It goes without saying that this is a fabulous time of year for those who haunt farmers markets. Usually I wax on about my local greenmarket starting sometime around the end of June, but this year I was so distraught about missing cherry season that I just couldn't bring myself to even speak of the place. By the way, I have no idea how I missed out on my favorite fruit this year...I was out of town for a few weeks of course, but was the season unusually short this year? Anyone know?
Anyway, last Saturday the bounty was just too, well, bountiful, to ignore, and I felt compelled to buy up half the market. I could barely carry all of my loot, the weight of it was so great. I came stunningly close to hailing a cab rather than taking the subway, but my utter and absolute abhorrence of New York City cabs won out in the end and I struggled home like a poor beaten down pack mule instead. But just look at the treasures I was able to gather.
I had lost a few window box herbs during one of my trips out of town, so picked up a couple of new pots...new thyme, marjoram and tarragon (out with the dead sage and lemon verbena). They would be well pampered in the Lower East Side Ecological Center's potting soil...
...the product of all of those food scraps I bring every week to be composted.
And these San Marzano tomatoes from the ladies at Cherry Lane Farms were just to die for.
I later cooked them down into the sweetest, most delicious tomato sauce for a gorgeous pasta dinner.
I may have to start canning them though, they really are quite special.
It is clearly kirby cucumber season! The cukes are all over the market, and the prices are incredibly low, not just by Greenmarket standards, but by any standards at all. I picked up a few pounds for pickles.
As we speak I've got a massive jar of bread and butter pickles in my fridge and an even bigger jar of Michael Ruhlman's pickles fermenting in the bedroom (I put them on my side of the bed, let's just not tell Paul about them, shall we? Last time I cured/fermented anything in the bedroom I hung various bits of meat from his bike and he was less than pleased).
The best peaches in the market are from the Cheerful Cherry. Last summer it was a quirky older woman and her husband handing them out. This year, I believe that, sadly, the woman has passed away. But she quite oddly has been replaced by a gaggle of the most stylish English girls you've ever met. Tall, thin, gorgeous and with impeccably unstudied style a la Kate Moss, they will I'm sure be discovered in absolutely no time.
Wonderful for them of course, but I will miss that je ne sais quoi that they add to the market experience.
These peaches and the intensely sweet blueberries (from a very nice vendor who's name escapes me) made it into just about every breakfast I ate for several days afterwards.
With ricotta and honey,
and then along with this incredible bread (a malted prune loaf spread with ricotta).
Often times Flying Pigs Farm has sold out of sweet Italian sausage by the time I get to them, but this day was different, so I happily picked up a package.
Now I find the sanctimonious free range people just as irritating as the next guy, but I have to tell you they do (annoyingly) have a point. This humanely raised pork is really like nothing you've had before, and is completely worth the price. I put one or two of these sausages in with some pasta and plain tomato sauce once and Paul proclaimed it to be the best thing he'd ever eaten. I'm not sure I would go that far, but it was far better than such a simple dish had any business being, and I attribute that completely to the sausages.
Thanks to my very crafty sister I have the pleasure of a new market bag (my old one, which she also made for me officially died).
The outside is a natural canvas and the interior is lined with the cutest oilcloth (to avoid any persistent staining from overripe fruit you see). She has occasionally threatened to make these bags en masse and sell them. I think she should, don't you?
All of my veggies and dairy products were in the bag. The milk was presently made into yogurt, the zucchini made its way into a few pastas, and those beets are destined for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's beetroot and chocolate brownies. What became of the tuscan kale? This:
Turns out that if you've got good kale to begin with it is actually quite nice raw in a salad with a few other veggies, some pumpkin seeds and a nice garlicky vinaigrette. And if you mix up a big batch of this, it makes a wonderful ready-made pasta sauce to have on hand. Just throw the lot in a pan and saute, maybe with a few tomatoes if you have them around and some nice cheese and pasta and voila! Readymade dinner.
Heirloom tomatoes are really starting to take over the market these days, as are the plums. I fear the peaches may be on their way out soon, but I suppose that just makes room for other gorgeous things...