Sending a fond farewell to those lazy summer days. Extending a warm welcome to the productive, colorful fall season that lies around the corner! Nature is gladly surrendering its healthy harvest while enveloping us in a glorious splash of color …earth at its most pragmatic and generous. We celebrate the country’s bounty in our city by visiting the Union Square Green Market on Broadway and 14th Street. A true NYC way to spend a Fall day, browsing, sampling and subsequently purchasing all the healthy foods available at this New York City institution. Bring SEVERAL eco bags and cash, not credit cards; you will want to stock up. This is the best way to eat, from the farm to the table. No middle market, no padding. Nothing is over priced. It doesn’t get any purer then this unless you work the farm yourself.
This practical, eco friendly market started in 1976 with a few outdoor farm stands at Union Square, and has now expanded to some 40 to 140 regional stands – depending on the day and time of year – from the surrounding environs of NYC, many from Northern NY State farmland. Such a variety of goods…from yogurt to artisan breads, maple syrup to sausage, fruit picked only yesterday to wines bottled several years ago, just baked pretzels to farm fresh eggs, maple syrup to honey…rest assured, nutrition and good health considerations take priority at this great outdoor market.
All manner of produce is available at Union Square – squash, apples, carrots, tomatoes, peaches, eggplant, snap peas – it is after all, a GREEN market. But there is much more offered in addition to the fruit and vegetable level of the food chain. A few suggestions…
— Visit “FINNISH RUIS BREAD” where their only product is a superb organic rye bread based on a Finnish baking technique. It is yeast free and little salt is used. Its freshness is assured as they bake their Nordic bread around Manhattan’s eastern corner in Long Island City, Queens. Samples are offered and you will be delighted by the depth of flavor.
— Stop by the “TONJES FARM” stand from Callicoon, NY, where nutritional dairy products such as fresh made cheeses, kafir, yogurts and fruit smoothies are available. Their mozzarella cheese is exceptionally tasteful. Everything is made only days before with milk from their family farm, as well as other local ingredients from the Catskill Mountain area of Sullivan County, NY.
— SEATRUCK FISH from Eastport, Long Island, NY sells only on Saturdays at Union Square as their seafood is actually caught the day before off the Long Island coastline. This is truly “catch of the day” ….well…day before. The owner, Robert Williams, has his hard working niece there selling scallops, fluke and black fish. Their offerings are totally contingent on what is running in the waters of Long Island on any given day. As she said, “you have a boat and a truck, and it makes a business.” What could be more seasonal then fresh fish?
— BREEZY HILL FARM from the Poughkeepsie/Rhinebeck area prepares flavorful fruit pies and cider doughnuts in addition to selling hard and hot cider, all stemming from their extensive apple orchards. But they make the world’s most delicious, nutritional “carrot raisin cookie.” Pretty please post the recipe on your website?
— BUZZARD CREST VINEYARDS & BARRINGTON CELLARS from the way North Fingers Lakes region of NY State is a small family run vineyard, offering all manner of quite reasonably priced red and white wines. I sampled the Riesling –marvelous—as well as the actual robust grapes used in their wines, including concord and jupiter grapes. They are now at the height of their grape harvest so I am only expecting them at Union Square for September, October and November.
— BULICH MUSHROOM CO. of Catskill, NY offers only the freshest mushrooms for the balance needed by our immune systems – portobello, crimini, oyster, snow whites and shitake — they use no sprays, nor pesticides and are the only commercial mushroom farm in NY State.
— FLYING PIGS FARM from the Adirondack Mountains, the Batterkill River Valley area of New York State, promotes premium pork and sausages from rare breeds of pig. This pork is treated with great care, the animals have a wholesome diet, and a clean spacious outdoor environment in which to roam thus creating a better texture and flavor of pork. You can see from the cleanliness and organization of their products that great pride and consideration is given to their work.
— BETH’S FARM KITCHEN located in NY’s Columbia County is brimming with colorful, flavorful jams, chutneys and jellies in addition to “Fulla Fruits”-fruit spreads without sugar. Their products use all fresh local ingredients and can be tastefully gift packaged so they are appealing to our eyes as well as our taste buds. Their best seller is their strawberry rhubarb but they offer all the requisite fruit flavors, including marmalades. But why not explore some really interesting offerings such as Green Tomato Chutney, Spicy Corn Relish or Hot Plum Chutney?
— RED JACKET ORCHARDS from Geneva, NY are especially strong with fruit juices in every fruit flavor imaginable. These are cold pressed, unfiltered, 100% juices as absolutely nothing is added, the strength of their fruit speaks for itself. A high Vitamin C juice never tasted so good, I especially enjoyed the “tart cherry.” Reasonably priced and totally satisfying, why not try making a healthy Popsicle from this pure juice?
Talk to the good folks running their stands, get to know these vendors. Many of these farmers have been there for years and have developed a loyal customer base for some very solid reasons. They welcome the chance to explain all the wholesome benefits of their products. Many offerings are organic, and great care is taken in their transport from farm to market. Remember these are working farms so they are not always at Union Square the days the market is open, always ask their schedule. Also note that their specific location at the Market can sometimes change. Happy, healthy shopping to all, this is a perfect country day without leaving the city.
What’s your favorite stop at the Market? Do share below!WHAT: Union Square GreenMarket WHERE: 14th to 17th Street @ Broadway/ Union Square, NYC WHEN: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday all year round 8 AM to 6 PM
By: Joanne Theodorou