NEW YORK CITY — The city’s greenmarkets are now offering some sweet deals.
With spring fully in bloom, strawberries and rhubarb — which go perfectly together in desserts — are making their way to the stalls. Jeanne Hodesh, spokeswoman for GrowNYC, spoke to DNAinfo New York about these fruits and other fresh local produce that are at their prime right now.
Head to the market armed with Hodesh's tips on how best to shop at your local greenmarket: Get there early to avail yourself of the widest selection and best quality produce. Don't be afraid to ask a farmer for a taste of an item you might not be familiar with. Also, get the lay of the land first.
“Do a tour of the whole market first before you plunk your money down and buy any one thing,” Hodesh said. “If you’re looking for something like strawberries, you might want to compare between different vendors. They might have different prices, different growing practices.”
Hodesh also recommended seeking out the information tent. There, she said, market managers can tell you about what’s fresh and even offer recipes that incorporate some of the less-common produce.
Here's a list of what's fresh this week at the market:
Strawberries — The city’s greenmarkets welcome farmers within a 200-mile radius of the city. South Jersey farms are the first to produce strawberries this season, with farms in the Hudson Valley producing strawberries toward the end of May.
“People might want to keep their eyes peeled for Tristar strawberries,” Hodesh said. “That’s a specific variety of strawberry. They’re a little bit smaller than other varieties of strawberries. They’re very sweet. They’ll come in late May, early June.”
Rhubarb — Rhubarb from Southern New Jersey is also appearing in the market now.
“It’s always exciting when rhubarb gets to the market, and strawberries at the same time, since they go so well together in desserts,” Hodesh said.
Sorrel — “Sorrel is a really sour, almost lemony green,” Hodesh explained. “You can chop it up and put it in salads, but also you can treat it like spinach. It goes on omelettes, but you can also steam it and wilt it and have it alongside your dinner.”
Asparagus — Asparagus is one of the very first spring veggies. It’s still in season and tasting delicious now. “Asparagus I’ve just been sauteeing and eating plain for dinner most nights,” Hodesh said.
Edible Flowers — These flowers make a vibrant addition to any meal.
“I saw some wild violet blossoms the other day that you might just put on a salad, but they have a very particular delicate flavor," Hodesh said.
Stinging Nettles — Farm-to-table chefs love this prickly, indigenous plant that farmers forage rather than plant as a crop.
"Nettle soup is a really popular item that you’ll see," Hodesh said. "It’s on menus all over the city right now."