Where can you find the freshest local produce in New York City? Not at Whole Foods, but at one of the many greenmarkets throughout the city. Greenmarkets are like urban oases—step into Union Square on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, for example, and you have instant access to dozens of local farms. There are many reasons to support a local greenmarket: you’re supporting local economy, keeping small farmers in business, getting the most nutritious fruits and veggies and helping preserve the environment. Oh, and when fruit and vegetables are purchased in season, they taste better—much better. Don’t even try to compare fresh, early summer strawberries to the kind of hard, light pink ones you bought at the grocery store in February.
This time of year, the greenmarkets are particularly abundant. You can find the best of the late summer produce (hello, peaches?) and preview what’s to come for the fall. Here’s a guide to what’s in season at the markets.
Tomato season is coming to a close, so take advantage of these delicious fruits now. (Yes, tomatoes are fruits—remember middle school science?) And don’t pass up the ugly ones! Although they’re visually unappealing, ugly tomatoes make great sauces.
Eat more greens! Seriously, do it—dark green, leafy vegetables are packed with Vitamin E and folate, so they’re good for you. Really good for you, actually. Swiss chard, collared greens, beet greens and kale are all plentiful right now, and kale is so trendy.
Pick up some crunchy green and red peppers and you’ve got a healthy snack for the week. Dip them in hummus, eat them plain, or roast them in the oven. For the brave, you can also find ghost peppers and other super-hot varieties.
It may be a quintessential summer product, but corn is still available in September and October—or at least until the ground frosts. Take the kernels off the cob and freeze them for cooking later, or boil the cobs and serve with copious amounts of butter and salt and refuse to believe summer is over.
Stock up on peaches while you still can! There is really nothing like a juicy summer peach, and those hard stone fruits you can get in the grocery store don’t measure up to fresh New Jersey varieties. Get them now, though, because peach season will be over before you know it.
It’s just the beginning of apple and pear season, which means it’s also the beginning of apple cider and apple cider doughnut season. Don’t let the season pass without picking up a bag of sugary apple cider doughnuts or a bottle of apple cider. An apple (cider doughnut) a day keeps the doctor away, right?
While the weather’s still good, check out your local New York City greenmarket to find the yummiest produce. Buying local and maybe even organic will make you feel good, but unlike some large health food stores, you won’t leave the market feeling broke or disoriented.
For a complete guide to what’s in season at New York greenmarkets, check out this list from GrowNYC.