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Overwhelmed by Union Sq greenmarket. Recommendations?

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I was just at the Union Sq greenmarket and saw plenty of lovely produce, but got a little overwhelmed by all the different vendors. Abundant and beautiful tomatoes everywhere I turned not to mention the produce I've never seen before?

Besides checking Lucy's Greenmarket report, does anyone have general recommendations for great vendors and what you never fail to get at Union Sq?

Many thanks.

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  1. It all depends, of course, on what you need, but I know that the market often makes my list go right out of my head--particularly this time of year--it's huge and amazing.
    I recommend Paffenroth (not sure of the spelling) for veggies, particularly potatoes and onions and squash. Gorzinsky has cool harder to find roots. Deep Mountain has the best maple in the universe--they are the ones from Vermont, don't go to the other guy, not as good. Beth's Farm Kitchen makes fantastic jams, and she got me into chutney--does great sweet and spicy ones. Ted Blu--north side of the park, not sure of the name of his farm--has great stuff, pancake mix and peppers and all kinds of fresh herb plants, but also he has High Hopes Hogs--great bacon and sausages.
    You can't go wrong with Ronnybrook's milk, and there are several farms up from the Amish country with great fresh goat cheeses.
    There is so much more, but those are my primary recommendations.
    Oh, the farmers from New Jersey are awesome--might be called Cherry Hill, something like that--not Cheerful Cherry, but located near them, west side of the park only on Saturdays--anyway, they have great selection, and the best tomatoes, but are only around in the spring through early fall.
    Have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: KP_4532

      Ted Blew's farm is Oak Grove Plantation/High Hope Hogs. He has the green and white striped tents.

      I agree with KP, and here are some additional recs: Mountain Berry Farm has amazing specialty produce and the best potatoes on the planet.
      Phillips Farm for berries and fab preserves (taste like your grandma would make if she were a great jam maker!)
      Flying Pig Farm has organic liver sausage!
      Berried Treasure has amazing strawberries.
      Terhune for the best apples. A little more expensive, but worth it!
      Quattro for the best chickens, ducks eggs, and farm made pheasant sausage! They also make great soups!
      Hawthorne Valley Farms for amazing cookies, breads and biodynamic meats and produce. I get all my beef there.
      Tonje's for great fresh cheese.
      Northshire Farms have amazing produce, as well, and also RABBITS!

    2. I love Cato Corner cheeses - Especially the Hooligan and one other cheese that starts with a "R" that I'm drawing a blank on the name. The womanchego is also good. I also like Coach Farms goat cheeses, especially the aged peppercorn cheese and the marinated goat cheeses.

      Ted Blew Farms is located on the north side of the park, essentially across the street from Barnes and Noble and theyhave the best hot peppers of all the vendors.

      Flying Pig Farms has some great sausages and other cuts of pork.

      As far as actual vegetables and produce, I just kind of wander around and see whats interesting and looks good. If you dont know what something is or how to use it, just ask either the vendors or even people shopping, you never know what will work.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ESNY

        Theres a nice lady who sells goat cheese that is very good and very reasonable [I believe the same mentioned in previous post].

        Ricks Pickles.

        1. re: DoctortedNYC

          Rick's Pick's lines at the annual Pickle Festival on Orchard Street this weekend were insane. It's good that he has been at Union square Market for awhile now. I was happy to buy Grey Mouse Farm's rasberry chipotle sauce there . . .I wish they were at US Greenmarket.

      2. I was just at the market myself this morning; it's always best to get there before 11am to avoid the crowds. What was running through my mind as I shopped was that there is about a week left before the first frost and soon all of the green leafy stuff will be gone! Lots of apples and I'm noticing other signs of fall creeping in. The posters before me pretty much nailed it, But here's my two-cents: I like to walk around once before I start buying to see who has the best version of whatever veg or fruit is in season. I always swing by Cato Corner and Lynhaven for Cheese. Other than that, just browse, look, smell - all of the vendors there are great. I have a recipe on my blog for a simple fruit crumble if you are interested: www.mariefromage.com The market is a treasure, enjoy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MarieFromage

          The hearty leafy greens like kale and collards actually taste better after the frost. They get sweeter.

        2. I was just there this morning - around 11:15 - later than usual. I can understand what you mean about being overwhelmed, especially when it is crowded. These are the places I usually go to these days:

          1. Berkshire Berries - NE corner - Berry Golden Raspberry Jam is out of this world, also like the fig jam and the green pepper jelly. Bought some horseradish jelly today on the advice of another poster.

          2. For the last several weeks I've been buying sheep's milk cheese from 3-Corner Field Farm - I've bought the Shushan Snow several times, which is a mold-ripened cheese, as well as one similar to a tomme. Also bought ground lamb there that I used this week to make kofte. (www.dairysheepfarm.com) She's on the north side of the square, about in the middle usually.

          3. I often buy poultry - lately duck, though today also some chicken/pistachio/apple sausages from Quattro's Poultry and Wild Game, which is on the north side of the square, on the southside of the "walkway" if that makes sense. I like to buy eggs from them as well.

          4. There is a small produce vendor on the west side (east of the walkway), towards the NW corner, who has a number of varieties of tiny potatoes, including some yellow fingerlings (akin to some variety in Lyons?) that I bought today. I've also been buying from them wild baby leeks, wild Italian arugula (rughatta?), green beans and zucchini flowers - got all of those today. Today I bought some delicious pears from a vendor just north of them.

          5. Other produce - I'm not sure of the names , but I've been buying tomatoes and other produce from certain vendors on the north side.

          6. Today I bought mushrooms for the first time from the mushroom vendor - northside, south of walkway.

          7. Roses from the woman at the NW corner - they are wrapped in tissue paper, if that helps. I buy the shorter ones for $10 a dozen - the ones I bought last Saturday are just now on their last legs.

          8. Baked goods - here's a link to recs from another poster - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44105... - I was in a rush this morning and didn't remember to note the ones he recommends. I ended up with a zucchini bread muffin from Windy Maples Farms for a late breakfast - not particularly tasty. Next week I'll seek out his/her recommendations.

          We've also bought some potted herbs there and they are now happily growing on the roof
          of the bay window outside our living room window! The fish at the fishmonger looks wonderful, but the lines are always quite long, so I've not tried them yet.

          We've now been going every Saturday morning for about six weeks, and I'm just starting to develop favorites, and actually noticing the names of the vendors etc. It really has been fun though, and is particularly nice when you get there early - we go after my husband plays tennis in LIC and that varies - best is when we can be there around 9am.

          Edit - I found this link that has links to websites of some of the vendors:

          http://www.cenyc.org/site/

          This harvest schedule is also useful - http://www.cenyc.org/site/pages/GMKT/...

          1. Been going for years. Mrs. GG recently roasted some red peppers that were amazing and is going to make a red pepper sauce with the rest. I've gorged on heirloom tomatoes. Just finished a carton of blueberries, white peaches,and seedless miniature grapes. Mrs. GG also just did a frisee (from the market at $1 a head!) and lardons salad made with the truthfully advertised "damn good bacon." Had white and yellow corn on the cob. Olive bread, Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels, jumbo brown eggs, gorgeous miniature roses. Cato Corner Hooligan or Despearado or Bloomsbury or Womanchego are all cheeses that would make any Frenchman jealous, an herbed Lynhaven goat cheese, pheasant sausage, whole pheasants instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, Ronnybrook chocolate milk (egg nog at Christmas), apples of 15 varieties, pears, rocambole garlic ("best in the universe"), basil, rosemary and thyme, honey made from locally raised rooftop bees, maple syrup, lemon squares, grape juice, apple cider, apple donuts, Flying Pig -everything porky, pumpkins for Halloween. Wreaths for Xmas, chrysanthamums for fall- couldn't live without the Union Square Greenmarket. Who needs Whole Foods?

            8 Replies
            1. re: guttergourmet

              Interestingly I just got "burned" at the USG. Mrs. GG and I bought some farmers' pork and apple sausages from Flying Pigs which were delicious and a bunch of pimientos de padron from the pepper guy across the way from Flying Pigs. I had never seen them at the Market before and we were very excited. Mrs. GG blistered them perfectly and sprinkled with coarse salt. They were delicious and I knew that 1 in 10 are supposed to pack heat but ALL of these were extremely hot. I can take the heat (if you can't get outta the kitchen) but I'm wondering if maybe they were picked too late. I believe the younger peppers are supposed to be used in the traditional tapas dish. Anybody try them from Union Square?

              1. re: guttergourmet

                Nope - but thanks for your (and others') rec for Flying Pig - picked up some wonderful bacon today, as well as a huge chicken, and saw that beautiful leaf lard. Also, I asked if they ever have slab bacon, and was told that if I email ahead of time, they'll bring me a slab. Saw fresh guinea hen at one vendor but wasn't quite ready to figure out what to do with it!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Ask Paul. He'll tell you how to handle the guine hen.

                  1. re: jasmurph

                    Thanks - is he at Flying Pigs? I don't think that's where I saw the guinea hen. I had some Flying Pigs bacon for breakfast and I think it is possibly the best bacon I've ever had. I'm going to defrost that chicken for dinner tomorrow (they didn't have any fresh ones left).

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      It's Violet Hill Farm that has guinea hens. The basic idea is that they suffer form the classic poultry problem--the legs need much longer to cook than the breast. My answer is to take off the thighs and legs and cook them seperately from the breast.

                      1. re: jasmurph

                        Thanks - I'll read up before the weekend about cooking them!

              2. re: guttergourmet

                I buy my piemientos de padron from the Asian lady on the north side of the market near Barnes & Noble (sorry, can't remember the name - something like Yukie or something?). Excellent and rarely hot.