I just had a wonderful morning at the Union Square Farmers Market! I’ve been before, but never with serious shopping intentions. I woke up at 8am, about 30 minutes later than I’d intended, scooted out the door, grabbed a venti iced coffee, and boarded the N train down to Union Square, canvas tote and shopping bags in tow. As I started up the stairs exiting the subway, my nose was filled with the smells of herbs and greens, a wonderful change from the usual scent of stale urine, building my excitement. Stepping out of the subway I was thrilled at all the options of fresh produce that were laid out before me. I walked down the west side of the square, overwhelmed with all my choices – even if I stopped at only one stand, I could buy five different types of potatoes!!! I decided to walk back up the west side, and across the north side, canvassing everything before I started buying. Wanting to buy one of everything I knew I had to call my mom to cool my jets and compose myself. I needed a plan.
With mom on the phone, I excitedly reported everything I was seeing – a stand that ONLY sold lilies, a stand that sold potted plants (I considered buying a large cherry tomato plant for about 10 seconds), a couple of flower stands, a honey stand (the bees, real, live, bees, were flying back and forth between the honey stand and the flowers!), a stand that ONLY sold mushrooms (Mike doesn’t have to worry – I didn’t stop there… today…), and of course your standard vegetable stands and fruit stands. Collecting my thoughts I told my mom the first part of my plan: only buy fresh produce, no prepared goods. That ruled out the pie stand, the fresh pasta stand and the stand with all the nice looking jams (not that I eat a lot of jam. But I might, if only I had fresh jam!). I wasn’t ready to rule out the cheese stands, so they were going to count as “produce”. I decided that I wouldn’t be able to make good decisions unless I picked a head of time what I was going to make, so I took a break, and sat under the shade in the middle of Union Square. Inspired by the current cover of Bon Appetit, I decided to buy heirloom tomatoes. Stories of fresh corn from my dad inspired my purchase of sweet corn, peaches and nectarines would get me through the week for fruit, a cucumber would be nice with the tomatoes, and my impulse or wild card buy was fresh beets.
I went from stand to stand, making my purchases. I didn’t have much of a method of choosing my vendors, except maybe where the colors were the brightest. But even then, almost all the stands had great looking produce.
I got a bunch of those purple beets, but next time I want to try the golden beets to the right of the purple ones.
Look at all my choices of carrots!!!!!
I loved the contrast of the fresh food and the farmers against the city streets.
I am quite proud of what I ended up with, I didn’t really go crazy! In fact, I spent less than $15! Look how pretty my veggies and fruit are at home in a bowl.
I think after this morning I have a good farmer’s market strategy:
1. Walk through and look at everything.
2. Have a sit and think about what you want to make.
3. You can get one “wild card” item. Something that looks really good but you still have to figure out what to do with it. ]
4. And from my mom: Remember that the farmers market will be there next week, you can always go back. Don’t over buy, you’ll just end up throwing out food. 😦
Maybe I have a new Saturday morning routine! And hopefully I’ll be able to show you the fruits of my labors later! Pun intended. 🙂