Shopping the Farmers Market: Why Blog

After years of frequenting the farmers markets in NYC, but only buying a few supplemental ingredients here or there, I decided to be experimental and work dishes around what is in season or looks particularly mouthwatering at the market that day. Green seems to be the buzz word these days from NYC to the White House, and the eat local movement is in full swing. My attempt here is to buy as many ingredients as possible from a the farmers market, and then occasionally supplement with locally produced ingredients from chain markets around the city. Most of the recipes I post (except for the baking recipes) are either things I created myself, or variations on recipes I've found elsewhere. I hope that you take the recipes and shopping tips here and they inspire you to do your own local cooking.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Morning Muffins

When I was first out of college I worked at an ad agency in San Francisco. One of the other women who worked there gave me a recipe for muffins that I adored. I made them all the time, and they were always a crowd pleaser, but somewhere in one of my many moves over the next 3 years I lost the recipe. For years I've been searching for a recipe to replace the lost one, but nothing would ever measure up...that is until now. My last roommate's friend sent her a cupcake book for Christmas, "500 Cupcakes." I don't love cupcakes, but it has a large section on both sweet and savory muffins. I've made the basic fruit muffin recipe a number of times, and it never disappoints.

So yesterday when I went to the Grand Army Plaza farmers market, I had muffins on my mind. My brother was bringing his wife and child for an impromptu visit, and he requested muffins upon arrival. I hit the market early so there would be a good selection of fruit to choose from. I like to mix more than one fruit in my muffins. I think if you have multiple fruits with more than one level of sweetness and juiciness level, it creates a nice contrast.

Upon arrival, I realized right away that one of the ingredients would be peaches. They were all over the market in different varieties: Yellow peaches, white peaches, nectarines. I chose local Jersey tree-ripened peaches, which were a good deal at $2.80/lb.

I had a harder time choosing my complimentary fruit. There wasn't a lot of variety at the market. Strawberry season is clearly over. There was really only a choice between raspberries or blueberries, and at $4.00/half pint they were pretty expensive. If this weren't a farmers market blog I might have considered using frozen raspberries which I always have in my freezer for smoothies. They're much cheaper, and are often just as good as fresh berries. If you do come across fresh fruit that you like and want to save some for later (like the peaches), you can cut some up and put them in air tight freezer bags. They'll stay good for months, and you can pull them out any time to make fresh fruit muffins mid-winter.

I ended up picking the raspberries and was off, but not before spotting some Jersey corn at $.75/ear that I ate for dinner last night.

I purchased the following:

At the Farmers Market
1/2 pint of raspberries
2 Jersey tree-ripened peaches
2 ears of corn (not for the muffins)

Super Market Ingredients
1 lemon (we're not in California or Florida, so there was a definite lack of citrus as the market)

Supplemental Ingredients I Had at Home
Vanilla Extract
Sweet Cream Butter
Baking Powder

Recipe: Raspberry Peach Muffins (from "500 Cupcakes" by Fergal Connolly)
1/2 cup of superfine sugar
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 TBSP of baking powder
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup of milk
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of raspberries
1 cup of chopped peaches

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray muffin pan with non-stick spray

In medium bowl mix flour, sugar, lemon zest, and baking powder. In a large bowl beat the eggs, butter, milk, and vanilla with an electric mixer for a minute. I have an electric mixer that I really like, and I feel like it's a good investment, but if you don't have one you can use a wire whisk for a couple of minutes. Pour in the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is almost completely mixed in, but not quite. Fold in the fruit and mix until it's incorporated. Spoon the batter into the cups. The recipe says to bake the muffins for 20 minutes, but this depends on the oven. I baked mine for 18 and they were golden brown, but still moist. Let sit for 5 minutes after pulling them out of the oven, then move them to a cooling rack.

I guarantee that most people will love them...except my 1 1/2 year old niece who picked the peaches out and fed the rest to the pigeons. Happy baking.


  1. Those look awesome!! I'm gonna have to try baking them.

  2. I am so glad you're doing this. I am a farmer's market convert since coming to CA and I just joined a CSA.

  3. You know, I feel a degree of kinship with you. It's like I know you and you know my secret desire for fresh, inexpensive (and above all, bountiful) food! You should come back to the Union Sqaure one, there's a guy that does only rabbit and duck. And, in Fort Greene, there's an amazing fishmonger. The fish is really good too.