But there's so much more...reusable mesh produce bags, beach plum preserves, cherry bomb chili bitters, personal-sized vegan shepherd's pie, fruit-infused beer, garlic scapes, yogurt smoothies, flowering chives...no doubt about it: not only is another growing season upon us, farmers are getting more and more creative every year!! Let's break it down, shall we?
Reusable Mesh Produce Bags: Pick up 4/$10, and say good-bye to the nasty plastic habit! These breathable bags are gentler on your produce, and are machine-washable! You can see one of mine pictured above. Different vendors sell them at various green markets in the city. Ask at the Manager's Tent at the Union Square Farmers' Market, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday!
Beach Plum Preserves: beach plums are a tart, wild fruit that grows along the shores of Long Island. They're sustainably foraged, and cooked into a sweet and flavorful spread for all your brunching needs. Get a jar while you can! Once they're gone for the year, they're gone. You can find them at the Union Square Farmers' Market on Saturdays, along the top of the park, bordering 17th street.
Cherry Bomb Chili Bitters: if heat's not your thing, you can grab lavender, mint, or a variety of other flavors instead! These simple, and intensely flavored tinctures are just the thing to up your cocktail game! They're also a Saturday treat, and can be found at the Union Square Farmer's Market about midway up the park bordering University Place.
Personal-Sized Vegan Shepherd's Pie: With such a rich, savory flavor, you'll find yourself doubting the veracity of the vegan claim, but it's legit! You can find this perfect little lunch every day the Union Square Farmers' Market operates at Body and Soul: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday! They have lots of other excellent sweet and savory treats, too.
Fruit-infused beer: this tiny beer stand operates as part of a larger purveyor that offers lots of apples, greens, root crops, and tomato-based products, including bloody mary mix! They have more typical beers as well, including a beautiful balanced American pale ale. They can be found on Fridays for sure, and I believe Mondays as well at Union Square, close to 16th street, bordering the interior of the park.
Garlic Scapes: this is a gimme. You'll see these all over the market this time of year! But I buy mine from Central Valley Farms on Mondays. They're just shy of the north-west corner of Union Square, and they also offer wonderful yogurt, butter, eggs, cheese, other veggies, and strawberries!
Yogurt Smoothies: Ok listen carefully: this one's NOT at Union Square! You'll have to find your way over to Van Vorst Park in Jersey City, at the corner of Barrow Street and Montgomery Street on a Saturday before 3:00. Don't worry: it's just off the PATH train at Grove Street! And, the maple vanilla yogurt smoothie is well worth the trip (although blueberry, strawberry, and peach are all pretty special, too)! Why not fuel up with one before walking two blocks over to Newark Avenue for my Aerial yoga class at Jivamukti 2-3:15?? :-D
Flowering Chives: These are a perfect centerpiece with their pretty purple clover-like blooms, and an edible edition to a salad, or flavorful herb addition to your omelets and stir-fries with their subtle, clean onion flavor. And again, they're available at multiple vendors.
What special treats are you noticing at the Market these days? I can't believe the way the offerings have evolved since I started going ten years ago! It just goes to show you, at least every once in a while, you have to just take your time moseying around and see what you can see. You never know what you'll discover!!