ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES: During June, donut peaches make their debut in San Francisco while asparagus heads out of New York (photos added to the MarketWatch Photo Pool by Flickr users beurremanie and Ferryplaza).
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.
Epicurious features an interesting interactive map that indicates the peak season for produce state-by-state. Select a month, click on a state, and the tool automatically provides a list of what's fresh where, along with links to recipes featuring those ingredients. Naturally, all the recipes are from the epicurious database, but it's not a a bad way to start getting ideas for what to cook with your farmers' market bounty.
NEW YORK: UNION SQUARE GREENMARKET
The big news is the arrival of peas. "June is the month of peas," Greenmarket's Gabrielle Langholz told me over the phone, followed by the exclamation, "Yummy!" Sugar snap peas arrived last week, and shell peas and snow peas are just arriving now at the market. Alas, June is the only month for peas, so get them now before they disappear.
Another June specialty which just arrived this past Monday are garlic scapes, the curly flowertops of the garlic plant. The green, succulent scapes are entirely edible (they taste like garlic, only mellower).
Lettuces are presently abundant, and strawberries, which finally emerged in small supply in late May, are now flourishing.
Now is the "season" for milk from grass-fed cows. "Anything a cow eats has some effect on its flavor," says Dante Hesse of Milk Thistle Farm in Ghent, New York. Because the grass the cows are eating is so lush right now and the weather is relatively cool, Milk Thistle's cows are being nourished by the best food of the season. "Milk is in its prime right now," says Hesse. "It's almost yellow and has a sweet, grassy taste." Optimal conditions will last until about mid-July, when the weather heats up and the grass is not quite as lush as it is in spring. Milk Thistle Farm sells grass-fed dairy products at Union Square on Fridays, Grand Army Plaza and Inwood on Saturdays, and Columbia University on Sundays.
Depending on the weather, cherries should arrive as early as late June.
During June, you can say goodbye to ramps, asparagus, fiddleheads, and nettles.
SAN FRANCISCO: FERRY PLAZA FARMERS MARKET
Corn will make its first appearance this Saturday. Very early field grown tomatoes have arrived over the past week (the small supply will burgeon by the end of June). Next week, limited supplies of rare varieties of white apricots should also be on hand (but only for a few weeks).
New, seasonal prepared foods have also arrived. Be on the lookout for rhubarb and blood orange conserve from June Taylor, apricot galletes form Downtown Bakery, arugula and parsley pesto from The Pasta Shop, and pickled horseradish from Happy Girl Kitchen.
Weather permitting, stone fruit such as nectarines, pluots, and donut peaches will arrive soon at the market. Also coming throughout June: cucumbers, tayberries, ollalieberries, boysenberries, figs, cherry tomatoes, peppers, shelling beans, okra, haricot vert, corn, tomatillos, new potatoes, and wax beans.
Hot house tomatoes, apricots, asparagus, and sugar snap peas are winding down. Blueberries should also make their exit shortly, but may still be available until July.
Sources: Gabrielle Langholtz, Greenmarket Manager of Publicity & Special Projects; Lulu Meyer, Associate Director of Operations, Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.