Saturday, June 12, 2010

Union Square Greenmarket in Full Swing


I've been making due with whatever produce I can find at the Borough Hall market lately, but I have been on a search for French Breakfast Radishes. I strapped the backpack on and headed to Union Square market to collect them today, although their beauty does not compare to those in the Paris markets. In general, the produce are not as pretty here at the markets - they're kind of dirty looking. But I still enjoy seeing stacks upon stacks of colorful vegetables all over.

Now in mid-June,  the greenmarket encompasses three sides of the square, while artists occupy the remainder of the space. Despite the aimless meandering gazers all bumping into each other with granny carts, I love the Union Square market. You have to be patient with the crowds, because you never know what you might find. 

Below are a few things I found particularly beautiful or surprising at the market today.

Buckets, buckets and more buckets of all kinds of gorgeous flowers. You can find almost any type of growing plant, herb, or cut flowers right now.

Red Scallions were one option among many kinds of scallions, spring onions and other root items. I'll be using them in a soup - with both the red and green parts as garnish.

I have never in my life seen a razor clam until today - and I wasn't the only one stopping to puzzle over them. Show stopper.

These scapes were offered under several names - Green Garlic, Scapes, or Rocambole Garlic. Apparently you slice it and use it just like regular garlic.

So many kinds of radishes from white to red to these purple plum radishes. For now I'm sticking to the mild French Breakfast Radishes - but maybe someday I'll acquire the taste to try other kinds. They sure are pretty.

Sometimes I pick new things to try by the way they smell. I just pick up bunches of things and smell them. This is called Lovage, or Love Parsley. It's smell reminded me a little of Indian flavors (I guess it has a slight taste of fenugreek). The helpful people at the stand let me taste it and gave me some tips. It tastes like very strong celery. The woman working there told me that it is great in soups, replacing regular celery. She personally liked it cooked with fish - layered raw underneath the fish and baked in the oven, it wilts down. She said you could also cut it with parsley and use it to season fish. I'll be trying this in a root vegetable soup today, but I also wonder if it would make an interesting pesto sauce. I was told that the Romanian chefs from a local Queens restaurant buy it by the bagful and freeze it (dry in a container) to use throughout the winter.

MORE PHOTOS FROM TODAY ON FLICKR

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