Photo Post: A Visit to the Union Square Greenmarket NYCPosted: September 1, 2012
New York’s Union Square Green Market is an event that takes place four times weekly in the city’s bustling – you guessed it – Union Square. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 6pm, a diverse array of local growers and food producers from the New York area gathers to sell everything from artisan cheeses to raw honey to flowers to seasonal fruits veggies. I happened to pick up some Amish-made bacon, a dozen fresh eggs, and some peaches grown right next door in New Jersey.
So why are farmer’s markets important and what’s the benefit? Read on for more pictures and discussion!
Farmer’s market goods and produce are fresher, and as a result, often more flavorful than their supermarket counterparts. You’ll also only find what’s in season and grown nearby – that means no banged-up cantaloupes that have ridden 3,000 miles on a truck from California. While some products are inevitably going to cost more because they’re made in small, quality batches rather than mass-produced (that bacon I bought? $9 per pound), you’ll be surprised by the incredibly reasonable prices on most of the produce you’ll find at the green market. I got three huge Jersey peaches for less than $2, and you can often get better deals the more stuff you buy.
But possibly the greatest benefit of the farmer’s market is the human element. Often, the person who planted, grew, pickled, or butchered your future dinner is the one selling it to you. At the grocery store, even if you shop at a smaller family-owned establishment, you can rarely ask questions about exactly where this cut of meat came from, or what soil those tomatoes were grown in, or if that bread contains allergens. In my experience, the growers and producers at the farmer’s market are more than thrilled not only answer those questions, but also to share their stories with you, brag about what they’ve brought out to sell that day, or just exchange pleasantries about the weather. It brings a sense of human commonality and ethical responsibility to the choices we make about eating that we simply can’t get from the cold anonymity of the supermarket.
Plus, you’re supporting a population of hardworking people whose profession has largely come under attack by the huge corporations that have monopolized our country’s food system.
Next summer I plan on getting a CSA box delivered to my apartment, but for now, I enjoy wandering into the green market and finding what’s good and planning a meal around that instead of going in looking for something specific. Not going to lie, this last time, I was pretty specifically seeking out raw cream for my homemade butter experiment, but didn’t have much luck. What I did find were the gorgeous explosions of color you see in most of these photos…enjoy!
And one bonus non-foodie picture…skateboarding Hare Krishna dude hanging out in Union Square on a Wednesday afternoon. Word.
All images taken with a Nikon D5100 w/55-200mm lens