Report from the Other Coast: Part II

This is the second installation of my ‘eating my way through New York’ report.

Market 2: Brooklyn, Borough Hall

Saturday morning found us in Brooklyn, faced with the possibility of cooking dinner for 6. We found the nearest market, thanks to Greenmarket’s nifty map, and walked down to see what was fresh. I convinced my companions to do the market my preferred way: survey the entirety in one swift pass and then dive in! The choices were abundant:tomatoes, greens, herbs galore, beans, carrots, and so much more. Since there was too much to choose from, we decided to have it all and do a vegetable pasta. We picked up some cherry tomatoes, a zucchini, an eggplant (yes!), cippollini onions (yes, yes!!), and the world’s largest bouquet of basil. (We also bought some arugula but even in water, it was wilted past usable by dinnertime, due to the heat.) I couldn’t resist a few heads of fresh garlic and committed to making a focaccia bread. (Who chooses to turn the oven on during a 90°+ day? People who love bread, that’s who!)

And…joy of joys! There was homemade cheese! Our plans for a picnic lunch instantly formalized, and the people at Valley Shepard Creamery. generously plied us with samples, allowing us to pick just the right cheese. It all tasted absolutely amazing. You can tell that these people care about their cheese. We finally decided on some gouda and cheddar to accompany the peaches and white plums that we found at the opposite stand. I picked out some of their parmiggiano and the Jersey Fresh Mixte, which is a mozzarella-like cheese. I cubed this firmer cheese and tossed it with the pasta. It leaned towards mozzarella, but with a saltier and tastier bite. I wish I had bought more!

After our purchases were made, I took a moment to look around the market and consider a big difference between the markets that I have visited on each coast. Here, in New York, it was hard to find signs that told you the name and location of the farm, and proud signs declaring various levels of organic status were conspicuously absent. In fact the closest thing that I spotted was a sign that, under growing practices, listed, “We try not to spray.” This seems to be the biggest difference between the NY markets and the West Coast markets. The prices were lower, but the organic produce was definitely absent.

However, we all thoroughly enjoyed the two meals that we sourced from the Brooklyn market, where these heat-resistant farmers set up right outside the subway station.

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