Some people collect 17th century French porcelain; I collect farmers markets. Whatever country I visit, whatever state or town, if there's a farmer's market, it's at the top of my must-see list. Even if I'm staying in a hotel room far from home without a fridge, I find something to purchase. Last week in Dallas TX it was ripe heirloom tomatoes that I could snack on out of hand between symposium sessions.
In late summer in the US every market seems to offer sunflowers, tomatoes and peppers. While I love those, when I travel I seek products that are characteristic of that area, products that I may not see in my NYC Greenmarket.
In Canterbury NH, pop. 2297, the market is under individual tents in Town Center, between the Town Library and the Town Hall. Here I can replenish my stash of Jill's delectable maple sugar candies. The Saturday market in Concord is sited next to the gold-domed State Capitol. It seems like a perfect statement: New Hampshire supports its farmers. We bought sweet corn for dinner and I reinforced the message of the Worm Lady who was trying to convince skeptics that worm composting was easy to do.In Santa Fe NM the market is in the old railroad yards, complete with quintet playing country & western.I saw both hot and sweet peppers roasting in front of a gas flame, in a cage hand-cranked by the farmer, and hot pepper powder in bags large enough to last a week or two.
In Raleigh NC, both yams and peanuts seemed right at home. while kids on a field trip tasted testing the fresh apple cider. Last week in the sheds of the Dallas Farmers market, I was somewhat startled to see a stand that sold only Texas Longhorn beef bones, slow roasted for dogs, advertised at 1/2 the calories of regular beef, 80% less fat, and 30% less cholesterol....What a Wonderful Town
Back in New York City in my favorite market at Union Square I was searching for true NYC flavor. By 8:15 am when I arrived, the chefs in their white coats, trailing disciples with baskets and hand carts, had already departed with their selections.
Then I spied it, the Lower Eastside Ecology Center Compost stand. New Yorkers bring their garbage, dump it in containers; the ecology center makes the compost, then bags it for resale at the market. Garbage! It made me proud to be a New Yorker.