Canadian goose, snowbirds, and raw foodists have sunnier climes in mind, but cooks ready to roast, simmer, and stew need look no further than Union Square.
What to Look For
Crisp goldrush apples are a refreshing, sweet-tart snack, as well as a highly flavorful option for pies. Refrigerated, these sunset-hued apples will retain their firm texture and citruslike zing for weeks or even months ($2 per pound at Locust Grove, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Burdock is a slender, tan-skinned root you most often find in Japanese restaurants, braised with carrots, soy, and sesame seeds (recipe). Scrub rather than peel the roots to retain more of their mild, earthy sweetness, and soak briefly in vinegar and water for a cleaner, less muddy, flavor before you braise or stir-fry ($3.50 per bunch at D'Attolico's Organic Farm, available Saturday).
John Gorzynski has been organically cultivating heirloom shallot-cress seeds for twelve years, and he finally has a large enough crop to bring to market. The delicate clusters of saw-toothed leaves have a slightly peppery, deeply onion-y flavor. They make a savory addition to salads; when gently wilted in hot oil, they're an excellent match for mild-flavored fish ($24 per pound at Gorzynski, available Saturday).
Pale-orange sweet potatoes have attained a perfect density. Their flesh has a pumpkin-pie smell and roasts up sticky and rich. Offset that candied flavor with a savory dressing (recipe), or mash them for pies or biscuits ($1.50 per pound at Van Houten, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
David Bouley introduced farmer Rick Bishop to crosnes in the nineties, but these white tubers, shaped like thimble-size minarets, are still undeservedly obscure. Toss them into salads raw and they're like a crunchy cross between mild radishes and sweet jcama, or slowly brown them in butter or duck fat for a creamy, nutty side dish along the lines of potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes ($14 per pound at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Blink and You'll Miss It
Broccoli is at its zenith, with dense heads, crunchy stalks, and a light, lingering flavor. This includes the pale green, geodesic variety broccoli romanesco. It's slightly more tender than regular broccoli and has the added appeal of fractal-like sci-fi looks. It also has a shorter season (recipe) ($4.50 per head at Van Houten, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).