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Farm fresh goodness at McCarren Park

Harry Rosenblum looks at the endless beds of ruby-colored cherries, among the first of the season, at Red Jacket Orchard’s booth at the McCarren Park Greenmarket. Next to the cherries are boxes of freshly picked strawberries and stalks of reddish-green rhubarb.

“I might make a cherry pie with these later,” Rosenblum says, picking up box of each. “When stuff is really good, I have to look in my calendar and see if I have time in the week to cook it.”

Rosenblum, co-owner of the Brooklyn Kitchen (616 Lorimer Street), a cookware supply store, often visits the market early Saturday morning before opening his shop. The seasonal array of vegetables, fruits, meats, and fish as well as the less frenetic pace compared with other Greenmarkets in the city attract Rosenblum and others to McCarren Park site every weekend.

“This is the best market ever, though I’m partial because I live here,” says Jessica Douglas, market manager of the McCarren Park Greenmarket. “It’s pretty diverse here. There are a lot of people from the Polish community in the morning, some Latino families, and young professional and hipster people later in the morning. It’s so much more laid back than Manhattan.”

The markets are entering their peak season, as new offerings of fruits and vegetables become available well into the summer. Rosenblum was particularly excited about bunches of red kale, garlic scapes and mustard greens from Garden of Eve, rabbit and whole chickens from Arcadian Farm, and scallops and squid from Pura Vida Fisheries.

“I bought scallops and squid here last week,” Rosenblum said. “The scallops are always spectacular. None of it is coming from overseas, it’s all coming off Long Island.”

Rosenblum also noted the high quality of goat cheese at Consider Bardwell Farm, which featured cubes of goat feta cheese in small containers of water. Consider Bardwell Farm supplies a number of restaurants in New York City with artisinal cheeses it makes at its north Vermont farm.

“If the cheese is too salty, put a little skim milk [in the container],” the cheesemonger says. “If you put it in water, it takes out too much salt.”

As Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents picked through radishes and onions from a farm stand from Goshen, NY, Rosenblum showed off photos of his previous night’s meal of lamb brains and neck to friends who stopped by before shuttling off to open his store for the day.

“I split the head, hammered a knife through it and drew the blood from the veins in some water,” says Rosenblum. “I never had brains before. The texture is unbelievable.”

For Brooklyn residents who visit the market, picking out ingredients that are as fresh as possible for the coming week’s meals is the most important reason why they come to the greenmarket.

“It’s all about spoilage,” says Rosenblum. “How long something has been off the vine, out of the ground, out of the water, off the animal. This is as fresh as it gets.”

The McCarren Park Greenmarket, located at the intersection of Lorimer, Bedford, and Nassau streets, is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rosenblum advises people to come to the market before noon to avoid the crowds.

The Brooklyn Kitchen is located at 616 Lorimer Street. For more information, go to www.thebrooklynkitchen.com.

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