A few summers ago, I came home from a year of eating in the Fordham Caf (gross) and all I wanted was fresh, healthy foods. After a few weeks of buying mass amounts of fruits and veggies at Wegmans, my mom declared that my fruit habit was too expensive to support at the grocery store anymore, and that I should start going to the Public Market downtown to stock up.
I had been to the Market a few times in my past, but the early wake-up time required always turned me off. But that first week, my dad woke me up at 8 and off we went. It became a weekly event, starting with coffee and bagels before and tons of fresh produce after. Now I look forward to our Saturday mornings at the Market. At the start of this summer, my dad was working on renovating our family room, so he was too busy for the Market trips, and I missed the fresh strawberries and maple syrup to the max. This weekend was our first trip, and we couldn’t have waited for a more beautiful day.
The Public Market is located at 280 North Union Street, and we usually get to it by taking Portland Ave all the way down, and then there’s signs that point you through the last few turns to the parking lot.
The key to the Market is to get there early. Which is why I have such a love/hate relationship with it. Ideally, we would leave the house between six or seven am, but we don’t usually get there until around nine or ten. But there is still always enough produce to go around.
There are several different pavillions, two open ones outside, and one enclosed one inside. The most logical way to go through is to just take your time and go through the two outdoor ones and then finish up with the indoor one. The outdoor ones are filled with fruits, veggies and some baked goods, and the indoor one has more meats, fish and pastries. Along the edges on either side there are also a few different food vendors, including Boulder Coffee and Cure Bar and a few other specialty shops, including one where we get the best cinnamon raisin bread.
Another key to the Market is to bring your own bags. Each vendor usually puts their produce in a plastic grocery bag, so instead of carrying an armload of those, a reusable market bag works wonders.
Our favorite things to get at the Public Market include:
- Homegrown berries (straw-, blue-, black-)
- Maple Syrup
- Fresh herbs (basil and mint this week)
- Bell peppers
- Peas and green beans
- Cinnamon raisin bread
- Fresh flowers
Not only is the Market produce a lot cheaper than supermarket food, but I feel better about it. It’s all homegrown so I’m supporting local farms and businesses, and the foods feel more wholesome. The strawberries are small but incredibly sweet, the apples are juicy and delicious and the bread is soft and fluffy.
The space of the Market is used during the week, too. On the last Wednesday of each month, the City hosts a Food Truck Rodeo, where all of the Food Trucks gather and blow your mind. Sushi, wood-fired pizza, barbecue, mac and cheese–anything. It’s almost overwhelming, but it’s equally, if not more delicious. I’ve been to both the May and June one so far this summer….
The Public Market is one of my favorite things about Rochester, as it’s so wholesome and fulfilling, and I hope it’s something I continue to do for the rest of my life. It’s something special I get to do every week with my dad and something I look forward to on Saturday mornings, and special time I get to spend doing something with my dad that we both love.