When I first moved to New York City, in summer months heavy with humidity, one of my saving graces was the farmer's market that lined the city sidewalks with buckets and barrels of ruby strawberries, orange and green heirloom tomatoes, artisan cheeses, and homemade jams. When I first came I was living in the high reaches of the Upper West Side. Farmers stood beneath the shelter of their shady tents with puffy pastries, spongy breads, and promises of crisp apple cider in the fall.
After two months I migrated to Brooklyn Heights where I clutched my air conditioner until the days and nights were just cool enough to escape the apartment and settle into pleasant summer temperatures. No matter where I went, it seemed a farmer's market plopped right down around the corner--a spread of culinary delight for my eyes, nose, and especially mouth to feast upon.
Almost year-round (sans the months when snowflakes fall from the skies and the temperatures dip below bearable), the local farmers find their way to Borrough Hall (Court Street & Montague Street) and stand tall with fruits and vegetables they've planted, nurtured, and nourished on display. For a couple dollars, I can buy sweet, yellow ears of corn, fragrant basil that opens the doors of Italy in my kitchen, and maple syrup tapped from trees not too far from my doorstep.
Since 1976, Greenmarkets have flourished in New York City with over forty-four markets dotting the five boroughs. With everything from organic produce to fish to wine and baked goods, these sales help support local families, gather your neighbors, and preserve open, green spaces. Not only that, but eating local is better for you: the less time produce travels, the less nutrients spill out along the way.
Can't make it to the famous Union Square market? Check here for some fresh produce near you. Can't cook? No problem--bite into a crunchy apple (no frying pan necessary!) or keep an eye out for recipes concocted by Greenmarket themselves like Cucumber Puslane Yogurt Salad, Blueberry Pudding Cake or Fresh Market Salsa.
I often refer back to my recipe for Pesto. The moment I open the bag and release the scent of basil into my kitchen, I am standing on the steps of Monterosso, the Mediterranean winking up at me.