There are many signs that herald the arrival of summer. Besides the weather, people coming out of winter hibernation in droves, the profusion of flowers in bloom, the colorful dresses with an edge of playfulness and so much more. But here in the Princeton area nothing screams the arrival of summer louder than the local farmers’ market that opens up in May and winds down on the last Saturday before Thanksgiving (November). In our family, it has become a ritual to start our Saturday mornings with a visit to the market. If there is a place where the smells and sights produce a state of gastronomic nirvana, this ranks high up there. To learn more about our local farmers market, click here.
Who? Are you a foodie? Do you like to cook? Does the sight and smell of fresh fruits and vegetables make you want to stuff an entire market into your shopping bags? Do you start dreaming about all the things you could churn out in your kitchen? Or are you just a photographer looking to delight in a feast for your lenses and your senses?
What? The Union Square Greenmarket also known as the Union Square Farmers Market is located in Union Square in New York City.
How? You can take the subway to Union Square or walk here from many points in the city. This hard to miss square is transformed into an agora on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and if you are in the vicinity of the area, your nose might just as well lead you here!
Why? From its humble beginning in the mid-seventies, this market has now become a place for over 140 local farmers and bakers to sell the fruits of their labor. It feels like a standing paradox to New York City life. In a city where people are always rushing and engrossed in their own world, here you can see people lovingly gazing at the zucchini, marveling at the color mother nature has imparted to the peppers and chatting intently with fishermen and farmers about the best way to prepare their newly purchased bounty. All of the well-known chefs from Food Network have shown an affinity to this market. As you listen to a seller extol the virtues of his honey, you realize that life is lived in multiple bubbles.
My teenaged daughters think their mother is a bit crazy to spend time admiring the blush on a radish, the sun like hues on a beet and the way the reds, oranges and yellows paint the peaches in a personalized fashion. This is why I ask them to sit in the park or walk around, while I dream, shop and sample to my heart’s content. And this is one of those places that truly leaves me content! And the smile on my face, my overstuffed bags and maybe a smidgen of a food crumb at the corner of my mouth bear testament to this state of mind.
Since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the beginning of the year, the search for gluten-free pizza that tastes and feels like the real deal as opposed to just a bland attempt at reproducing its wheat based counterparts has been a tough quest. Throughout spring semester of college in New York, I searched for a pizza experience that would make me forget that I had a gluten allergy because the food so authentic. I ended up eating at a handful of Italian restaurants that had a Celiac-friendly menu. But it was only when I got back home to Princeton to that I discovered that a franchise that had recently exploded on the health food scene made my gluten-free pizza experience worth every penny.
Founded in New Orleans, Naked Pizza now has 450 locations and markets itself on four key health benefits: digestive health, bone health, weight management, and glycemic response. There are no preservatives or additives in any of the food and the doughs made of over ten different grains capitalize on the nutrient value of the multigrain approach. Every pizza has prebiotics and heat-immune probiotics and promise a high-protein and low-fat alternative to the other pizzas on the commercial food market. Basically, all the scientific terminology aside, it’s the healthiest your pizza can get when you’re not making it at home.
You can choose your pie in one of three sizes (10 inch, 12 inch, or 14 inch) and one of three crust types (the original Ancestral blend made of ten grains with tomato and mozzarella, the skinny version of the Ancestral blend, and the gluten-free crust). Once you’ve chosen your base, you can choose your toppings, including a delicious set of farmers market fresh tasting vegetables. There are also several menu choices pre-customized with toppings that you can decide from. The “cheesy breadsixx” side isn’t gluten-free, but the spinach salad is of course a safe option and rings with the flavor of blush wine vinaigrette and incredible bell peppers.
I am fairly health conscious, and Naked has been one of the only pizza manufacturers to date that doesn’t give me the post-meal feeling of carrying a ton of lead around in my stomach. In fact, even after scarfing down half a pie of Naked, I feel totally refreshed and can go for a long bike ride without feeling any the unpleasant after effects of oil or cheese weighing me down.
Eating pizza tends to be a universally glorious experience when you’re really, really craving it. In a society with an ever-escalating emphasis on eating right, it’s truly a gift to be able to take the guilt out of eating pizza and enjoy it as a healthy meal rather than an indulgence.
To learn more about Naked Pizza and find a franchise near you, visit their site here: