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.
Cool weather and rain have made for a slow growing season thus far, while also creating the ideal conditions for fiddlehead ferns, which sprout in damp, wooded areas and more than compensate for sun-bathing weather in our book.
The Greenmarket is looking more like dinner as all those inedible flowers make way for an increasing variety of produce. We’re not going totally locavore just yet, especially since the picking at gourmet markets is getting better by the day. But if need be, it could be done.
There’s already lovely salad to be had, and farms south of the city are beginning to pull up the first shoots of green garlic and chives; farmers upstate report that early crops will be harvested the moment the ground warms up enough.
Next week we turn to specialty and gourmet markets in search of seasonal produce and other ingredients. We'll return to Union Square with springtime's ramps and fiddleheads; in the interim, stalwart Greenmarketers can look forward to a winter's worth of greens, onions, garlic, potatoes, and apples — not to mention fragrant rosemary garlands, cranberry-pecan sourdough, guinea hens, Christmas trees, and jars of golden pear chutney.
Fashion writers may be buzzing about the spacebots and froth of spring, as this trend feature attests, but the look at the Greenmarket is all earmuffs and fingerless gloves. This season's curvaceous pears, potatoes, and cabbages continue to turn heads.