Skip your trip to the Asian food store and instead go to the Hastings Farmers’ Market (Hastings Library parking lot, 7 Maple Ave; Saturdays 8:30 am – 1:30 pm) where Little Seed Gardens (Chatham, NY) has organically grown pea shoots, baby ginger, and spicy Asian greens. With these far-out ingredients, concoct a Far East-inspired salad. For a tasty vinaigrette, whisk together grated baby ginger, sesame oil, honey, and rice wine vinegar with some sliced scallion. Toss with the pea shoots and spicy Asian greens.
Family-owned J&A Farm (Goshen, NY) offers “giant” snow peas and Red Russian kale at the Pleasantville Farmers’ Market (just outside the Metro-North station, across from 42 Memorial Plz; Saturdays 8:30 am – 1 pm). The large snow peas are simply delicious as a raw snack—even for children; sweet like candy, but healthy all around. The heirloom variety kale is a special treat. It’s best cooked by lightly sautéing with olive oil, garlic, and some cherry tomatoes.
The Mexican herb epazote has found its way to the New Rochelle Farmers’ Market (Library Green, Lawton St and Huguenot; Fridays, 8 am – 3 pm) by way of Acevedo’s Farm (Middletown, NY). This herb is traditionally used in soups and quesadillas, and offers a light anise and cilantro flavor. Use sparingly, as the perfume is potent. Sandwich epazote between two tortillas with a mixture of Jack cheese and queso fresco.
The chioggia beet, an Italian variety, shows beautiful red and white stripes when sliced thin. Migliorelli Farm (Tivoli, NY) offers the baby version of this sweet root vegetable at the Larchmont Farmers’ Market (Metro-North parking lot Deck 3 off Chatsworth Ave; Saturdays, 8:30 am – 1 pm). If you’re up for a culinary challenge, light all-natural charcoals and nestle the unpeeled beets in the ashes. Let the beets cook for about a half-hour. Peel away skin to reveal a smoky-and-sweet center. Slice up for a salad.
At the Muscoot Farmers’ Market (51 Route 100, Katonah; Sundays 10 am – 3 pm), find Healthway Farm (Highland, NY) with bushels of cherries, an under-acknowledged super-fruit. They are packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and 19 times more vitamin A than blueberries. For homemade kirsch, infuse one bottle of brandy with one cup of cherries and a half cup of sugar. Let stand in a sterilized glass container for one month in refrigerator.