NEWS & NOTES
In her latest newsletter, Nina Planck, founder of the Real Food Markets, provides a lesson in evolution: if you're wondering why berries only come in bright shades of red, blue, and purple, it's "because they have to be visible to your Stone Age brain, to pop out of all that blurry green foliage somehow, or else you wouldn't stop to pick them, eat them, and spread their little raspberry and strawberry seeds all over tarnation." Color: A procreation strategy for the berries and an indicator of antioxidants for us.
NYC Nosh talks about the mangosteen, a fruit that is illegal to import fresh into the United States for fear of foreign pests, describing it as tasting "a bit like a tangy peach, but with the texture of a ripe cherry."
Chefs from The Core Club, a Midtown-East private club, buying baskets of peaches at Terhune Orchards and bags of various onions at Paffenroth Gardens...Chefs from Whole Foods trying French arugula at HydroGarden Farm, both on Wednesday, July 26th at the Union Square Greenmarket.
WHAT'S IN, WHAT'S OUT
Donut peaches ($3.50/lb., $5/quart) from Phillips Farms and Red Jacket Orchards..."super sweet" corn (3/$1) from Paffenroth Gardens, as well as a matching decrease in price for the bi-color corn at Migliorelli Farm...organic heirloom tomatoes from HydroGarden Farms...mixed heirloom and gourmet tomatoes ($3/pint) from Oak Grove Plantation, including yellow plum, green grape, rose quartz, sun gold, garden peach, and Matt's wild cherry varieties...low acid tomatoes ($2.50/lb.) from Kernan Farms..."revolutionary" red watermelon ($1/lb.) from Oak Grove Plantation...shiro and early wizard plums ($3/lb.) from Locust Grove...squash blossoms are abundant (see FOCUS ON)...hot Portugal peppers ($0.25/ea.) at Keith's Farm.
Peppers at Oak Grove Plantation: pepper plants ($8.75) as well as a half dozen other varieties ($3-$4/lb) with advisories on spiciness, ranging from the "mild to medium hot" jalapeño to the "extremely hot" serrano.
TRY A NEW GREENMARKET: Tompkins Square Park (East 7th Street and Avenue A, Sundays, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Tompkins Square Park, in the middle of East Village, hosts this Sunday Greenmarket in its southwest corner. Some of the same farms that sell at Union Square appear here: DiPaola Turkey Farms, Sprout Creek Farm, Conuco Farm, and Fantasy Fruit Farm all have stands. There are many other farmers who do not sell at Union Square or even elsewhere in New York. There is more of a focus on organic food at this market, with many farmers selling certified organic produce. Lots of vendors offer samples and live music often plays in the park during the market.
FOCUS ON: Squash Blossoms (Yuno's Farm, 4/$1; Locust Grove, $3/quart; Evolutionary Organics, $5/box; Windfall Farms, $5/box).
Squash blossoms, also known as zucchini blossoms or zucchini flowers, are currently in their peak season, available from several farms selling across the city. These bright orange blossoms are delicate: hold them under a light stream of running water to clean. Dry with a paper towel and store in an air-tight plastic container in the refrigerator. Squash blossoms have to be used within a couple days of being picked or they will go bad.
Squash blossoms have much of the same nutritional punch as their sister plants summer squash and zucchini: all are filled with vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium.
Find them in New York...fried with mozzarella cheese at Gusto...stuffed with cheese, battered with panko bread crumbs, and fried at Oceana...made raw-vegan at The Plant, stuffed with "ricotta" (actually, a puree of almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and garlic scapes).
Make them yourself...Locust Grove recommends sautéing, stuffing or throwing them in a salad...Yuno's recommends stuffing them with ricotta or mozzarella, dipping them in egg batter with flour or corn meal and frying...Evolutionary Organics recommends stuffing them with cheese and herbs and sautéing, battering and frying, or putting them on pizzas or in omelettes...Windfall Farms has a handout at the Union Square Greenmarket with recipes for battered squash blossoms and squash blossom quesadillas (a similar recipe for squash blossom quesadillas can be found at The Food Network).
- Conuco Farm, Nazareth, PA. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, at the Orchard Street Market Saturdays, and at the Tompkins Square Park Market Sundays (917.306.8746).
- DiPaola Turkey Farm, Hamilton Square, NJ. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at the Tompkins Square Greenmarket Sundays (609.587.9311).
- Evolutionary Organics, New Paltz, NY. At the Tompkins Square Park Market Sundays (845.256.1355).
- Hydro Garden Farm, Yaphank, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (631.286.3423).
- Keith's Farm, Westtown, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays (845.856.4955)
- Kernan Farms, Bridgeton, NJ. At Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays.
- Locust Grove, Milton, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays (845.795.5194).
- Migliorelli Farm, Tivoli, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
- Oak Grove Plantation, at the Union Square Greenmarket Fridays and Saturdays.
- Paffenroth Gardens, Warwick, NY. At Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays (845.258.4746).
- Phillips Farms, Milford, NJ. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (908.995.0022).
- Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (800.828.9410).
- Terhune Orchards, Salt Point, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays (845.266.5382).
- Windfall Farms, Montgomery, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- Yuno's Farm, Bordentown, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays and Fridays.