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CITY’s Green Market Guide

Market Analysis
Across the country, paved parking lots are playing host to thriving farmer’s markets. Brooklyn Chef Laurent Saillard helps CITY’s Hannah Morrill navigate a maze of green. PLUS: Where to find your city’s green markets—and when they’re actually open!

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On the right, two women stand behind impeccable rows of asparagus, nursing steaming cups of coffee. The seafood mongers across the way are still unloading their truck, shouting directions, unfolding tables, and lugging bins of ice. The space next to them is conspicuously empty. “Where is my pickle guy?” Laurent Saillard asks, a copy of The New York Times tucked under his arm. “We beat the pickle guy.” It’s a wednesday and Saillard—chef and owner of Brooklyn’s French-American bistro iCi—is making his rounds. He’s excited, scanning the stalls predatorily and walking quickly, and there’s no doubt that the energy here at the Union Square Green Market is contagious, even if it is before 8 a.m. and, unlike the asparagus women, I haven’t had coffee. The food is fresh, the weather’s nice, and there’s something intoxicating about the imminent exchange of money for goods.

Usually I stroll through the farmer’s market, buy a cup of apple cider, and debate over purchasing something unusual—Bright Lights Swiss Chard or Green Zebra tomatoes—before settling on a bag of baby greens. But today Saillard is here to show me how it’s really done.

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1 Bring the essentials.
Saillard has $60 in cash and would have a canvas bag if he hadn’t forgotten it in Fort Greene where he lives with his wife, Catherine, and their two sons. The one thing he always leaves at home? A grocery list. “You never know what will look good from week to week, so I don’t come with my menu planned.” Instead Saillard takes a brisk walk-through before buying anything, making note of new arrivals (dandelion greens, rhubarb) and gathering menu ideas (see Saillard’s recipe for Heirloom Cucumber Salad, page 36).

2 Get there early.
“Farmers are in better moods early,” Saillard laughs. “They got up at 3, 4 in the morning to be here by 8, so they’re not happy at 3 in the afternoon.” Not to mention the produce is fresher and more abundant before being picked over for hours in the sun. Arriving early also allows you to scope out small production items—ramps or sour cherries—that chefs will have swiped-up before the brunch crew rolls out of bed. At this hour there’s a real insider vibe at the market—men in patterned chef pants shaking hands with one another, carrying boxes back to their illegally parked cars. Saillard says hello to many of them. I’ve never been here before noon.

3 Don’t look at prices.
When I’m at the market, my latent barter-system instinct kicks in and I’m suddenly scoping out the carrots that are a dollar less a pound than the first bunch I saw. When I ask Saillard about price he looks confused and then laughs. “I don’t know, I guess it would be interesting to look at price. I never do.” Instead—and this seems obvious—he buys the best-looking stuff. “You’re looking for produce that’s firm, that’s vibrant. Not everything is the same quality,” he explains. And he’s hands-on and methodical in this process—snapping greens between his fingers, smelling potatoes, plucking little bits of chive to taste. Saillard’s also not looking for “organic” signs. “It doesn’t matter organic as much,” he explains (although much of the food here is). “The food here has to be local and it’s natural, so that’s more important.”

4 Talk to the farmers.
“Oh, here is my egg man,” Saillard says, reaching to shake hands as a short, Asian man hustles to finish taping down his pricelist. “Do you still have the blue eggs?” The man nods and pulls a carton from a red cooler in the back, folding it open proudly for me. They’re a gentle blue and irregularly shaped, produced by Araucana chickens (a Chilean variety). They’re also, I notice, not on the tattered pricelist. “See? I never would have know about those unless I talked to the guy,” Saillard explains. Asking questions—ways to cook kale or when the farmer expects to have hot peppers—allows you to understand the food you’re buying. Farmers have more respect for the customer that’s interested and engaged and is thus more likely to share the blue eggs.

5 Buy meat and fish last.
It’s a little before 9 a.m. Saillard has bought dandelion greens, stalks of rosy green rhubard, a quarter-pound of New York State cheese (Saillard serves only American cheese at iCi, which is a great joke for this Frenchman), asparagus, and ramps. I’ve met pickle guy, tasted lacto-fermented dilly beans, and am holding his unread Times. “Now, we buy fish. Always last,” he says. He asks the baseball-capped woman who’s adjusting the scale what’s fresh, what she recommends. She holds up porgy filets—Saillard nods and takes four, “It’s hard to tell with filets. A whole fish, you can tell with the eyes. You just trust. If it’s here, it just came out of the ocean.” Buying fish last assures that you carry around this very fresh product for the absolute least amount of time.

6 Go home quickly.
The market’s busier now, and after digging in his pockets for quarters to buy the porgy, Saillard is out of money and eager to get his food home. “What’s the point of buying beautiful stuff if it’s all wilted?” The food here isn’t treated with preservatives and goes much quicker than vegetables from the grocery store (this one I know from experience). We shake hands and I watch him walk away, struggling a bit with all his bags as he pulls out his MetroCard for the train back to Brooklyn.


4 More Quick Tips:

1 Don’t buy in bulk—that’s why the market is held several
times a week.

2 Don’t buy bread and pastries. Saillard’s kids don’t
even like them. Go to a bakery.

3 If you don’t like it, get it at the grocery store. (He hates
the chicken.)

4 Go to the biggest market in your area, because smaller
markets are more lenient about non-local, non-organic food.


A Fresh Recipe from the Market:

Heirloom Cucumber Salad with Sheep Milk Yogurt & Lemon Verbena
In Season: July & August

INGREDIENTS | Serves 4
2 lemon cucumbers, sliced thin
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced thin
1½ tsp. salt
2 tbs. lemon verbena, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz. sheep milk yogurt
1 tbs. whipping cream
Pepper to taste

Place cucumbers in colander. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand 15 minutes. Rinse cucumbers. Drain on paper towels. Combine lemon verbena and garlic in large bowl. Stir in yogurt and cream. Add cucumber and stir to coat. Season with pepper. Refrigerate until chilled. (Can be prepared 5 hours ahead.)

For more information about Saillard’s restaurant, iCi, click here.


CITY’s National Green Market Guide:

Jump to your city: Atlanta | Boston | Chicago | Dallas | Kansas City, MO | Los Angeles | Las Vegas | Miami | New York | Philadelphia | Portland, OR | Salt Lake City | Seattle | St. Paul, MN | Washington D.C.


Atlanta

Morningside Farmers’ Market,
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Saturdays 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m
Location: 1393 North Highland Ave., in the parking lot across from Alon's Bakery
Interested in a mini-road trip? The Atlanta State Farmers’ Market in Forest Park (16 Forest Parkway Forest Park, GA 30297) has been open every day except Christmas Day since 1959; it’s 150 acres and one of the largest farmers markets in the world.


Boston

Copley Square Farmer’s Market
www.massfarmersmarkets.org
Season: Mid-May to mid-November
When it’s open: Tuesdays and Fridays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Along St. James Ave., in front of Trinity Church
There’s another Beantown market at City Hall, but regardless of where you shop, the goods are certified organic. Also, Boston Public Market Association is trying to create a year-round Boston Public Market that harkens the 18th and 19th century glory days of Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, respectively. Learn more about the cause at www.bostonpublicmarket.org


Chicago

Green City Market
www.chicagogreencitymarket.org
Season: Mid-May through October 31st
When it’s open: Saturdays 7 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
Location: South end of Lincoln Park between 1750 N. Clark and Stockton Drive
The market also provides cooking demonstrations, and educational programs such as “Sprouts for Kids.”


Dallas

Dallas Farmers Market
www.dallasfarmersmarket.org
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Everyday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: 1010 South Pearl Street


Kansas City

City Market
Season: Mid-March through November http://www.kc-citymarket.com
When it’s open: Wednesdays (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Saturdays (6 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and Sundays (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Location: 5th Street and Walnut Street
If you don’t live in KC you can look for other markets at Missouri Farmers’ Market Directory, agebb.missouri.edu/fmktdir/


Los Angeles

Farmers Market
www.farmersmarketla.com
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Monday through Friday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Location: 6333 West 3rd Street
A bit of history: What began as a chalk-lined dirt parking lot at the corner of Third and Fairfax in 1934 has blossomed into a shopping emporium with the premise of a green market—fruit, vegetables, fresh poultry,y and meat—but also eateries and retail from Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts to Mr. Marcel Pain Vin Et Fromage, and Duck Soup to Taschen. Look for statewide markets at www.cafarmersmarkets.org


Las Vegas

When the all-you-can eat buffets become irksome there’s year-round relief Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., www.lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Garden Park Farmers’ Market
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Tuesdays
Location: 10401 Garden Park Drive

Bruce Trent Park Farmers’ Market
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Wednesdays
Location: 1600 N. Rampart Blvd., Bruce Trent Park

Centennial Hills Park Farmers’ Market
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Thursdays
Location: W. Elkhorn Road and N. Buffalo Dr.


Miami

Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market
www.glaserorganicfarms.com
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Saturdays Rain or Shine 10 a.m. until dark
Location: 3300 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove
This market is the oldest in South Florida. The Market and Glaser Organic Farms (where the produce comes from) is only an 18-mile drive away—pretty darn fresh.


New York

Union Square Farmers Market
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: E. 17th Street and Broadway
There are almost as many green markets as subway stations, or magazine stalls for that matter. For all the green market stalls in NYC, go to the home page for the Council on the Environment of New York City at http://www.cenyc.org and click “Greenmarket.” A statewide list can be perused through at www.nyfarmersmarket.com


Philadelphia

The Reading Terminal Market
www.readingterminalmarket.org
Season: Year round
When it’s open: Monday through Saturday (8 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Location: 12th & Arch Streets
It might be helpful to know: It’s existed since William Penn created Philly, and although it’s moved indoors it’s still a self-proclaimed “gastronomic bazaar.” For those interested in heading over to Bird-in-Hand, Penn., there you can peruse the Dutch Country Farmers' Market, www.800padutch.com


Portland, OR

Four markets with four seasons, days, and times.
www.portlandfarmersmarket.org

Portland State University
Season: April through December
When it’s open: Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Downtown South Park Blocks between SW Park Ave. and SW Montgomery Street

Shemanski Park
Season: May through October
When it’s open: Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Between Southwest Park Ave. and SW Main Street

Ecotrust
Season: June through September
When it’s open: Thursdays 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: NW Johnson Street and NW 10th Ave.

Eastbank
Season: May through September
When it’s open: 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: SE Salmon Street and SE 20th Ave.


Salt Lake City

Downtown Farmers Market
www.downtownslc.org
Season: Early June through mid-October
When it’s open: Saturdays 8 a.m. through 1 p.m.
Location: Historic Pioneer Park, 300 South & 300 West


Seattle

Lucky seven from which to choose.
www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org

Broadway
Season: May through November
When it’s open: Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: 10th Ave., East of Broadway, behind the Broadway Bank of America

Columbia City
Season: May through October
When it’s open: Wednesdays 3 to 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia Plaza, 4801 Rainier Ave South at South Edmunds

Lake City
Season: May through October
When it’s open: Thursdays 3 to 7 p.m.
Location: NE 127th Street and 30th Ave. NE, behind the fire station

Magnolia
Season: June through October
When it’s open: Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Magnolia Community Center, 2550 34th Ave. W.

Phinney Ridge
Season: June through September
When it’s open: Fridays 3 to 7 p.m.
Location: 6532 Phinney Ave. N.

University District
Season: Open year round
When it’s open: Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (January to April) and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (May to December)
Location: University Way NE and NE 50th Street, next to University Heights Community Center

West Seattle
Season: Open year round except March
When it’s open: Sundays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (January to February) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (April to December)
Location: California Ave. SW & SW Alaska Street


St. Paul, MN

St. Paul Farmers’ Market
www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com
Season: Late April through early November
When it’s open: Saturdays (6 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Sundays (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Location: 5th Street and Wall Street, downtown St. Paul
St. Paul’s twin sister city, Minneapolis, also has its own set of farmers’ markets. Learn more at www.mplsfarmersmarket.com. For a statewide list, check out the Minnesota Farmers’ Markets Association at www.mfma.org


Washington, D.C.

Farm Fresh Markets: Six locales scattered in Chesapeake Bay

Dupont Circle
Season: Open year round
When it’s open: Sundays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (January – March) and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (April – December)
Location: In the 1500 block of 20th St., between Massachusetts Avenue and Q Street, in the parking lot adjacent to PNC Bank

Foggy Bottom
Season: Early April to mid-November
When it’s open: Wednesdays 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: I Street between New Hampshire and 24th Street, NW

H Street
Season: Early May to Late October
When it’s open: Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon
Location: 624 H Street N.E., in the parking lot across from the H Street Self Storage

Penn Quarter
Season: April to mid-November
When it’s open: Thursdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: North end of 8th St. NW, between D and E Streets NW

St. Micheals, MD
Season: Late April to Late October
When it’s open: Saturdays 8.30 a.m. to noon
Location: Muskrat Park on the St. Michaels Harbor, at Willow and Green Streets

Silver Spring, MD
Season: May to late October
When it’s open: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Ellsworth Drive, between Fenton and Cedar Streets

—COMPILED BY MANIEZHEH FIROUZI

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