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Aug 18, 2008 01:11 PM

Favorite Vendors at Union Square Farmer's Market

Several of mine:

Three Corners Farm - Shushan Snow Cheese and lamb
Vendor that sells a large variety of potatoes - right now, tiny new potatoes
Quattro Farm - duck, pheasant, etc., eggs as well
Berkshire Berries - Golden Raspberry jam, strawberry jam, horseradish jam, pepper jellies
Flying Pigs Farm - bacon, pork
Cato Corner Farm - cheese
Mushroom vendor

What are your favorites?

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  1. Keith for sungolds, and Stokes for herbs -- the only source I found for laksa leaves.
    Both sell tomato seconds at reduced prices.
    For cost peak season buys I come at the end of the day and get bagged items at very much lower rates.

    6 Replies
    1. re: wew

      What time is end of the day?

      1. re: howboy

        Sorry for the delay in answering. I come 4:00 - 4:30, and shop for a while, walk, then wait until bags start being put on the table and folks start to dismantle the stalls. I also ask the vendors when a if they will have reduced items for sale. By 6:00 or 6:30 latest I leave. It is a wonderful way to send time.

      2. re: wew

        Thanks for the tip! I usually forget to go up on the second/upper level, and went into Keith's. Got some nice green tomatoes for $2/lb. Also saw some tomato seconds for cheap. He also has an adorable selection of herbs and many mints in "the mint box."

        1. re: kathryn


          I am new to the area and went to the market for the first time this past weekend. You said in your email that you forget to go up on the second/upper level. Where are the second and upper levels? I must have missed something.

          1. re: judibender

            There is currently no upper level. During construction last year, some vendors were banished to the slightly elevated plaza at the southern end of the park.

            1. re: meatme

              Yes -- now everybody is back on the north and west ends of the park, they used to be on the south side. There is no longer an upper/elevated level.

      3. Windfall Farms for lettuce, when I'm feeling flush. Mignorelli for lettuce, when I'm not. And the Blue Moon fish guys! Their skate is awesome.

        1. Keith for just about everything, but especially that garlic. Yuno on Mondays and Fridays has some nice unusual varieties. Berried Treasures for tristar strawberries. I'm also really enjoying the pecorino and caciotta from Dancing Ewe (Fridays). I haven't tried their ricotta yet, but I bet it's great.

          3 Replies
          1. re: scrittrice

            Berried Treasures has my favorite strawberries in the entire market. Recently she's had good beans and herbs, too. Had some great fava beans earlier this year. She's at Union Square Wednesdays and Fridays, and on the UWS at Columbus and 77th on weekends, I think.

            Yuno's is very good too. You can usually tell where they are because they're cooking samples in front of the crowds. Just follow your nose! Picked up some nice squash blossoms recently, and pimientos de Padron earlier this week.

            1. re: kathryn

              Stopped into the Union Square Greenmarket around 9:30am and Berried Treasures was there! The nice fellow told me they were trying out Saturdays for a little while but would probably go back to just Wed/Fri after a while. They had some great looking Sungold (orange) cherry tomatoes, romano beans, and of course, their famous Tristar strawberries. They're in between Berkshire Berries and Our Daily Bread, and across form Keith's Farm. Look for the minivan and the big Fresh Strawberries signs.

              1. re: kathryn

                They aren't there on Saturdays any more, but Mountain Sweet Berry still has strawberries surprisingly. They are selling quick (sold out by 11ish last weekend) so best to get there early. The Greenmarket is slightly less crowded now that it's no longer summer, which is nice, BTW.

          2. OK I have been going to the USQ market for like 15 years, so I have a lotta favorites. These are all Saturday vendors, as I am not able to go very often during the week anymore.

            Violet Hill: eggs, lamb, sometimes mutton, pork, bacon, guinea hen, belle rouge chickens, sausage
            Rick Bishop (potato guy mentioned by MMR): potatoes, shell beans like favas & cranberries. he should have fresh flageolets now, which are killer. ramps in the spring, crosnes later in autumn. tristar strawberries
            Windfall farms: all greens, excellent squash blossoms, edible flowers, baby pea shoots, excellent spinach in spring and fall.
            Jim Grillo (tiny stand next to Violet Hill on Saturday mornings only): rabbit, sometimes wild boar, quail eggs, duck eggs, all kinds of Italian heirloom vegetables, like various chicories, cardoons, swiss chard. He also has EXCELLENT tomatoes, but they have not appeared yet. sometimes he brings in wild mushrooms too.
            Goat lady (don't know her name???): Fresh kid meat, goat yogurt, some of the cheeses
            Eckerton Hill: Heirloom tomatoes, best selection of fresh chilies. awesome, spicy radishes in the spring
            Gorzynski Farm: All greens, especially unusual things like fava bean leaves. Great mustard greens and lettuces. Also great radishes.
            Paffenroth: Various beets, French breakfast radishes, onions. Their potatoes are good, but not as good as Rick bishop's. Same goes for greens, their kale and stuff is not quite as tasty as some of the other vendors. But the prices are always great and they are really nice people. In the fall they have a great selection of squashes and root vegetables.They also have a bunch of unusual vegetables like nettles, burdock root, kohlrabi.
            Our Daily Bread for bread if I don't bake my own.
            Franca (don't remember the name of her farm, she is down at the end now, but on the steps, near Keith) for tristar strawberries, haricots verts (best in the market) and shell beans
            Keith's organic: best garlic in the market, best shallots. all his greens are very, very good. excellent potatoes.
            Norwich organic: best eggplant in the market, also best cukes. nice melon. she had some charentais melon last week. pretty good tomatoes too. they have fava beans in the spring also. nice carrots. she had some crazy good black raspberries a few weeks ago.
            Cato Corner: cow milk cheese
            There is a dairy on the west side of the market that sells very tasty sheep milk cheeses. (no meats)
            In the fall there is a vendor who sells very good grapes, like 8 different varieties.
            Blew Family Farm: good selection of chilies, pretty good tomatoes. they have had some good peaches. Lots of squash in the fall.
            Locust Grove: good apples in the fall (like 20 varieties), quinces, often they have good cherries
            Terhune: usually good peaches, but I have been disappointed this summer. in the spring they have a little bit of asparagus which is insanely good and insanely expensive.

            IMO most of the baked goods like pastries and pies are crap. Some of the vendors who sell that stuff use some sketchy ingredients.

            13 Replies
            1. re: laguera

              Mountain Sweet Berry Farm is Rick Bishop's farm, BTW. He incredibly knowledgeable and sweet, I highly recommend his stuff.

              Eckerton is also amazing. They're M, W, Sat, and have a beautiful selection of heirloom tomatoes right now. Picked up some gorgeous Sungolds yesterday.

              Franca is probably Berried Treasures farm, but I thought they weren't there on Saturdays? Never seen them there on the weekends.

              1. re: kathryn

                I think Franca is also Mountain Sweet--I think she and Rick take turns. Love their stuff, too.

                1. re: scrittrice

                  I'm not so sure about this because I saw Mountain Sweet *and* Berried Treasures at the market today. And their strawberries looked slightly different. Mountain Sweet's were redder and pointier. Berried Treasures were less red and rounder.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I always get them confused, or rather, I always conflate them into one farm. They both have great stuff. Possibly I'm picturing the wrong person/people. Mountain Sweet (I'm pretty sure it's them!) also has these amazing Golden Nugget potatoes. Have you tried those? They have an intensely potato-y taste and are about the size of a thumbnail. Expensive, but worth it. I live very close to US, so I usually go 4 days a week, and I have a hard time remembering which days people are there, except I know Ronnybrook Farms is only Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Keith's, too.

                    1. re: scrittrice

                      Here's a photo of Franca of Berried Treasures:

                      Here's a photo of Rick of Mountain Sweet (of amazing potato fame):

                      Mountain Sweet is indeed known for their potatoes (and ramps!) which is kind of funny, considering their name.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Yes, that's who I was picturing, just confusing/conflating the farms. I love their ramps, too!

                        Aren't we lucky to have such amazing stuff to choose from? It's a great luxury. The berries this year seem to be/have been particularly great. I'm always astounded when I meet people who have NEVER BEEN to any of the Greenmarkets. It's such a big part of my weekly routine.

                    2. re: kathryn

                      Mountain Sweet and Berried Treasure are DEFINITELY not the same place. and both of them have TriStars in season.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Apparently Rick (Mountain Sweet) and Franca (Berried Treasures) used to be married, that's why people get confused. :)

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Wow, so much Greenmarket drama. And I had one vendor tell me not to buy from another vendor, because they were "shady." This was a very puzzling and unasked for suggestion. (vendors will go unnamed.)

                          1. re: windycity

                            There's one vendor of meat I won't buy from because he knocks the other farmers right and left. 8(

                          2. re: kathryn

                            That's it! I once said something to him about his "sister" (I think they kind of look alike), and Rick said, "Nah, she's my ex-wife." That must be why.

                            I just ate a big bowl of wild blueberries, tri-star strawberries, and black raspberries that I got from Berried Treasures yesterday--heaven.

                  2. re: laguera

                    Mountain Sweet Berry (Rick Bishop's farm) has crosnes now, as well as those flageolets beans now (pre-shelled, good for stews).

                    Eckerton has beautiful bunches of red and green Santaka peppers, as well as baby bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes still, and their usual amazing selection of hot peppers.

                    The grape vendor is back too: Buzzard Crest Vineyards. Good seeded Concords, Niagara.

                    1. re: laguera

                      The name Iaquera forgot is Elly Hushhour of Patches of Star Dairy is at Union Square M, W, F & Saturday; Elly Hushhour sells goat meat in addition to goat yogurt, goat cheeses, goat milk ice cream, etc. You can call her in advance with your order for goat meat(s) or cheeses. Patches of Star Dairy is based in Nazareth, PA

                    2. Cato Corner - we limit ourselves to no more than two 1/4 pound chunks - usually Vivace & Bloomsfield, but sometimes fromage du cow, and drunken hooligan.
                      Keith's Organic/Norwich/Yuno for our veggies
                      Knoll crest for eggs/bacon/poultry
                      We then usually rotate (depending on what we want/need) between: berkshire - for their preserves; maxwells for root vegetables; the hydroponic stand when we're dying for fresh arugula/ tomatoes in the offseason and willing to pay a little more (okay a lot more). DW loves the sheep milk cheeses, so we stop there from time to time (in lieu of cato).

                      I have to agree about the baked goods, not worth the time or $$. We usually stop into garden of eden on the way home for a baguette.