Two Farmer’s Markets, Two New Finds

In Challenge, CSA, Fruit, Salad, Saving Money, Shopping, Soup, Vegetables on June 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

Since I was such a good girl last week, using up everything from my first CSA distribution, I was left to brave the markets for an in between week.  At first, I was super excited because I could choose what I want, and in what quantity.  However, I have definitely taken for granted the no-fuss convenience of NOT having to decide!  Especially when the pickings are slim – such as they were this weekend.

It was really nice on Saturday, so I wanted to bike to the market (which also ensures I only buy what I can carry in my tote bag).  There are two options on Saturdays near me in Brooklyn – the Borough Hall Market in downtown Brooklyn, or Grand Army Plaza Market in Prospect Park.  I chose the former, because 1) it is closer, 2) there are fewer visitors, and 3) it is only a slight incline to bike there.  There’s a reason Park Slope warrants its name, and biking up that hill definitely proves it.

Unfortunately, the advantage of fewer shoppers at a markets leads to fewer farmers and varieties being present, and thus a vicious cycle of supply/demand.  I always remember there being so many vendors at Borough Hall, but for some reason this was not the case this time.  Maybe it was because I got there towards the end of the day?  There was one super huge farmer, one medium sized, and one small.  Plus the bakers, fish stand, cheese, flowers, etc.  I was really looking for some veggies and fruit, so the farmers were my target.  The larger farmer, as it turns out, is a conventional farmer that sprays the bejubus out of all of its crops.  Yet, they charge organic prices.  Why would I pay $5 for a pint of strawberries that are enriched with pesticides, or $3.50 for collards?  These are slightly more expensive than organic produce at the local grocery.  I know that you should support local farmers, and that the majority of produce in the stores is flown in, but really?  I decided to patronize the smallest farmer, who is not certified as organic, but uses all organic soil, no pesticides, no GMOs, etc, except for 2/3rds of their apple orchards.  I know this because I asked and they answered.  That larger farmer didn’t want to give me a straight answer!

There wasn’t much to choose from, but I got:

  • 1 bunch beets (plus the greens – which is a twofer)
  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss chard
  • 1 small Poc Choi – that’s the newbie!  It’s like Bok Choi, only it has some purple in it.
  • 2 quarts strawberries

I also went to the cheese stand and chose a pecorino infused with truffles, and a soft lightly smoked Gouda style cheese.  Needless to say, my bounty would not cover me for the week!  I cleaned everything up, and figured I’d pick up some stuff midweek if I found time.

Beet greens and stems, perfect for salad or saute.

Beautiful rainbow chard.

Chopped up Poc Choi, for Miso soup or stirfry.

Strawberries! Half cleaned and frozen for smoothies, the other half for oatmeal and snacking.

Packed and labeled!

On Monday, I found some time to make my way to the Union Square Market.  That is the premier NYC Greenmarket, for those who don’t know.  Go on a Saturday if you can, that’s when EVERYONE is there.  Mondays are slower, and fewer vendors.  I biked, again, over the meadow and through the woods.  AKA over the Manhattan Bridge and through China Town.  After surveying the options, I found there was one organic vegetable farmer, and one that used no spray, describing all of their methods on a sheet of paper.  I thought that was really nice, to educate the consumers about what your practices are.  I ended up choosing the organic farmer, and here’s what I got!  No photo of all the bounty because I was in a rush to get home for yoga.  I’ll be sure to include more photos when I write about the ingredients in future posts.

  • Tuscan Kale
  • Wild Purple Kale – newbie!!
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 small cucumbers (I think Persian, not kirby)
  • Purple scallions
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bag bargain lettuce (basically on its last limb, so it was only $1)

I also bought some hard pretzels from a market vendor – some regular, some whole wheat.  Grand total, excluding pretzels, was $21 on vegetables.  That’s a few dollars less than my CSA, so I figured I did good :).

So far, this is what I’ve used:

  • Half the wild kale for a smoothie
  • 3/4 of the berries for oatmeal and smoothies
  • Beets (and greens) for salad
  • Half the Poc Choi for udon soup
  • Rainbow chard (recipe to be posted)
  • 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash in the chard dish
  • Half the purple scallions (for almost everything!)
  • All the lettuce for a salad
  • About 1/3 of the dill (recipes to be posted)

Stay tuned for all the recipes!

  1. hefty haul!

    Come and link up to this week’s party when you get a chance.

  2. […] would pair well with that.  What goes better with salmon than dill!  Luckily I had tons of dill from the farmer’s market, as well as beautiful red scallions and cucumbers.  These all make for a great cucumber salad!  I […]

  3. […] some breakfast while starting to clean, prep, and store this week’s bounty.  I still had a squash from the farmer’s market, so I diced that up with some red scallions for an omelet.   I also had blueberries with my […]

  4. […] the kitchen was cool enough to make some of this soup for dinner.  Luckily I still had some Pok Choy left on its last limb, and a fresh bunch of Bok Choy, so I had plenty of material to create a well balanced one-pot […]

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