An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

September 10, 2010

Union Square Farmers Market

On our last day in New York we took the subway to Union Square. Emerging from that dark and sometimes dreary underworld directly onto a bright summer day full of color and life is an experience I have a hard time putting into words. The Union Square Farmers Market is perhaps the city's most famous and is the flagship of a program designed to promote regional farmers and producers. As someone who likes to eat as much as he likes to garden, I was amazed at what was being offered, including more than a few things I did not recognize. Besides fruits and vegetables, there were also cut flowers, potted plants, fresh bread, jams, jellies, preserves, herbs and lots of opportunities for people watching, and of course photography. The market operates several times a week and at peak season has about 140 vendors. It was the most diverse farmers market I have ever been to, and it must be welcome and therapeutic to many a New Yorker.

Carrots and Beets



Currents are Great (2)

Rose Bouquet


Petals in a Box (3)

(Although my brain is still racked with indecision, I have decided that the photo below of carrots and squash will be my entry in this month's Picture This contest at Gardening Gone Wild. I am not sure why I chose this one over another, but it likely has something to do with the light.)

Carrots and Squash

Chairs and Yarn


Heirloom Tomatoes  (3)

Red Tongs (2)

Sunflower Bouquet

Bouquets (2)

The day we were there, Park Ave. was closed to vehicles, and the walkers, joggers, bikers and skaters were enjoying the traffic-free street. It made me long for a bike and caused a locally dramatic drop in the city's ever present noise level, but added to the green peace of Union Square (I could almost here the waterfall mural).

Park Ave

Park Ave (2)

If you would like to see the rest of my set, you can do so by visiting my Flickr page.


  1. Thanks for the great photos. Wish I knew what those tiny watermelon-like things are.

  2. Hiya Les,

    What an explosion of colour.
    The word 'gobsmacked' can be trotted out again.
    That was an eyeful for you on the day, as it is for us now.
    So glad I didn't have to choose a picture as they are all fantastic. But the one you picked has that quirky edge. Good luck.

  3. wow. you certainly did justice to it all...and I love your photo choice! good luck.

  4. Were you in my garden, Les? That's pretty much how gorgeous all of my flowers and veggies were this year. LOL

    Love the yarn/chairs shot and especially the red tongs on green.

  5. Love these vivid images of color and contrast... reminiscent of European marketplace. Is that tiny watermelon a creeping cucumber?

  6. Rene,
    The little fruits are Mouse Melons or Mexican Cucumber.

    "Gobsmacked" is one of my favorite English English words.

    Thank you!

    No these were not from your garden, but if looks like that I would love to see it in person.

    It was a very special place. Read my response to Rene about the tiny melons.


  7. Les,
    Coincidentally, I work in the red brick building just visible at the far right of the next to last photo, on the fifth floor overlooking Park Ave. Also shop at the Union Sq. green market every week. You photos are extraordinary, as usual. The market is beautiful, but you make me see it in a new way.

  8. Gosh, yes
    What a treat!
    Your photos are amazing and lovely.
    I'm lucky enough to go to Union Square at least twice a week and I am never at a loss for fruit and veggies to marvel at.


  9. You should enter one of these for this month's GGW contest. Picking one would be difficult because they are all fantastic. Do you use a tripod when you are shooting in busy areas? They are so sharp. I get lots of blurry images when I hand hold the camera.

  10. oops, sorry I missed the paragraph where you already mentioned the contest!

  11. A few things:
    Amazing photographs. I particularly like the rhubarb shot!
    I like the Union Square Greenmarket but it is sometimes the opposite of therapeutic -- such crowds!
    Have you considered producing a "coffee table" book?

  12. As a recent vegetarian I love this type of farmers markets. It's great that such a large city as NYC also counts with its own market. Your photos are great, especially the one with the baskets full of various types of vegetables and fruits. It looks so tasty and healthy! Those green fruits/vegetable I've never seen or heard of before here in Europe. Great post Les!

  13. Les, it surely is an incredible city and to be there with the noise turned down several notches must have been a delight. Good luck with the contest~your photos are outstanding as always! gail

  14. Love that waterfall mural, and your carrot pic is right on. I think I see James Golden waving in from a window. No. He's threatening to drop a plant if Les doesn't buy him some veg.

  15. I love how you captured all the great displays. They were set up so beautifully by color and texture. :)

  16. This is a great market Les and your photos are stunning! All of them ... you are like an abstract painter... lush colors and veggies. Wonderful way to see a market I have known but never seen in this way. Brava! Good luck with the contest! ;>)

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Long ago, I lived on East 13th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. I loved the Union Square Farmer's Market so much. I have never found another one as wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  18. James,
    I hope to post some photos soon of another place you know well.

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. You are lucky to be able to frequent this market.

    When I am shooting on the go, I do not use the tripod and did not at Union Square.

    No coffee table books in the works. I think what the rhubarb is actually Swiss chard. The crowds were not too bad, which surprised me.

    Thanks for stopping by. There were many things unfamiliar to me as well.

    The toned down noise was a little eerie, but still pleasant.

    Nothing fell on my head, plant of otherwise.

    I had nothing to do with the set up. There was so much color and texture that the photos practically took themselves.

    Thank you for the kind comments.

    You are quite welcome.


  19. The roses in your photo are just divine! And the mouse melons, too!

  20. what eye candy! your photos are superb. do you ever teach photography? how about an online course for garden bloggers (hint, hint)? and that market! wow. what a treat that must have been.

  21. Fabulous photography Les!
    How did you choose which one to enter with so many great fall looking shots?...Good luck in the GGW competition.

  22. Oh those carrots look so good! Good luck with the photo competition. That's where I can across your blog.

  23. I love the mouse melon picture! And I'm glad you ID'd the fruit for us. I've never seen those before. Great pics, Les.

  24. LMOC,
    Thanks for stopping by.

    No classes in my future, sorry.

    I had to consult with my wife to pick. She has a good eye.

    I never knew carrots came in so many colors.

    I am surprised you have not come across Mouse Melon in Austin, being a lot closer to Mexico than NYC.


  25. Wow, incredible photos. I'm very jealous of the location and your eye!

  26. WooHoo! (The crowd goes wild) Congratulations on the Silver Les! Well Done.