From the overpoweringly fragrant cantaloupes to the increasingly colorful tomatoes and peppers, everything at the market sells itself these days — the vendors just try to keep up. But on the northwest corner of Union Square, you can enjoy some old-fashioned salesmanship: With his dapper suits and British-Australian accent, Joe Ades has been perfecting his patter for fifteen years, slicing carrots into strips with the imported Star peeler and offering to sell the very one he’s using to guarantee there’s no scam.
What to Look For
Simpson lettuce is one of the most refreshing salad options out there. Pale green, with curled edges and a long, crunchy spine, it deserves gentle treatment. Toss the sweet, water-crisp leaves with a light vinaigrette or fold one into an egg-salad sandwich ($1 per head at Paffenroth, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Rice-pudding production at Ronnybrook was down while the store revamped, but the treat is back. If you haven’t tried this good-as-ice-cream delectable, now’s the time: We’ve yet to encounter a creamier, plumper-grained, more perfectly vanilla and cinnamon-kissed rendition ($3.50 per half-pint at Ronnybrook, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Doughnut peaches are about the size and shape of an apricot — that’s been sat on. The pink fruits are a highly perfumed variety of white peach with a concentrated taste of honey. The wee pits allow for a surprising amount of fruit in this small package ($5 per pound at Locust Grove, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Nardello peppers look fiery, but these long, slim peppers are no hotter than a typical bell. Red and green, with tiny seeds and thin, crunchy flesh, they are incredibly sweet and flavorful, perfect grilled or sautéed to serve on toast (add crab if you want to get fancy) ($3 per pound at Eckerton, available Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday).
This Just In
Okra is most tender and tasty when picked small. Get your gumbo on with the early harvest, which is just appearing ($4 per pound at Cherry Lane, available Wednesday and Saturday). —Zoe Singer