Year-round farmy goodness

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.

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14 Responses to “Year-round farmy goodness”


  1. 1 Ginni December 8, 2007 at 4:06 am

    It’s amazing the neat blogs I discover in my wee-hour-wanderings! I found your blog in a link from a friend of a friend’s blog! I garden, but mostly I grow roses.

    I live in the Illinois Quad Cities, a mere 50 or so miles from Ia. City! I can so relate to your short growing season comments! I felt a kind of sadness in early Nov. as I drove by the spot where my favorite farmer’s markets sells their wonderful stuff from May thru Oct., realizing that there’s a long winter standing between me and all those jewels of goodness.

    I did have one rose from the garden on my table on Dec. 1st tho!

    BTW, how DO you roast a cauliflower?? I’d love to try it!

    Nice to meet you Genie. I’m Ginni!

  2. 2 in2l December 8, 2007 at 8:37 am

    I second Ginni’s comments. I found you from Jenny Litchfield’s blogroll. I also would love to hear how you roast cauliflower. Love the stuff steamed.

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener December 8, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Ginni, thanks for stopping by — glad to hear there’s another fellow garden blogger nearby!

    in2l, I’m glad you found me, too! I’ll definitely post something about roasted cauliflower shortly — two requests, as far as I’m concerned, warrants a post!

  4. 4 NC Heather December 8, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Ahhhh New York. Just like the best place on earth. And it is the best place on earth for the very reason stated in your post. You can get pretty much anything your heart desires, any time of the day, any day of the year. I don’t know if I could ever live in NYC, but man I love to visit.

    My favorite food things about NYC – Little Italy, cupcake stores, Dylan’s Candy Bar, NY pizza by the slice, the roasted nuts sold on the street, and the thousands of fabulous restaurants.

    Sorry, I know your blog was about produce, but I could not resist a NYC cuisine tangent.

  5. 5 inadvertentgardener December 8, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    NC Heather, you’re so right…there’s much to love about the eatin’ in NYC. I don’t think I could live there either (OK, I probably could if someone twisted my arm…), but I love visiting it, too. Any NYC-related tangents are most welcome, any day!

  6. 6 sognatrice December 9, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Roasted cauliflower sounds so good, but I’ve never seen the purple or orange versions here in southern Italy. Would the boring old white work too?

  7. 7 xrisfg December 9, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I loathe cauliflower. I don’t call it a vegetable; I call it a blight. But I would try growing something like what you describe, just to experiment.

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener December 9, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Sognatrice, the regular white stuff works great, too!

    xrisfg, if prepared properly, I definitely don’t think cauliflower is a blight. But if prepared wrong, it’s awfully bland — I wholeheartedly agree!

  9. 9 wayne December 10, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Since my gardens at school and home are done for, I have been going to a local farm market, but they are closing on the 22nd. woe is me.

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener December 13, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Wayne, when does your market reopen?


  1. 1 Year-round farmy goodness, the photo essay « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on December 8, 2007 at 1:24 pm
  2. 2 Roasted cauliflower « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on December 16, 2007 at 12:19 am
  3. 3 Roasted cauliflower « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on December 16, 2007 at 12:22 am
  4. 4 Year-round farmy goodness, the photo essay – The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on February 5, 2009 at 2:04 am

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