GrowNYC Greenmarkets – Top Tip for Budget- and Health-Conscious Tourists in New York City

New York City’s Longest Running Pop-ups: GrowNYC Greenmarkets

If you’re anything like me, you treat vacations as complete vacations from everyday life, which, for me, means my diet is on hold, too, and I (over)indulge in as many treats as I can find.  As easy as it is to find treats everywhere, it’s just as easy, in New York City, to find fresh, healthy, delicious food that you can prepare yourself, even when you’re on vacation (or a business trip).  If you’re self-catering – staying in a long-term stay efficiency or suite (such as Embassy Suites), or even using short-term apartment stays (such as AirBnB or HomeAway services) – finding good places to shop for food can be difficult, especially if you don’t know the neighborhood.  GrowNYC Greenmarkets make it easier, especially with 50 locations throughout the five boroughs.

Baby Eggplants - Union Square Greenmarket

Baby Eggplants – Union Square Greenmarket

For 40 years now, GrowNYC has made local foods (within a 60- to 80-mile radius of New York City) available to New Yorkers.  Farmers, growers, makers, etc., sell directly to customers (quite a few chefs find their inspiration and ingredients in the greenmarkets), so there are no middlemen in the equation.  You can talk to the vendors, ask them questions about their products, get recipes, tips, and more.  There’s even an Education Station at each market, where you can learn more about the markets and the services they offer.

Lavender - Union Square Greenmarket

Lavender – Union Square Greenmarket


New York City’s Greenmarkets are outdoor meccas of local goodness.  Produce, meats, eggs, honey, maple, flowers, just about anything you can think of.  There is one indoor market, at the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal building, and it’s open year-round on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Take a round-trip on the iconic Staten Island Ferry (always FREE), then shop for your supper when you get back to Manhattan.  

Purple Pepper - Union Square Greenmarket

Purple Pepper – Union Square Greenmarket


The Union Square Greenmarket is the most well-known and even has its own app.  The app tells you who is at the market and what products are available.  If you want a break from cooking, but don’t want to skip out on the healthy, local foods, check out The Pavilion.  Located at the northern end of Union Square Park, The Pavilion is an open-air restaurant that operates seasonally from mid-April to mid-October.  Chef Mario Urgiles crafted his delicious menu around Union Square Greenmarket’s offerings, making it a locavore’s dream restaurant.  Stop by for lunch or brunch, then meander through the market and pick up ingredients for supper.

The Pavilion Restaurant at Union Square Greenmarket

The Pavilion Restaurant at Union Square Greenmarket

Tomato and Peach Salad at the Pavilion - Union Square Greenmarket

Tomato and Peach Salad at the Pavilion – Union Square Greenmarket


Disclaimer – I was treated to a tour of the Union Square Greenmarket and lunch at The Pavilion, but I am a long-term fan of GrowNYC, especially the Greenmarkets, because I have a year-round greenmarket in my own neighborhood, which I frequent as often as possible.  In addition to their greenmarket work, they also offer textile recycling, composting, special recycling (NYC has a robust recycling program that include paper, plastic, and cans, already, and GrowNYC helps recycle other materials not already handled by the City), community gardening, and many other programs,.   An important program offered at the greenmarkets is the Healthy Exchange, which enables SNAP/EBT beneficiaries to purchase healthy fruits and vegetables with Health Bucks.

I Love NY Menu at The Pavilion - Union Square Greenmarket

I Love NY Menu at The Pavilion – Union Square Greenmarket


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About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.