Market Day

by Michael Tucker
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turkey-guy.jpgOn Sundays, we stroll over to the farmers’ market along Columbus Avenue. It starts around the Museum of Natural History and meanders south a few blocks. The farmers set their stalls up on the sidewalk with their trucks parked along the avenue behind them.

It’s nice. All the healthy people are out shopping. I thought I’d pick up something fresh and farmy for dinner – maybe some turkey burgers from the turkey guy, some greens from the greens guy, some mushrooms from the mushroom guy – that kind of thing. Guy, by the way, being an all-encompassing term meaning human.

There are girl guys at the market, as well. The greens person had some bins on the table filled with various micro-greens that looked, frankly, fantastic. I asked for a taste of the sunflower and he fished out a single little sprout with his tongs and dropped it in my hand – delicious, as fresh as spring, succulent and sassy. I stuffed a couple of handfuls into a bag and a couple handfuls of the micro-buckwheat into another and handed them to the guy to weigh.

“That’ll be twenty-seven dollars.”

turkey-guy.jpgOn Sundays, we stroll over to the farmers’ market along Columbus Avenue. It starts around the Museum of Natural History and meanders south a few blocks. The farmers set their stalls up on the sidewalk with their trucks parked along the avenue behind them.

It’s nice. All the healthy people are out shopping. I thought I’d pick up something fresh and farmy for dinner – maybe some turkey burgers from the turkey guy, some greens from the greens guy, some mushrooms from the mushroom guy – that kind of thing. Guy, by the way, being an all-encompassing term meaning human.

There are girl guys at the market, as well. The greens person had some bins on the table filled with various micro-greens that looked, frankly, fantastic. I asked for a taste of the sunflower and he fished out a single little sprout with his tongs and dropped it in my hand – delicious, as fresh as spring, succulent and sassy. I stuffed a couple of handfuls into a bag and a couple handfuls of the micro-buckwheat into another and handed them to the guy to weigh.

“That’ll be twenty-seven dollars.”

the-fixins.jpg“Excuse me?”

He then pointed to the sign, which clearly stated that the sunflower is $8.00/1/4 lb.; the micro-buckwheat $12.00/1/4 lb. So a couple handfuls of each into a bag and I’m into a second mortgage on my apartment. Farmer-fresh food is for millionaires and that’s a damned shame. The very people who could get the most out of it – young people, kids with growing bodies and bones – can’t even sniff it.

I’m talking about in the city, of course. I’m sure it’s better in the country, where people with a patch of land can grow their own stuff. Or they can forage wild greens along the side of the road. In Umbria – in the countryside — the greens are growing along the side of the road and anybody can pick them – as long as you’re wearing an old black dress. It seems you can’t pick greens in Italy unless you’re wearing an old black dress.

the-burger.jpgWhere was I? Turkey patties; shitaki mushrooms; my million-dollar greens and some bread from the bread guy – Moroccan smesmes bread (I think that’s the spelling) – it’s like pita, but greasier. It looked fantastic.

For dinner, I quickly sautéed the shitake caps, and salted them; then I fried up the turkey patties while the smesmes bread was warming in the toaster oven; then I slathered some Dijon over each patty, layered the mushrooms on top and then slide the mushroomy, mustardy patty into the warm pocket of the bread; then I stuffed in a big handful of the micro-greens to fill the pocket.

Great turkey burgers – and they only cost about what I would pay for the chef’s tasting menu at Per Se.

 

Michael Tucker is an actor and author whose third book is the recently published Family Meals: Coming Together to Care for an Aging Parent.  You can read more about his food adventures on his blog Notes from a Culinary Wasteland. 

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