Green Giants

Article excerpt

THE COUNTRY'S BEST FARMERS' MARKETS HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON: A PERFECT FALL AFTERNOON.

In the waning days of summer, greenmarket splendor turns taciturn. Mottled lima beans beg for a snap, plump pumpkins stand their ground. But beyond the charge a Saturday stroll brings to our inner hunter-gatherer, farmers' markets offer something else we tend to forget in our frenzied existence: experiences grounded in distinct time and place . The foodie mantra of "local, organic, sustainable" might as well mean "connection, community, authenticity" - buzzwords equally at home on jetsetters' lips. "People like knowing the story behind the things they buy," says Eric Demby, cofounder of Smorgasburg, the popular all-food, all-the-time offshoot of the Brooklyn Flea. "Call it retro, call it old-fashioned, or call it online backlash - people like connecting to other people in the flesh." Here, our favorite greenmarkets, which we simply call delicious, JUSTIN OCEAN

DANE COUNTY FARMERS' MARKET, MADISON, WIS. The country's largest producer-only market mixes political brouhaha with busy booths on the state capítol steps. Must-try: Squeaky cheese curds, Bleu Mont Dairy's raw-milk bandaged cheddar When: Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. -2 p.m., Saturdays 6 a.m. -2 p.m. (April-November); DCFM.org

SMORGASBURG, BROOKLYN, N.Y. From báhn mi to pupusas and oysters on the half shell, 100-plus vendors and their prepackaged, cooked-to-order goods create an haute-to-home-style culinary crossroads. Must-try: King's Crumb chicken 'n' biscuits, Shorty Tang's sesame noodles When: Saturdays 9 A.M.-5 p.m. (May-October); Smorgasburg.com

FERRY PLAZA FARMERS' MARKET, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. Thrice weekly, the turn-of-thecentury Ferry Building approaches something akin to culinary nirvana when buzzy independent shops and restaurants - Slanted Door, Cowgirl Creamery, Blue Bottle Coffee- join forces with California's organic farmers. Must-try: Sweetwaters from Hog Island Oysters, local nectar from Marshall's Farm Natural Honey When: Tuesdays/Thursdays 10 a. …