Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Proof is In the Nails


I can't tell if it's me or this city, but over the last couple of years I've started to notice a ton of farm stands and locally sourced restaurants in Manhattan.  This may simply be white car syndrome, once you want to buy a white car you start noticing white cars everywhere you go.  Nevertheless, it has been great to come across all of these new options (at least new for me).  While walking down on Carmine street and 6th avenue (near the W 4th street stop on the E, F train), I came across Woori farm stand.  With a table completely covered in greens, I couldn't help but stop and check out the goods.  It turns out...

that this farm is run about 120 miles from Carmine Street and this fresh produce was harvested this morning around 5am.  When I asked the kind woman running the stand if she worked on the farm, she politely stuck out her hands and gently flipped them over a few times flashing off her perfectly dirt-filled nails.  That's all the advertising I needed and I was hooked, yet...

she kept insisting that I try samples of her favorites including watercress, Korean watercress, Romaine lettuce and garlic chives.

The watercress was outrageously good, each bite balanced a light spiciness (similar to a radish) with a refreshing burst of cool water.  As I devoured stalk after stalk and explained to the woman that I had never tried watercress quite like hers, she explained why.  Watercress needs a lot of water to grow and although it can be grown out of containers, it thrives in fresh moving water, which is what Woori Farm has in upstate New York.  She assured me I wouldn't find any watercress this good at any of the supermarkets in Manhattan, it was hard to disagree with her while my mouth was consistently full of this delicious veggie.

While people came over to buy, she continued to pass me large leaf Romaine lettuce, garlic chives that tasted like pizza and 

Korean watercress, which had a very unique flavor.  The stalks were more delicate than their crunchy western counterparts and instead of the spiciness, there was more of a parsley/watercress taste.  I wouldn't really want to eat a bundle of straight parsley, but this Korean watercress was subtle enough that it created an enjoyable balance.  


There was something comforting and satisfying about buying produce from someone with enthusiasm for their work, their sweat, their passion.  A hand crafted product directly from the source, a beautiful thing.

If you are in the area, or want to take a nice stroll through the west village, check out Woori Farm stand, they are open all day on the corner of Carmine street and 6th Avenue.


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