Friday, August 21, 2009

My Local Fruit Cart

More fruit for you today!

Did I mention I love fruits and vegetables? When I can't make it to the Greenmarket, I can always rely on the fruit guy on the corner of 23rd and 9th Avenue for fruit. I will admit, I used to think it was odd to buy the random banana from a guy with a few pieces of fruit on a table.

But I've noticed the vendors these days have piles of fresh fruit at great prices. I have actually seen My Fruit Guy on a headset with clipboard in hand, calling in orders. This is when I realized this was not some one off operation. That is him in the yellow shirt below at 8:15 am this morning:

My Fruit Guy is out there well before 8 am, and he's selling fruit until well after 9 pm. Have I mentioned the amazing deals on fruit? Three containers of blueberries for $5. Five huge, non bruised bananas for $1. Pineapple, cherries, lychee (yes, I've seen these!), grapes, mangoes...he's got it all. He is also well skilled at the upsell ("1 more box for $5?"). Needless to say, I've eaten lots of blueberries this summer: in my greek yogurt, in cereal, plain, in muffins, and in cake. I did not get to the pie, but there is still time left.

My Fruit Guy Selling Fruit

Keeping the Fruit Shaded

I've noticed that there are more fruit carts all over the city these days. They are officially known as "Green Carts" and New York City has actually approved more food carts to sell fruits and vegetables, particularly in areas that don't have great access to fresh produce or supermarkets. Yes, because everything needs a permit in NYC (the hotdog guy in front of the Met? His license cost upwards of $500K a year).

According to the Times, one vendor at 165th Street found business to be so good, he stays open 24/7.

I snapped this one on my way from the ATM on 23rd and 8th Ave this morning.

Getting Shipments for the Day

I think it's great when we make produce easily accessible for all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies: Union Square Greenmarket

And here is what is fresh this week:

I love fruits and vegetables in the summer. Love them. I will say, that I do like a good sprayed apple (they are bigger, crunchier, last longer) from Fairway. But I can't help go local or organic at the Union Square Green Market. The market is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (I think Saturday is the best day to go). We bring our handy Whole Foods reusable back and walk over there (I try to do my part).

On our typical shopping list is radishes, basil, carrots (never will I buy baby carrots in a bag again), and tomatoes (heirloom and Jersey). Who knew there were purple and white carrots, in addition to orange? The heirloom tomato is a particular favorite, and we lean towards the big, oddly shaped ones. But these little baskets looked too good to not take a picture.

I've been reading about tomato blight that's affected our tomatoes up north. Tim Stark, a Pennsylvania farmer with his own stand (and the author of "Heirloom Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer", see my Aug. 14th post), said he had to spray one of his organic fields to save the tomatoes. The late spring rain was a factor (and there is an interesting read in the NYTimes from a local chef about other potential causes. Interesting read).

Here is a nice pile of local corn. This reminds me of the Elote (Mexican Sweet Corn) at a friends BBQ this month. They sell it at the street fairs (I can't even imagine the margin, at $3 an ear?). But it's so yummy. The corn is roasted on the grill, then brushed with a creme fraiche mix and sprinkled with a mix of spices (chili powder, cumin) and Cotija cheese. I've found a recipe so can make it on my own when I get that grill, and deck. Or you can invite me over to your rooftop and I'll make it for you.

I don't have a picture, but my big find earlier in the season was fresh beets which I roasted in the oven and made a beet, goat cheese and candied pecan salad. If the local chefs shop for their produce here, I can shop and cook, too! I will admit, I passed on the ramps. In fact, I actually had to email my friend, Emmie, and ask if she had ever cooked with them.

One last picture, the flowers for sale:

Here's to more finds at the market this Fall!

*I've become a big fan of the camera on my iPhone. As someone pointed out, it's always with you. And I can very discreetly take pictures. People think I'm texting. I only have the 3G version, but hear the camera on the 3GS is even better (and it does video, though I would spare you on my blog). All the pics easily transport over to my mac when I sync, it's great.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Madison Square Reads - Done for the Summer

I should have posted this sooner, before the series was done!

Madison Square Park in the summer is quite nice (and right near Shake Shack, yum!) and even better if you catch Mad. Sq. Reads on Thursdays.

MB first went back in June to hear Michael Gross and William Cohan discuss "Politics & Power". Each week features a different topic "New York Novels" to "Mystery Night".

I ventured out last week for "Dog Days of Summer" where Bruce Goldstein read from his book "Puppy Chow is Better Than Prozac". What I love about the readers and stories is that there is some element that connects to the city. Bruce was facing depression, pills, a failed relationship, and no hope when he got Ozzie (his black lab). But it all worked out in the end, because his wife and new little girl were in the audience supporting him. It was interesting just to hear him take Ozzie through Chelsea, and places I walk by all the time.

Last night was "Food as Fuel and Memory" with readings from a food critic and a farmer at the Greenmarket. After hearing Tim talk about his peppers...well, I'm going to have to go try them myself now. I had no idea you could grow Thai chilis in Pennsylvania. What I'm going to do with them, I don't know yet. Maybe I'll stick to his tomatoes.

Unfortunately, the series is done for the summer. But I'm a email list addict so added my name for future updates. I have to say that I might not have discovered this, or had the time to go were I fully employed. One of the little discoveries that has made this time fun in a way.

Madison Square Park Conservancy is a not-for-profit group dedicated to keeping MSP a "bright, beautiful and lovely public park." I can't argue with that!


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