To Market, To Market
As of last week, summer has officially drawn to a close (commence weeping).
When I reminisce about summer, one of the things I appreciate the most is the reappearance of farmers’ markets offering fresh, locally grown produce at affordable prices. I have to admit, I never visited farmers’ markets when I was a law student at Yale, mostly because my diet consisted of (1) sandwiches from the dining hall, (2) frozen dinners, (3) free food from all of the journal/student organization/just-an-excuse-for-free-food meetings at the law school, and (4) food at The Table left over from said meetings. [Law Tip of the Day: If you want to sound like an attorney, just start using phrases like “said ______ ,” “on or about,” and “pursuant to."] But as I’ve spent more time over the last few years learning and practicing the fabulous art of cooking, I’ve gained quite an appreciation for beautiful, fresh produce. Luckily, there are a variety of farmers’ markets within walking distance of the law school, and now that I’m back in New Haven, I certainly intend to make the most of them.
The closest market to the Sterling Law Building is just next door at the Beinecke Plaza, site of the architecturally stunning Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Beineckeis one of the great gems of the university (and probably worthy of its own blog post, so I won’t go into great detail about it here). From mid-June to late-August, Yale Dining hosts the “Uncommon Market” in front of Commons, one of Yale University’s student dining halls. The market is held on Fridays from 12pm to 1:30pm and offers – to the Yale community only – produce grown in and around New England, as well as a variety of baked goods.
I stopped by the market during my lunch hour and was pleased to see a vibrant selection of fresh fruit (think peaches, plums, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries) and vegetables (including baby bok choy, broccoli, eggplant, beets, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet corn, and carnival cauliflower) along with an assortment of breads, pastries, and lemonade. Eager to get my shopping on, I grabbed a basket and quickly filled it with ripe nectarines (3 for $1), a bag of plump cherries ($3.50), crisp green beans ($1.50 for a 1lb bag), and some yellow squash (2 for $1). The best find of the day was a gigantic bunch of fragrant basil that only cost $1 – perfect for a big batch ofhomemade pesto!
For an even greater selection of products, check out the CitySeed Farmers’ Market in historic Wooster Square. It’s a producer-only market featuring only locally (i.e., Connecticut) grown and sourced products, many of which are USDA certified organic. I headed down to the market on a Saturday morning, and even with my short legs, it only took about ten minutes to walk there from the New Haven Green. I was greeted by two long rows of tents selling everything from basic fruits and vegetables, to more exotic varieties – like kohlrabi – that I’ve only seen on Chopped, to fantastic cuts of beef, veal, lamb, and goat, to artisan cheeses, to sweet and savory pies, and even natural soaps and dog/cat treats.
At CitySeed, you can find familiar products – like apples, carrots, milk, sourdough bread, maple syrup, and even live lobsters (though by 10am they were sold out) – but you can also find ingredients you may never have used before – like marrow bones, offal, green zebra tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, gooseberries, and purslane. (Perfect for when your small group decides to hold its own Chopped competition!) If you’re looking for ideas on what to do with your produce, stop by the Fig Cooking School tentfor a cooking demonstration. When I stopped by, they were demonstrating a creamy corn chowder using some of the fresh sweet corn available at the market. If you’re not much of a cook, choose from a variety of prepared foods, including mushroom-spinach-goat-cheese quiche, shepherd’s pie, focaccia pizza bread, and curried red lentil soup, or order a black bean chipotle burger with pesto from the GMonkey food truck. A number of gluten free and vegan options are also available at the market.
The Wooster market runs on Saturdays, beginning at 9am and ending at 1pm, from May to December, so you can still take advantage of it when you return to New Haven from your summer in West Africa or at the Department of Justice or Wachtell. Vendors accept both cash and credit/debit as well as food stamps. CitySeed also holds a smaller market in downtown New Haven (about a ten-minute walk from the law school) on Wednesdays from June to November, and several other markets in the greater New Haven area.
So if you happen to find yourself (gasp!) without a free-food law school event to attend in the early summer or late fall, pick up some ingredients at one of the many farmers’ markets right at your fingertips and remember the advice of Julia Child: “You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.”