Union Square Greenmarket
The Spread: Never mind that New York ranks 25th out of 30 cities for farmers' markets in our AFC survey: this market has as much variety as the Big Apple itself. Customers as high profile as Dan Barber (the sustainable-food guru who was voted America's Best Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2009) shop for ingredients here. Though it's held three days a week, the Saturday market is the biggest, with 80 vendors selling seasonal produce like cardoons, pea shoots, quince, Concord grapes, ramps, black currants, and 88 different apple varieties; local-grown and milled rye and cornmeal flour; and meat and seafood like fresh rabbit loin and wild-caught bluefish, squid, and bonito.
Most Unusual Find: Emu and ostrich eggs—so big that each is equivalent to six chicken eggs—from Roaming Acres Farm in Columbia County.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.