The Urban Cheapskate: Goes to the Brooklyn Farmer’s Market

Come September and it’s the height of the season at the Saturday Farmers’ Market at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. The place is absolutely aswarm with yuppies, all returned from wherever it is they go for the summer anyways. Indeed, quite the bumper crop. And there was some produce for sale, too.

Your Urban Cheapskate recently attempted to complete his regular shopping routine at the Saturday market, while pondering why the term “Farmers’ Market” was replaced with “Greenmarket” when items of all colors are sold. He found that the popular stands like milk-fed chicken or organic wild ocean-raised fishes had lines even longer than usual, and the simple ratty stands selling lavender blossoms and whatnot had long lines as well. Seeing that his favorite apple dealer had a pretty poor selection and a very long line, he decided to go appleless for the week. Fearing he’d miss the end of peach season, he did bully his way to a stand and got some decent-looking peaches that turned out to be tasty enough.

Of course he avoided the evil, treacherous stand that sells those overpriced bitter woody carrots. For carrots you want to go to the Green Farmers’ Market in Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesdays, where S&SO Produce Farms sells very tasty carrots grown in the black soil of Goshen, NY. Speaking of Union Square, there’s also a stand where these guys sell t-shirts that say “Barack Obama is the New Black”. Well, that’s all well and good, but I want equal time with “Barack Obama is the New White.”

Back in Brooklyn the Cheapskate faced an almost fruitless week. He had forsaken his vows of poverty and was working in Downtown Brooklyn. On Tuesday it suddenly occurred to him that sometimes there’s a Farmer’s Market of sorts in Cadman Plaza near Borough Hall.

So he headed on out on his lunch break, and found a stand with the most delicious little ripe pears. The proprietors encouraged free tastes. Tasty and juicy. Pears should be ripe and sweet; apples should be crunchy; pears should be soft and juicy; pears should not be crunchy. He also bought some peaches, about which the less said the better.

He was returning to work when he discovered the Mango Boat was in. Every once in awhile out of the blue around Boro Hall all up and down Joralemon Street every 20 yards is somebody selling mangos. They’re wedged in among the stands selling jewelry, books, black seed oil, wallets, shades, Shea butter, roasted peanuts, used DVDs, etc. They sit at card tables and peel and slice their mangos and put em in ziploc bags. Mmmmm … really ripe.

But why do these large numbers of people appear in a two-block region of Downtown Brooklyn selling mangoes for a few days and then disappear for long periods? The Cheapskate could imagine a Mango Boat landing in the middle of the night with a bumper crop of mangoes from a more southerly land where there was a mango glut that week, and being offloaded duty-free by individual entrepreneurs. But he had never seen these mangoes for sale anywhere but downtown Brooklyn. Maybe he just was unobservant, or just doesn’t get around much anymore.

Thus loaded with tasty sliced mango and little pears, he headed back to work, to share with his coworkers and help spread mango juice all over corporate computer keyboards. Oh these mangos were supertasty. Now he knew he could last until Wednesday, when his weekly visit to Manhattan was certain to yield some instances of the new crop of what his favorite stand labels Honey Crips. Yo! Brooklyn’s in the house!

I hope the tiny sweet pears are still there next week.

Reporting Live from Brooklyn, New York, this is the Original Urban Cheapskate. Over and Out.

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