Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sensual Carrots in the Big Apple

I'm still a bit shell-shocked from my recent train travels and from being led around New York City like a confused goat by my beer-drinking friends, so I can't really claim a full-on WV: New York City Edition at this point.

However, I did want to share with you what looks to be the prime candidate for Weird Vegetables' favorite New York farm stand: Windfall Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket near NYU. After slurping on some plums and doughnut peaches that were not quite as sweet as the offerings of Blossom Bluff and others back home and quietly grumbling over high prices for medium quality produce (but what do I know about what goes into New York produce? I'm just a West Coast bumpkin), my eye was caught by the strange vegetable denizens lying nonchalantly on the Windfall tables. The marker-drawn "sensual carrots" sign, plus their tagline "Unconventionally Grown Specialty Produce" further confirmed my sense that for these kindred spirits, weird is a good thing.

I learned from the Windfall man that sensual carrots like these are a result of rocky soil, as at their Montgomery, NY farm (in upstate New York's fertile Hudson Valley), so that each one contorts itself into these formations to accommodate its mineral companions. Kind of romantic, no?

Apparently the majority of New Yorkers haven't caught on that weird carrots are creatures to be highly coveted, so that Windfall feels the need to market the non-sensual orange-and-yellow Quasimodos at a discount (right), dropping them from $6/lb to $4/lb to $3/lb, which is what I'm used to paying for normal farmers' market carrots anyway.

The farm also has some very interesting sprout offerings, including sugary corn shoots grown from popcorn kernels...

...and purple radish sango sprouts, whose color comes from anthocyanin, the same antioxidant found in blueberries.

I also sampled the world's cutest baby cucumbers, these eye-poppingly tart Mexican sour gherkins, about the size of my thumbnail.

The "Try Me!" sign for the purple peppers below seemed suspiciously eager, especially since they were decidedly not sample size, though I did consider taking a bite out of one. I refrained for fear that "Try Me!" really meant, "Take me home for $6/lb!".

Not to be outdone by the outdoor market's weird vegetables, the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market hall was hawking Ugli Fruit for $0.99/lb, eagerly snatched up into the greedy squirrel clutches of my friend Gabrielle:

Satiated with food for the time being, we scurried out of there onto the recently renovated High Line promenade, a former elevated railway passage where graceful, weedy wild flowers and grasses now fill in the gaps between railroad ties, and stained-glass renderings of the Hudson River's hues give an ethereal feel to the brick factory buildings that the park walk runs through.

1 comment:

Travis White said...

I want to eat popcorn spouts so bad.