The season for farmer’s markets, like the growing season, is way too short in Iowa. I do realize that it lasts from May to October, and that’s six months, and that’s half the year.
But that’s half the year in real-people time. Normal people say six months is six months. In Iowa, as I’ve learned, the part from May to October lasts approximately a month, and the part from January to March takes 10 months. As for the rest, you do the math.
So that’s why it never seems like there’s enough farmer’s market to go around. But in New York City? New York City, which is only a degree of latitude south of Iowa City, has year-round farmer’s markets.
I got to visit the Union Square Greenmarket, one of the city’s meccas of fresh produce, while there on a recent visit. New Yorkers picked over mustard greens and multi-colored carrots, an incredible array of winter squash, and pots of flowers that didn’t look anywhere near hardy enough to make it through a Nor’easter.
“Have you tried purple or orange cauliflower?” I asked my friend Alex. “Because it’s awesome if you roast it. It holds the color, and believe me, even if you don’t like cauliflower, you will love the roasted version.”
Alex had not tried such a thing, but she gamely selected what she declared was the best head of orange cauliflower in the market. There’s no reason to say, “I told you so,” but she loved the roasted version, and made more the next night to eat throughout the week. The stuff’s addictive, folks…what can I say?
Along with the cauliflower, our dinner provisions included hard cider from the greater New York region, lamb sausage from a farmer also selling brightly-colored skeins of wool, and spinach from yet another farmer. We came, we saw, we bought ourselves a feast.
I bought a watermelon radish for Alex and I to share over dinner. She sliced it, and I looked on, amazed, because they really do look like seedless watermelons on the inside, folks. I just might have to grow some next year.