The City's Greenmarkets turn 30 this week. They've become such an integral part of our culinary landscape, with 45 locations across all five boroughs, that it's hard to imagine that there was a time we didn't have ready access to ramps, heirloom tomatoes, and locally grown berries (and neither did our chefs). According to New York Mag, the Greenmarkets were set up as a way to preserve farmland by lowering the costs involved in wholesaling; by removing the middleman and selling directly to consumers, farmers made more money. And boy, did they make money. As one farmer notes, “Rosemary put my kids in college.” Raisfeld and Patronite go on to profile five Greenmarket purveyors, including the Violet Hill Farm, which provided the pig that Bill Buford took home from the market strapped to his Vespa as described in his book, Heat, to Stokes Farm, which has been a fixture at the Greenmarket since day one.

Particularly helpful is the Union Square Greenmarket map. In theory it could make your Greenmarket visit more efficient, but part of the beauty, for us at least, is walking around slowly, savoring the sights, sounds and smells, and only deciding what to buy in the moment. So much for efficiency.

Ten newest Greenmarket locations
Camera in the Kitchen: Union Square Greenmarket
Lucy's Greenmarket Report

Photo by Youngna Park