Greenmarket Strategies: Part I

How to Get the Most from Greenmarket Shopping

  • Greenmarket Strategies: Part I
  • Greenmarket Strategies: Part I
  • Greenmarket Strategies: Part I
  • Greenmarket Strategies: Part I
  • Greenmarket Strategies: Part I
  • Greenmarket Strategies: Part I

Greenmarket Strategies: Part I

How to Get the Most from Greenmarket Shopping

This past Tuesday I was taking the M5 bus down Fifth Avenue on my way to an appointment and I was stunned to see the sidewalks crowded to the point of spilling into afternoon traffic. If it hadn't been for the cotton dresses, flip flops and cargo shorts, you could easily think it was the Saturday before Christmas. There were rope lines in front of both the Apple store and Abercrombie & Fitch and those that weren't waiting to get into a store had their hands full with shopping bags.

Mid-August is usually the time for empty streets, but this year the weak dollar is bringing Euro-carrying visitors who are giddy with their buying power. With all the bad economic news, Europe's buying spree is coming at a good time. The lopsided foreign exchange rates also means some tourists are able to come to New York for the first time, which is always a wonderful thing.

I doubt many of these visitors are shopping at our Greenmarkets, especially if they're from Europe where there's a familiar tradition of farmer's markets. When we travel the pull is to instead see that which is exotic or rare or a bargain (iPhones). Plus, we hope tourists are eating in our restaurants and tipping generously.

Leaving out-of-towners to Fifth Avenue and Times Square, the rest of us can enjoy the fact that for our 46 Greenmarkets, it's high season. Only 16 of these markets are open year-round. The rest are seasonal, with most open for some part of April through December, and many only open from July through November. It makes sense; this is when the farms have something to sell us. The bigger markets may be open all winter but the offerings are limited to produce that can survive the winter (root vegetables and apples) or meats, dairy, eggs, bakery and other goods that aren't grown in the ground.

So we should get it while we can and in August and September, there is much to get. If you're in the city during these last weeks of summer and haven't been to a Greenmarket in a while, this is the best time of year to make a visit and you can make it a weekend outing since most are open either Saturdays or Sundays.

Because it's peak growing season, some of the Greenmarkets, especially the bigger ones at Union Square or Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, can be overwhelming, especially if you're not a practiced regular. I'm within walking distance of two smaller Manhattan markets and a quick subway straight shot to Union Square. In my years of shopping these markets I've developed a few shopping strategies that may be helpful.

Shopping Strategies

 

 

 

 

 

 


Finally, talk to the farmers. The people who bring you these wonderful ingredients are proud of what they do and they love to talk about how things are grown and how too cook them. Over time you'll also find that you'll get to know the farmers and this can only make the experience of Greenmarket shopping even more gratifying because we connect not just through the food but as people with a shared mission: to eat better.

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