By Susie R. Spodek

Finally, Spring is here! Enjoy the Season at a Greenmarket!

There are more than 50 GrowNYC Greenmarkets located throughout all five boroughs of New York City. At these farmers’ markets, farmers sell produce grown on their farms situated within a few hours of New York City. Some farms are even right here in the city itself!

As the days get longer, the ground thaws, leaves bud and flowers bloom. You can feel all of this happening in the Greenmarkets. Week by week, a greater variety of produce appears.  The first spring vegetables are leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula.  Root vegetables like potatoes, beets, and carrots are also still available, and bring color to our plates.  Hardy herbs like parsley, rosemary, and cilantro add spring flavors.  And, of course, the increasing variety of beautiful potted and cut flowers signals that spring has arrived!

Greenmarkets are wonderful places to explore new tastes and flavors.  Try vegetables you’ve never eaten before– perhaps ramps, rhubarb or garlic scapes.  Or, maybe try a familiar vegetable that looks a little unusual, such as a pink potato or a purple carrot.  How about seasoning your food with an unusual herb, like tricolor sage? Or, you can flavor your water with fresh sprigs of spearmint or lemon balm.

If you see a vegetable you don’t recognize, ask the farmer all about it–especially how to prepare it.  Often, you can sample vegetables before making a purchase.  Don’t hesitate to ask!

Then, there are those favorites that taste especially delicious when picked fresh.  Who can resist red, juicy strawberries picked just before they are brought to market?  How about fresh spears of asparagus or sweet peas?

Also, take advantage of the newly expanded Health Bucks program, now year-round!  If you shop with EBT/SNAP, you will receive a $2 Health Bucks voucher for fruits and vegetables, free of charge, for every $5 you spend on food at the Greenmarket. Spend $10 and you’ll get $4 for free!

Did you know that EBT/SNAP can also be used to purchase plants that grow food?  You can use EBT/SNAP to buy tomato plants, potted herbs, and anything else that might grow food in your garden or home!

So, this spring, visit a Greenmarket– where the countryside meets the city, bringing fresh tastes of the farm to you.

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