Fantastically Fresh: Union Square Greenmarket

Union Sq. Greenmarket - Apples

‘Tis the season for amazingly fresh produce and nothing beats the quality you will find at the Union Square Greenmarket during this time of year (I’m looking at YOU, Wholefoods). The Union Sq. Greenmarket is open every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8AM-6PM and you are guaranteed to find amazing fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, fish, flowers, wine, cider, and so much more. Did I mention that many vendors offer free samples? Yeah…you need to make it to the market pronto.

But don’t just go for the food – it’s the whole shopping experience that makes this greenmarket so memorable. The people watching is fantastic and rubbing elbows with famous chefs while inspecting the seasonal produce and wares definitely heightens the magic. The best part is that you can actually speak with the farmers themselves about how they grow and harvest their produce and learn about the backstory of where your food comes from. You definitely can’t get this kind of information at your friendly neighborhood D’Agostinos.

My favorite time to visit the Union Sq. Greenmarket is bright and early Saturday morning before the crowd hits. The market tends to get pretty busy later in the day so here’s fair warning that you need to be mentally prepared to navigate the farmer tents while making your way through a sea of fellow New Yorkers. But I suppose that’s where the good people watching comes into play.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I paid a visit to the greenmarket this past Saturday and was not disappointed. The sun was shining and the sights and smells of Autumn were in the air. After wandering through the market for a bit, I picked out a spaghetti squash ($2.50) and also sampled some cold ginger cayenne tea ($2.00) along with a carrot raisin cookie ($3.00).

If you live in NYC or are even just passing through for the weekend, I highly recommend making your way to Union Square early Saturday morning and checking out the greenmarket for yourself. You won’t regret it.

Here are a few snapshots from my recent visit:

Union Sq. Greenmarket - Pumpkins and Squash
Seasonal pumpkins and squash ready to be carved up or made into a delicious meal. If only I could cook…
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Radishes
Radishes fresh off the farm.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Purple Grapes
The bees were a-buzz at the greenmarket this past weekend.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Beth's Farm Kitchen Jams
Beth’s Farm Kitchen makes delicious jams and they always offer free samples.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Bee on Jam Jar
Bee heaven.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Breads
Carbs.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Carrots and Parsnips
Carrots and parsnips galore.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - It Takes Two
Sometimes two heads are just better than one when navigating the Union Square Greenmarket.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Green Truck
The Greenmobile.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Indian Corn
Indian corn hanging from a vendor’s stall.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Hay is for Horses
Hey Hay IS for horses!
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Lil Pumpkins
Lil guys just trying to get some sun.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Ginger Cayenne Tea
I sampled all of the different teas before going with a full cup of this ginger cayenne concoction. Although it’s served cold, this stuff had a spicy kick and woke me up straight away. The vendor also let me know it’s a great tea for aiding digestion. I can tell why!
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Pumpkin and Tea
My spicy tea among the pumpkins.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Umbrella
I told you it was a sunny morning! I guess it was just too sunny for some…
Union Square Park
The delightful Union Square Park. A perfect place to picnic and taste-test my greenmarket finds.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Carrot Raisin Cookies
The bright color of these cookies caught my eye. I just had to sample one of these carrot-raisin creations for myself.
Union Sq. Greenmarket - Carrot Raisin Cookie closeup
I got upclose and personal with the carrot raisin cookie. Turns out that it was pretty delicious, but much softer and chewier than your average run-of-the-mill chocolate chip variety.

Let me know if your wanderings lead you to the Union Square Greenmarket and tell me what you think!

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Fantastically Fresh: Union Square Greenmarket

Sweet tooth silencer – Cooper St. Cookies (with love, from Michigan)

So I have to admit, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Ice cream, cookies, cake, chocolate…you name it, I probably crave it.  Unfortunately for me, studies upon studies are showing that sugar is pretty much the worst thing that people can eat for long term health. (If you haven’t read the NY Times article, Is Sugar Toxic?, I highly recommend it. It offers a very eye-opening perspective on the sugary sweet stuff).

Is Sugar Toxic?

While I definitely enjoy the occasional decadent dessert, I’ve been trying to pay a bit more attention to the amount of sugar I consume on a daily basis. It’s now my mission to find ways to have my cake and eat it too – without the accompanying sugar rush.

Here’s my first sweet tooth-silencing discovery: Cooper St. Cookies

Cooper St. Cookies is a small, family-owned company founded in Michigan in 2010 that is rapidly expanding its sales to grocery and health food stores across the nation. After the founder, Max Surnow, graduated from Michigan State University he decided to transition his cookie-making hobby into a full fledged business with help from his mom, Elaine.

Max and Elaine use an old mandel bread recipe that has been in their family for generations and offer a range of flavors including Lemon Poppyseed, Cinnamon Chocolate Chip, Orange Cranberry, Oatmeal Raisin, and Keylime Coconut. The flavors are pretty exciting as far as biscotti-like cookies go and they all taste great. While these cookies look a lot like biscotti, the texture is a bit softer so you don’t have to chip your teeth when biting into one – definitely a plus.

Michigan love

I lived in Michigan for four years for college, and while the state has recently gone through some really tough times, native Michiganders are the nicest, most genuine people that you will ever meet. So not only are these cookies delicious and on the healthier side, but they are homegrown in a great state by great people.

Keylime Coconut Nutrition Facts

Above are the nutrition facts for the Keylime Coconut flavor. At only 110 calories and 8g of sugar, it’s a much better choice to chow down on a serving of these cookies with some coffee than compared to say…a Starbucks cake pop, or something of that nature. (Ok I’ll admit I’ve eaten a Starbucks cake pop before, but it was free so I couldn’t resist!)

Below are some pics from a recent trip to the Amish Market (I think I need to start diversifying my wanderings a bit…) Enjoy!

Cooper St. Cookies
Cooper St. Cookies at the Amish Market in NYC.
Cooper St. Cookies - Oatmeal Raisin
Oatmeal Raisin goodness. Look at that texture!
Cooper St. Cookies - Lemon Poppyseed
Lemon Poppyseed golden perfection.
Cooper St. Cookies - Sam Surnow
Sam Surnow, Max’s brother, reppin’ Cooper St. Cookies in the NYC Amish Market.
Cooper St. Cookies - Keylime Coconut box
After taste-testing a few samples, I decided to take home the Keylime Coconut variety and was not disappointed.
Cooper St. Cookies - Keylime Coconut
Keylime Coconut, fresh out of the box.
Cooper St. Cookies - Keylime Coconut
The cookies pair perfectly with some jasmine mint tea. The consistency of the cookies are hearty enough that if you are compelled to dip them in tea, the cookie doesn’t disintegrate like typical biscotti sometimes does.
Cooper St. Cookies - Keylime Coconut and Jasmine Green Tea
Sweet tooth satisfied.

I highly recommend you check these cookies out if you’re trying to keep your sugar cravings at bay. They’re delicious, low-cal, and the product of a great small business. Let me know what you think!

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

Sweet tooth silencer – Cooper St. Cookies (with love, from Michigan)

TIL: How to seed a pomegranate

Pomegranate seeds up close
Freshly harvested pomegranate seeds.

While the pomegranate is “old news” in the world of superfood marketing, the pinkish red, seedy fruit still packs a nutritious punch in the form of Vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols, and fiber (if you eat the whole seed).

I typically glance at these foreign pink orbs whenever I’m in a supermarket and immediately dismiss them as being way too complicated to eat. However, on a recent grocery trip I decided to stop being lazy and take a chance on the pomegranate, hoping that the ensuing juice, as they say, would be worth the squeeze.

Today I Learned: How to seed a pomegranate

Pomegranate and cutting board
Step 1. Prepmake sure you are wearing clothes you don’t really care about and cover up any pretty white countertops in your kitchen since pomegranate juice stains. Fill a bowl with water so that you can easily separate the seeds (they sink) from the rest of the pomegranate innards (they float). Owning a big knife helps too.
Pomegranate halves
Step 2. Half Timecut the pomegranate at the crown halfway down. Then pry open the fruit the rest of the way with your hands. You can do this over the water bowl just in case any seeds are a bit eager to jump ship.
Pomegranate quarters
Step 3. Four Quarterscut the halves again in the same way, so that you end up with four quarters.
Pomegranate mess
Step 4. De-seed into waterif the fruit is ripe, the seeds should come out easily. Pry the seeds away from the peel and fruit membrane (ew) and let them fall into the bowl of water.
Pomegranate seeds up close
Ripened to perfection.
Separating pomegranate seeds in water
Step 5. SkimAll of the unwanted fruit membrane (ew) will float on top of the water. Skim this out and discard. 
Pomegranate seeds in strainer
Step 6. StrainStrain the remaining pomegranate seeds.
Pomegranate seeds pouring out of strainer
Cascading seeds…almost done!
Pomegranate seeds in hand
Little red rubies ready to eat.
Kristen Henkels pomegranate seeds
Step 7. Enjoy!Not too much work after all and definitely worth it.

 

Forever wandering,

– Kristen

TIL: How to seed a pomegranate

Hungry? My Amish Market food finds.

One of my favorite places in NYC to go grocery shopping is the Amish Market on 45th St. between 2nd & 3rd Ave. While I’m typically a Trader Joe’s girl, the quality and variety of unique, healthy, and specialty foods at the Amish Market can’t be beat.

If you’re curious about the name, some of the products still do come from Amish merchants in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Although I’ve yet to see a horse and buggy around these parts…

Amish Market ApplesThe produce section at the Amish Market is great – fresh, colorful, and varied. Apples are my all-time favorite, either McIntosh or Gala, so I tend to stock up on them when I’m here.

Amish Market CabbageThe strikingly green aloe vera leaves & cabbage caught my eye.

Amish Market Preserves, Jams, and Nut Butters

Every aisle is stocked to the brim with food you didn’t even know existed. Here’s the jam, preserves, and nut butters aisle…

Justin's Maple Almond Butter

I purchased some of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. It’s all-natural so you have to stir it before using, but it tastes divine. Perfect to eat a spoonful with an apple for a pre or post workout snack.

Coconut Water

As much as I try, I still can’t stand the taste of coconut water. Bleh!

Sunflower Bread

These pre-packaged natural breads stood out to me in the bakery nook. I rarely buy bread anymore because it tends to go bad before I can eat it all, so the smaller packaging was perfect. And come on, how could I resist trying bread made of sunflower seeds? In the basket it went.

Sprouted Brown Rice Pilaf

I’m not the most diligent (or skilled) cook. The pre-made food at the Amish Market makes dinner quick and delicious. I decided to try their sprouted brown rice & lentil pilaf and it didn’t disappoint. Apparently sprouted brown rice has greater nutritious “bang-for-your-buck” compared to regularly cooked rice and the nutrients are easier for your body to absorb as well. Tasty and good for me? I’ll take it.

Justin's Maple Almond Butter opened

Taste-testing my Amish Market finds is always the best part.

Sunflower Bread & Almond Butter

Sunflower seed bread + maple almond butter = post run perfection.

Thoroughly satisfied…but still wandering,

– Kristen

Hungry? My Amish Market food finds.