Philly on the train, schlepping groceries home is not an ideal situation. Consequently all I've ever been able to do is wander and wonder.
Well, this weekend was different. I was up in NYC for other reasons, and I was up there alone, and I timed my visit to the Market right before my departure on the train. It worked out great.

First trick was to find a shopping bag. I didn't bring one, though I'd thought about doing so, so I had to scramble. Turns out there's a Whole Foods Market on 14th St right on the Square. Good-quality shopping totes -- 99 cents! I bought two. Off to the broccoli!

I couldn't resist the gorgeous multi-colored carrots, and bought a bunch of yellow ones. I bought a knob of celeriac. That's a first for me. I'm doing a leek-potato soup for Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and decided I'm going to sneak in a few other root veggies -- the yellow carrots and the celeriac. Got a magnificent, wildly green head of Savoy cabbage (the crinkly kind), and a stalk of celery. The celery is wonderful precisely because it is NOT like supermarket celery from California. This celery is deeply green, has rather spindly stalks, and big, broad leaves, but has a potent, sweet flavor of celery that I've never tasted before. It will be great as part of the base for my soup and for my stuffing.

While I was there I also grabbed a 16-ounce bottle of buttermilk from an upstate New York farm, and a wedge of their cheese, too. Got some lovely wildflower honey, also from an upstate farm.
The New York City Greenmarkets have been around for some years ( and require that vendors sell only produce from the New York area. This time of year there are lots of apples, some pears, but that's about it for fruit. Lots of carrots, potatoes, radishes, greens (broccoli, cabbage, sprouts), squash and pumpkins, and of course, eggs, honey, cheese, and dairy. There are also a couple baked-goods vendors, some meat vendors, and even one selling jarred pickles.
I had to stop myself from buying the entire market. I could've and would've bought more, but very honestly, I would not have been able to carry it all home!

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