Seeing Green at the City’s Farmers’ Markets

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The Bartel-Pritchard Square Greenmarket has been near the 15th Street entrance to Prospect Park for 16 years, giving off the small town vibe of a cozy community.

Photo by: Matthew Perlman

The Bartel-Pritchard Square Greenmarket has been near the 15th Street entrance to Prospect Park for 16 years, giving off the small town vibe of a cozy community.

Greenmarkets in neighborhoods all over town are shifting to a new and cooler season as New York City moves into autumn. At the crack of dawn, when vendors set up their stalls and unpack their goods, the cold is becoming tangible. Shorts and T-shirts make way for long trousers and jackets. Fresh corn, tomatoes and peaches are being replaced with fennel, leeks and apples. It’s a farewell to the lull of summer days and a welcome back to many of the regular customers who were away for all or part of the summer.

Stephen Batiz, an artist who spent the past two summers selling artisanal pickles at the grandfather of all markets on Union Square, confirms that business slows down in summer but usually resumes after Labor Day, especially for the spicy pickles. “People really like the Mean Beans,” he says.

A year after severe storms ruined many small farmers’ late-summer and autumn crops in the New York area, the farmers’ markets are thriving amid an ever-growing appetite for fresh produce. Over a quarter of New York State’s farmers’ markets (138) are in New York City according to a recent state report. In the last six years, 58 new markets have opened, an increase of 73 percent.

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