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Market Day!

Today was a melancholy market day. Because both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Saturdays this year, today was the last major Saturday greenmarket at Union Square until the springtime. Every conversation between customer and vendor consisted of some variation of “when are you back?” or “how long will you be gone?” Usually these questions are about the produce. Today, they were about the farmers themselves.

Technically, the market is open all year. Many of our vendors will be back on January 8th (particularly for meat, dairy, poultry, etc.). But it’s sad to know that we’re saying goodbye to most of our favorite produce farmers for a while. The next time we go to the Saturday market in early January, it will be half the size it was today, which is already half the size it was in the fall. Luckily there will still be more than enough for us to get by.

I recently finished Keith Stewart’s book, which is a collection of short stories about his life on the farm (I did not expect a farmer to be such a poignant writer). After reading about their market days (awake at 3:10am, home at 9:30pm), I know that the farmers deserve a winter break. I also know that it’s not spent lounging. It’s when they tackle their bookkeeping, their planning for the coming spring, and a million other things that there just isn’t time for the other 9 months. I wish them all a good respite.

Keith Stewart’s farm is one of our absolute favorites. His sign (left) made us very sad. Gorzynski Ornery Farm usually has a huge booth, but it has shrunk down to just a few tables (right). On the bright side, let’s talk about things that we will be able to get all winer:

Parsnips and Rutabagas from Windfall Farms.

Watermelon radishes are great for roasting and look really cool.

Roasting potatoes and celeriac will be available from storage all winter.

Our preferred lamb vendor, Catskill Merino Sheep Farm, will continue to sell cuts of lamb, as well as yarn for knitting the extra sweaters we may need to shop there this winter!

They also sell a big variety of lamb sausage.

We spoke to the family from Northshire Farm. They are going to stick out the winter. Gohod for them! They introduced us to kohlrabi a few weeks back and had great Tuscan kale. The pictures above are of their Hubbard squash (huge!) and cabbage.

A variety of squash and a giant yellow squash of unknown name and origin.

Herbs and mixed cabbages.

Bulich mushrooms will be around all winter. Here is a pictures of their portobellos.

More pretty squash and some pickled items, which will continue to be available.

Sprouts will still be available from Hudson Valley Organics, although without any salad greens to use them with, I don’t know what the point is.

Now we get into the “cheating” of local eating: greenhouses and hydroponics. Shushan Valley always has tremendous looking stuff, and those tomatoes look out of this world this time of year. But growing in a hothouse is much more resource intensive, so a purist wouldn’t “really” count it as local. And you pay a lot for the privilege of eating such a great looking local tomato in the winter. Disclosure: we did buy some great basil from them today.

Migliorelli is one of the two big, conventional (non-organic) growers that will be there throughout the winter. Now they are also apparently freezing some of their summer harvest and offering it in the winter. This is the first time we’ve seen that and we think it’s a great idea. Ronnybrook dairy will be here all winter as well, and they make a killer hot chocolate with their milk. It’s a must-buy.

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