Fresh from the Farm

There's nothing I love more than summer in the city, and no better way to spend a sunny summer's day in New York than at one of the city's bustling farmers' markets. I hopped on the subway the other day for the Union Square Greenmarket and spent an hour browsing the more than 140 stalls from local producers.

No artificial coloring here!

The market exudes freshness and life. There are the sights -- rich colors only found in the freshest fruits and vegetables, the sounds -- one stall's vendors whipped out a ukulele and began harmonizing to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and my personal favorite, the smells. Oh, the smells. If you close your eyes and take a deep breath you might actually start to imagine you're right there on the farm, ready to pick your next meal right out of the ground.

I came home laden with goodies, of course. Cranberry-pecan sourdough bread, zucchinis, squash, goat cheese ravioli, fresh organic yogurt, and even a tomato plant for my window. All of it delicious, local, and even cheap! All of the farmers and vendors at the Greenmarket are incredibly friendly and eager to show off their produce or answer any of your questions. I got great advice on starting my own home garden from the guys at the plant stand!

A five-minute, two-dollar dish full of farmers' market ingredients: Zucchini & Squash sauteed with Olive Oil and Onions

That night I cooked dinner for four. I avoided mass-produced and processed ingredients altogether and the outcome was a filling meal that was just as healthy as it was delicious (if I may say so myself!)

The Union Square Greenmarket is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8am-6pm, but the joy of farmers' markets is by no means limited to New Yorkers! Check out the Simple Steps Farmers' Market Finder to locate fresh, local produce in your area! You can also use the Eat Local page to see what's in season as well and find original recipes using fresh, local ingredients!

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