Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reds and Greens

For those of you who've been reading this column over the course of its brief life, you know how much of a fan I am of the Union Square Greenmarket - and of the NYC Greenmarkets in general. After having lived in Italy for several years, I really came to appreciate the seasonality of food. When I returned to the States many years ago, after my time in Europe, I knew that I just couldn't go back to the way I ate before I'd left.

Although sometimes it can be difficult, I still try to keep my food intake in line with the seasons. I also try in this blog to stick to recipes where the ingredients are reflective of the time of year. Not being an expert in food production, it can be a minefield just trying to sift through all the information behind what we should be eating when in order to get the most nutritional benefits out of our diets. I know that I definitely am not perfect in this regard.

The tomato-salmonella scare of this year, along with the spinach one of a couple of years ago, about which I'd also blogged, just reinforce some of the other news that we've been hearing in the food press. Food miles, carbon footprints, knowing the source of your ingredients: those are components of the things we're asked to consider these days when shopping for our weekly meals. If you haven't managed to pick up The United States of Arugula, I highly recommend it. It brings up some of the issues behind our current food policy dilemmas.


The truth of the matter is that, aside from hydroponic tomatoes, of which there were some for sale yesterday at Union Square, or greenhouse ones, which are also sold there sometimes, fresh tomatoes aren't even in season yet. We've just become so used to things being available when and where we want it, that, in my opinion, we've sort of lost sight of the fact that everything really does have a season. Now, with this latest food scare and the increase in prices for everyday goods, it seems like more questions are being raised about from where our food has been coming.

Maybe it's the fear that there will be nothing left to eat. I really don't think that is the case. Here's my photos of what was at the market yesterday to prove that there's so much else out there that is in season and tastes great. I got there too late in the day to get any of the last-of-the-season rhubarb (no loss) or any asparagus (drat), but there were lots of other things that I did find:

Piles of white-tipped French radishes and round red ones

Look at these lovely sugar snap peas - no shelling required!

Several varieties of chard to cook up

Garlic scapes - something new to learn to use

Freshly-grown lettuces just waiting to be made into salads

Oh, yeah, did I mention, it's now strawberry season - look at these!

Buon appetito!

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