MarketWatch is a monthly report on what's fresh and new at farmers markets in New York and San Francisco. If you've visited a farmers market recently in your own community, tell us what's new in the comments. And, if you have photos, be sure to post them to the MarketWatch flickr pool.
NEW YORK: UNION SQUARE GREENMARKET
News & Notes
As mentioned last month, the construction project at the north end of Union Square has temporarily displaced some Greenmarket farmers and producers. They've been relocated to the busy south end of Union Square, mixed in among the upstart peddlers of beads, incense, used CDs, and other decidedly inedible things. Not everyone is thrilled with the arrangement. "Now you have to schlep through a maze of nonfood vendors to get to the underselling milk; it’s like a frenetic flea market crossed with the long-gone flower district," writes Regina Schrambling on her blog, gastropoda.
The good news is that when the project is finally completed (18 months from now, at the soonest), the Greenmarket will reclaim all of its original space in the North Plaza, which is to be re-paved with hexagonal blocks.
Ramps, asparagus, fiddleheads, radishes, and scallions are new to market. Strawberries and shad roe have recently arrived as well. And pheasant eggs have now joined the duck and turkey eggs available at Quattro's Game Farm. The trifecta of specialty eggs should be around until July
For the ultimate in urban locavorism, you can purchase seedlings of lettuces, shoots, and peas for planting in pots at home. With water, care, and some good luck, you'll soon be harvesting your own (tiny) produce tableside.
Depending on the weather, morels should make their debut in May. In June, get ready for snow peas, shell peas, sugar snap peas, herbs, and stinging nettles.
SAN FRANCISCO: FERRY PLAZA FARMERS MARKET
Miner's lettuce, a member of the purslane family, may be used raw in salads or cooked until just wilted in a sauté (image: Lulu Meyer).
News & Notes
Strange weather patterns, waffling between extreme heat and cold (reaching near freezing in some areas), have delayed an early start to the blueberry season. The weather may also affect cherries and other stone fruit. To date, one of the market's peach growers has even reported that he may have lost his entire crop this year.
California salmon will not be available at the market this year, but Shogun Fish Co. has returned with halibut, black cod, sand dabs, sardines, and squid.
Good news? Spring favorites like English, snow, and sugar snap peas are plentiful, as well as rhubarb, artichokes, and pea shoots.
Stockton Red Onions from Balakian Farms in Reedley, fresh bay laurel leaves, miners lettuce (see photo above), lemon verbena, and other herbs from White Crane Springs farm in Sonoma.
New prepared foods have also arrived. Be on the lookout for fresh goat cheese, as goats are presently in their full milk production mode. Charcuterie The Fatted Calf is selling crepinettes -- sausage patties made with various meats, greens, and other market-driven ingredients, all wrapped up in caul fat. June Taylor is bringing preserves, syrups, and fruit butters, including a seville orange and rosemary syrup. On Saturdays, Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke is selling a "SF Style Lox Sandwich" served open faced on ACME sourdough bread, garnished with Stockton Red Onions, and slathered with Sally's homemade cream cheese. The seasonal sandwiches go on hiatus during the winter.
Artichokes, fava beans, watercress, baby lettuces, torpedo onions, baby carrots, and beets. Later in the month, blueberries, cherries, squash blossoms, apricots, and apriums should make their debut.
Asparagus will wind down during May and most likely be gone by June, and any remaining citrus varieties will exit the market as well.
Sources: Gabrielle Langholtz, Greenmarket Manager of Publicity & Special Projects; Lulu Meyer, Associate Director of Operations, Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.