Finally, for the first time since leaving Paris, I've found a way to feel at ease, peaceful, and like myself again, and a big part of this has to do with the Union Square Farmers Market.
Since moving to New York from Paris, I thought I was going a little crazy, everything I was cooking seemed to lack flavor and body. I figured it had to do with the produce I was finding here, and that suspicion was confirmed after a meeting I recently had with a restaurant developer. The state of the agricultural products in general in the U.S. is awful, and the GMOs are not only horrible for you, but also kill all fragrance and taste that foods should have. I was fed up.
So after talking to a few foodie and chef friends in the city, I was turned onto the Union Square Farmers Market. I had heard a lot about it before, but figured it was more touristy and less of a place to buy amazing produce. I was wrong.
The market reminds me of those of Paris, vendors being passionate about what they are growing and selling, following the seasons, practicing organic and biodynamic agriculture, and legitimately caring about the food. It was the most refreshing and inspiring thing I've witnessed in the month I've been in New York.
So after making a round through the market, I picked up some ingredients; multicolored carrots, herbs, heirloom tomatoes, some greens, and a very expensive baguette, as I've been on a hunt for one that can hold up to French standards, which I've yet to find. I headed home with my bounty to get cooking.
That night's dinner was Confit de Canard with a Roasted Carrot, Scarlet Frills Mustard Greens, and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette.
As I took the first bite, I realized that all hope was not lost. This shit had flavor and tasted like the food in Europe! Paired with a nice bottle of red and my mind and body went into a relaxed and elated place they hadn't been in over a month. I was at peace.
If there's anything I've learned or can really try to press, it's that you should, no, MUST, buy organic and seasonal, preferably from a farmers market. You'll be a better cook and critic for it, even if your wallet takes a hit.