Thanks to the past few months of alternating deluges and warm, sunny days, this summer’s tomato selection is particularly ample and exceedingly acceptable. For the next six weeks or so, you’ll have your pick, whether you’re after ruddy beefsteaks to adorn burgers, many-colored teardrops sized for snacking, or bulging, odd-hued, Dr. Seussian heirlooms worth sketching before you slice into them. After the jump, a sampling of the most fetching love apples available right now.
From the overpoweringly fragrant cantaloupes to the increasingly colorful tomatoes and peppers, everything at the market sells itself these days — the vendors just try to keep up. But on the northwest corner of Union Square, you can enjoy some old-fashioned salesmanship: With his dapper suits and British-Australian accent, Joe Ades has been perfecting his patter for fifteen years, slicing carrots into strips with the imported Star peeler and offering to sell the very one he’s using to guarantee there’s no scam.
After sighting the season’s first apricots at the Greenmarket last Saturday, we figure the dog days can’t be far behind. Gather your dinner-party guests while the weather is still cool enough for cooking, and be prepared to switch to a raw-food (or ice-cream) diet any day now.
If, like our frugal foremothers, you’re into preserving, now’s the time to mobilize. You can buy up berries for jam, freeze pitted cherries for future pies, pickle zucchini, turnips, garlic and beets, and put up enough pesto to see you well beyond tomato season. Or take the modern approach to seasonality, and eat up while the getting is good.
Most farms will bring in the last of their strawberries in the next week or two, and prices are at their lowest now, so this is a great time to gorge on the tiny red gems. Lucky for us, a parade of other fruit awaits, from the already-appearing cherries to high-summer glories like apricots. And tri-star strawberries, a unique variety that lasts all summer, have only just begun.
It feels like the first week of camp at the market, as we check out which of our friends from last summer are back and how they look this year. A few weeks later than usual, some of the most popular warm-weather farmers, like Keith’s Organics and Eckerton Hill, have returned, with tables already full and lots more to come. It’s going to be a good summer, we can just feel it.
Watermelon and winter squash face off at the market this week: Summer melons will soon be a memory, but the earthy-sweet flavors of fall foods like squash and apples are coming into their own. And don't forget the pumpkins.
The Union Square Greenmarket celebrated its 30th birthday this past Saturday, and fall officially begins at the end of the week. While the forward-thinking are canning tomatoes and hedonists are gorging on peaches and corn, farmers are talking about the Frost. Upstate farms could experience a nighttime freeze by October, but until then, the late-summer parade continues.