Photo by x-eyedblonde via flickrLast year I moved from Kansas to New York. Although at times it feels like I am living in a concrete jungle, there are some wonderful spots to remind me that there is greenery here. Besides Central Park, there are a variety of Greenmarket Farmers Markets throughout the city. At the markets, vendors sell fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, as well as baked goods, jam, and even yarn. The markets I most frequent are at Union Square (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday - All year round) and Morningside Park (Saturdays - June through November). Every Saturday I would wake up and head down to Union Square to get some apple donuts and hot cider and then buy whatever fruit or vegetable suited my fancy. At Union Square it is pretty crowded, but it is still worth going and meeting the people that made, raised, or grew your food. When you go to a farmers market, you know that you are getting the freshest produce and eating in season.
Along with visiting the farmers markets I also decided to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group. Basically, a CSA is a group of individuals who pledge to support a particular farm throughout the season. It is like a subscription; you pay the farm a large sum of money upfront for your share and then each week (usually starting in June through November) you pick up the fruits and vegetables. You never know exactly what or how much you are going to get, it just depends on how the weather is and what is in season. Last year, I was always pleasantly surprised after joining the Garden of Eve Farm CSA. It is amazing the difference a strawberry can taste and feel in your mouth when it is in season and grown near by. Some of the benefits of joining a CSA is the opportunity to eat healthier, help the environment (because most CSA farms farm organically - using no herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers), and support your local economy. For more reasons why you should eat locally, click here. If you are interested in joining a CSA click here to find one near you, the slots are filling up fast. Also, if you are interested in reading more about eating locally Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a wonderful book about her year in eating locally. Michael Pollan also has written some fascinating food-related books called The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.