Fall is at its peak this week in New York. The leaves on the trees are a stunning array of reds, oranges, browns and greens. My morning run more often than not finds me in Prospect Park: watching the golden sun rise over the tops of the autumnal trees, with a blustering reflection in the wide open lake is the best way to start the day.
The colours at the market perfectly match those of the trees. Apples feature on almost every stall in shades of bright greens and deep reds. Some are perfect for snacking on the way home, while others are huge and are begging to be cooked into a crumble on a cold, quiet evening. All other fruits have been abandoned from my current diet as I eat as many apples as I can while they're still fresh, crunchy and totally irresistible.
And with the apples comes apple cider. And with apple cider comes the dangerously tempting apple cider doughnuts. Sugary, cinnamon-y, fluffy ring doughnuts which involve a lot of lip licking: the measure of any good doughnut. An American friend kindly explained to us the conundrum of American cider one recent evening. Cider on this side of the pond is not necessarily alcoholic. Although it can be, 'cider' is also used to describe any apple juice that isn't completely clear. So apple juice is only really used to describe rubbish-y concentrated apple juice, and cider is used for everything else. This causes quite some confusion and means everyone is always asking whether this hot cider is alcoholic or not, which could easily be solved by using the words the British way (where, for you US-readers, cider is only used when it's alcoholic), but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to change the American language that easily on my own...
Squash, pumpkins and gourds are causing much excitement amongst kids, cooks and shoppers. The little ones run around selecting which pumpkin they need to carve for Halloween. They're making important decisions about whether this is definitely the best pumpkin on the whole market, for fear that someone else in their class may have a pumpkin that will outdo their choice. Decorative gourds bring pops of bright colour and vivid patterns to our apartment, as do the various squash we've been trying all month. This week we'll be eating several Delicata squash which are so prettily, perfectly striped that I'm struggling to convince myself to cut them up and pop them in the oven.
Carrots and beets add to the shades of orange and deep red. Their green tops are not to be wasted and are blended into various pestos as we work towards a waste-free world.
Beans, greens, onions and potatoes make up the rest of the October market colour palette. I must go and do some research on the various bean varieties so I can be sure to buy many, many more of them later this week. These pink speckled Cranberry beans are too adorable to be passed by any longer.
I have to give a special mention to The River Garden who were filling Union Square with the most fragrant smells this Monday morning. Thankfully, they have promised me they'll be there until Christmas so I have plenty of time to select a dried flower wreath for my door, to buy dried chillies to hang in the kitchen, and to fill my bedroom with the smells of eucalyptus and lavender throughout the coming winter months.
Union Square Greenmarket, East 14th Street, Park Avenue South & Broadway, New York, NY 10003