A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

The crisper, more wholesome air that blows through New York City neighborhoods over the weekends – a little herbaceous, occasionally fishy – leaves residents like myself in a delightfully fresh mood that lasts into the week.  Smells like farmer’s market season is in full swing!

See Also: NYC’s Best Farmer’s Markets | 7 NYC ‘Going Green’ Activities

I love farmer’s market season. Every Sunday morning I wake up with the birds, walk the dog, do some light calisthenics to get the old blood flowing, and take my homemade frozen pie crust dough out of the freezer to thaw in anticipation of this week’s haul. What will we be eating tonight? Blackberry? Blueberry? Boysenberry? Gooseberry! Then I grab my canvas tote and stroll up to the stalls to see what’s on offer. I fill my bag with bright, juicy fruits, fragrant, lush greens, and farm-fresh milk and eggs. My mind is racing with recipe ideas for the week ahead, beautiful dishes that will be prepared thoughtfully and lovingly and which my husband and I will sit and eat at our dining table each evening like a civilized, organized, regular couple. When friends drop by unexpectedly, I will reach into my well-stocked refrigerator and whip up something fresh and delicious for our guests.

Alternatively, I will not sit inside until 1:00 p.m. on a Sunday paralyzed by the thought of errands or a trip to the gym, wishing I was one of those people who had gone to the farmer’s market four hours earlier. I also will not have an omelet delivered from a diner located four blocks from my apartment, and as I eat it I will not resort to ordering groceries from Fresh Direct in a relatively haphazard and thoughtless manner.  I will not select foods that do not add up to a single meal, but rather individual items that can be cooked quickly and perfunctorily and which may or may not be eaten standing up while unloading the dishwasher and feeding the dog. I will not microwave a bag of vegetables for dinner as my husband boils himself a pot of spaghetti, and we will not consume them side-by-side on the couch with the television on and our respective computers open in front of us. I will not buy fresh produce with the best of intentions and open the crisper three weeks later to find it rotting in a way I did not think scientifically possible.

I will not eat dinner out four nights a week, on average.

I will absolutely make myself fresh salads and bring fascinating leftovers for weekday lunches. I totally won’t buy a flavorless salad everyday, instead.

I would never, ever stand in front of the open refrigerator when I get home at 9:00 p.m. and eat a piece of ham, a wedge of low-fat cheese, some cherries, seven pretzels dipped in hummus, and three bites of my husband’s pizza from the night before instead of eating dinner. Like I said, I’ve got healthy, balanced meals planned out from now until October. I wouldn’t eat twenty olives and drink two glasses of rose and call it a night. That’s pathetic. That’s no way to live. I feel bad for people like that.

Thank goodness for my farmer’s market. I don’t know what I’d do without it.


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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