This goes for Outerboroughs too, but I've been wondering about everyone's experiences with the prices of produce, now that the season is in full swing. I picked up a quart of sour cherries and put them back down when I realized that it was 8 dollars. This was at Union Square, and I always feel like my money dissappears quicker there than at the Williamsburg or Brooklyn Court House markets.
Am I just being a cheapscate?
What is everyones best and worst buys?
I hear you. The $4.85 organic english cucumber sitting in my crisper (also from Union Square) better be the best one I ever ate in my life! But I suppose it's just the cost of growing local.
As in everything else its what the traffic can bear. Since the Union Square Greenmarket became trendy and chef-intensive the farmers have been more aggressive in seeking a return.
I just want to report back that on Sunday at the Tompkins Square market I found the same quantity of sour cherries, one quart, for 3 dollars, as opposed to the $8 at Union Square on Sat.
As a general rule, I avoid U.Square and the hyped up prices. I know farmers have to make money, but we all have to save money too.
generally i find the prices pretty high there, but on saturday there was a fellow selling dollar bags of produce - zucchini, yellow squash, onions, cauliflower, etc etc. also, i don't think that the eggs are a bad deal - $3 for a dozen extra large free range.
There are always bargains at greenmarkets...
You just have to look and be flexible!
This week, I got a huge bunch of organic basil for $1.5, robust organic zucchinis for $1.5 a pound, and 2 bunches of organic kale (that were so large they were more like 3 'typical' bunches they sell at supermarkets) for $5.
I know those measurements are very vague but it's 5 in the morning so I'm sleepy...
Anyhow, there are always discounts too especially at the end of the day. I've seen $1 bags of 3 pounds worth of produce (e.g. conventional zucchinis, peppers).
Thompson Square is targeting a different market so it's definately cheaper. Less convenient and varied though. But great...once they gave me 20 'slightly bruised' peaches for FREE!
I rarely get to other greenmarkets so I can't compare prices among them (but I'd be surprised if there's a huge difference if you allow for the variation most sellers charge based on days/traffic patterns). But anyway, while food prices have gone up noticeably in the past couple of years, I haven't seen dramatic changes at the greenmarkets. IMX most prices are competitive or lower than other sellers of similar quality produce. That being said, there have always been some sellers that either carry unusual things are have beeen successful enough marketers to sell things at a significant premium. (I've never gotten that, but each to their own.)
One thing you must always do is give a quick look around before you start buying. I saw those $8 cherries (which didn't even look very good) and wondered what they were thinking, since everyone else was selling them for $5-6/ quart. Since none of the sellers properly fills up their baskets, it works out to about $4 pound, which has been par this year. At least the sour cherries have been good - I've not been impressed at all with the similarly priced sweet cherries, though they still have a little while to go and may get better.
Myself, I've been amazed at the NJ blueberries that have been selling for $4/pint. They aren't especially good, and everyone else is selling the same NJ blueberries for $1.50-2.50 pint. I appreciate the "mom & pop" aspect of greenmarkets (though it's mostly BS), but not at 100% price premium for equal quality produce from the same area...
All that being said, I think the yuppy factor is highest at the Union Sq market (though probably no higher than Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn), so some sellers probably do take advantage of that as they seem to generally in urban greenmarket situations...