Purple Carrots? Brown Tomatoes? White Eggplant?
It’s almost goodbye to New York’s long, hot summer. Well, it’s not that hot and it’s not that long but one really does get to enjoy New York’s carousel of colors and sights in the hot sultry month of August, slowly cooling in September.
One favorite ritual is a visit to the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan where some truths I learned in Kindergarten are finally getting a hammering. Carrots are orange. Well not true always – carrots are now also yellow and purple – and rainbow colored! Eggplant is purple – but now it can also be silvery white! Tomatoes aren’t always red – they can be brown and yellow and all shades in-between, thanks to the many innovations in horticulture. You get to see a barrage of color at this farmer’s market and many old favorites in unexpected new clothes!
As the GrowNYC.org site describes it, ” The world-famous Union Square Greenmarket began with just a few farmers in 1976, has grown exponentially; in peak season 140 regional farmers, fishers, and bakers sell their products to a dedicated legion of city dwellers. As Greenmarket’s flagship market, the seasonal bounty is unparalleled, with hundreds of varieties to choose from during any given season. From just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables, to heritage meats and award-winning farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, a profusion of cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup and much more.”
Besides a good haul of fresh veggies for dinner, you can also find so many small eats, drinks, summer delights like Italian ices. I grabbed a mango-flavored lemonade from a vendor at a nearby street fair before I jumped back into the innards of the subway, laden with my small treasures, including some sizzling hot peppers.
The market has so many flavors, colors and varieties of hot stuff that even the Devil’s ears would fume with the heat! The names are unpronounceable but pepper lovers understand the heat! We took home some Padrón peppers, char-grilled them with a little olive oil, till blistered. We ate them with a sprinkling of sea salt and lime. As the recipe in Epicurious predicted, “Eating Padrón or Shishito peppers is a bit like playing Russian roulette. Most are mild, but every now and then you’ll bite into a wickedly hot one.” We did – and enjoyed every moment of it!
Just one of the cheap, almost free joys of summer in Manhattan…so enjoy the caress of the long hot summer before it sizzles and then fizzles away.
Photos (C) Lavina Melwani