Fresh Direct

Seasonal fare abounds at farmers' markets around the city

Summer is the time for New Yorkers to trade tasteless supermarket strawberries and watery Holland tomatoes for farm-fresh, locally grown produce. Starting in June and July, several dozen farmers' markets are set up throughout the five boroughs.

Greenmarket, a program of the Council on the Environment of New York City, runs markets in 37 locations. While other organizers may allow vendors to sell somebody else's products, Greenmarket farmers follow a strictly enforced grow-your-own rule. Shoppers get to enjoy fruits and vegetables that were plucked the day before.

One of the first seasonal vegetables to hit the market is asparagus. At Grand Army Plaza, farmer Morris "Kerni" Kernan from Cumberland County sells the crunchy green stalks together with other early-summer favorites like sweat peas and strawberries. In June, heads of lettuces and leafy greens bloom among the stands. R&G Produce offers half a dozen varieties in Jackson Heights, Queens. This year, Gary Glowaczewski, who runs the family farm in Orange County, will introduce red-headed Boston and red romaine.

July is peak harvesting season, when most of the classic seasonal fare becomes available. At Evolutionary Organics in Tompkins Square, Kira Kinney of New Paltz stacks up piles of squashes, picked small to keep them tender and sweet, and ranging in color from deep green to creamy yellow.

Up in Inwood, at one of the newest Greenmarket outposts, Samascott Orchards is famous for its bi-color corn. Brothers Ron and Gary truck the cobs in from their 1,000-acre farm in Kinderhook, where they plant so-called super-sweet varieties that take longer to grow and bring a lower yield.

In August, Eve and Chris Kaplan-Walbrecht harvest certified organic heirloom tomatoes like Brandywine (purple), Green Zebra (green), and Striped German (yellow, red, and orange) in Aquebogue on Long Island. Their Garden of Eve stand inside Greenpoint's McCarren Park is popular with Polish grandmothers and Williamsburg hipsters alike.

And finally, what would summer be without the taste of watermelons? Most local farmers grow them, but some have started planting more exotic seeds. One of them is Michael Kokas from Dutchess County, who sells at the Long Island City market, now in its second season. All of Paisley Farm's produce is certified organic, in- cluding a French watermelon with orange flesh and a bluish rind. At up to $1.50 per pound they're relatively expensive, but that's just what you would expect from the watermelon man of exacting Michelin three-star chef Thomas Keller.


Manhattan

Tompkins Square
East 7th Street & Avenue A
Sundays from 8 to 6
Open year-round

Inwood
Isham Street between Seaman Avenue & Cooper Street
Saturdays from 8 to 3
Open June–December

Queens

Long Island City
48th Avenue & Vernon Boulevard
Saturdays from 8 to 3
Open May–November

Jackson Heights
34th Avenue between 77th & 78th streets
Sundays from 8 to 3
Open May–November

Brooklyn
Grand Army Plaza
Northwest entrance to Prospect Park
Saturdays from 8 to 4
Open year-round

McCarren Park
Lorimer Street & Driggs Avenue
Saturdays from 8 to 3
Open year-round

For information on Greenmarket locations, visit cenyc.org or call 212-788-7476

 
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