Let's be honest: January can be a tough month for farmers' markets in New York. Farmers must brave icy roads just to get to the city, and once there, have to find ways to keep their goods from freezing. Shoppers contend with walking through harsh wind and snow. But even though some days, not every vendor makes it to the market, there are still plenty of reasons to come out and support the ones who do. Here's what's unusual and interesting for the month of January.
"Peter Wilcox" potatoes: Nobody knows who this Peter Wilcox character is, but his spuds are mighty fine roasted. Available from Windfall Farms. Try them with Ina Garten's foolproof garlic roasted potatoes recipe for an easy weeknight side.
Kohlrabi: This strange-looking root vegetable is in the same family as Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Peel away its two layers of skin to reveal a crisp white interior with clean flavor similar to a mild radish, like the thick section of daikon. It can be shaved raw into salads, roasted, steamed, puréed into soup, shredded into fritters, and even baked into a savory pie, like this Greek-style kohlrabi pie with dill and feta on The New York Times.
Black salsify: Some people will swear that this root tastes just like oysters, but flavors of artichoke and parsnip are probably what most people will experience. Available from Paffenroth Gardens. Try them with The Kitchn's buttery salsify purée with horseradish recipe.
Words can only say so much, though. Be sure to check out the pretty pictures in the slideshow, and then most importantly, get out there and shop, because there's just so much more than could reasonably fit into this little story.
The Union Square Greenmarket is in operation Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., with a different set of vendors each day. To avoid wasting a subway ride, check Grow NYC's website for the day's vendor list and weather-related and holiday closures before going.