Thanks to the cool weather, the produce at Union Square looks perky this morning, as hardier lettuces and winter squash replace their delicate summer counterparts. Even late-afternoon visitors will find the stands looking fresh.
What to Look For
Purple-black Concord grapes are a flavor-packed fall phenomenon. Their sweet-tart intensity is easiest to appreciate once the seeds have been separated from the aromatic flesh. Try them in sorbets and geles, or make them into Concord-grape ketchup (recipe) ($5 per quart at Cheerful Cherry Farm, available Friday and Saturday).
Green tomatoes, a short-lived consolation as ripe tomatoes wane, are crunchy and tangy. Coat them in cornmeal, then fry them in a pan ($2 per pound at Keith's Farm, available Wednesday and Saturday).
Newly arrived bunches of decorative corn herald the arrival of autumn, but summer lingers on in yellow-and-white ears of bi-color corn. They're honey sweet and butter rich perfectly balanced for eating on the cob or tossing with other summery foods in a succotash (recipe) ($2 for five at Migliorelli Farm, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
Brussels sprouts have just popped up. They'll get sweeter as the season progresses, but you'll enjoy their fresh flavor and hint of mustard now. High heat renders them nutty and caramelized (recipe: roasted Brussels sprouts with walnuts and Pecorino) ($3 per stalk at Michisk Farm, available Friday. One large stalk yields about a pound of trimmed sprouts).
Victims of seasonal allergies might want to pick up a jar of bee pollen, which homeopaths claim can promote resistance to local allergens. A teaspoon of the mildly sweet, chalky, many-colored nubs is nice in smoothies or sprinkled over a bowl of yogurt and honey ($5.50 per quarter-pound at Tremblay Apiaries, available Friday).
Blink and You'll Miss It
You can't eat it, but the crocuslike colchicum makes a novel centerpiece for your dining table. Even in low light, the naked bulb will produce a bountiful crop of big, purple-accented white blooms in about a week no soil or watering required. They're also likely to sell out in a week, so act fast ($5 per bulb at Burnt Meadow Greenhouses, available Wednesday and Saturday).