No-Prep Picnic Ideas from Union Market

To simplify your snacking, we consulted the folks at Union Market to help curate ingredients for a ready-to-eat feast.

It’s summertime in the city, and we all know that comes with plenty of pros and cons. There is the profuse sweating and the special scents that only New York City summertime garbage can produce, but there are also outdoor concerts, movies and of course, picnics.

To simplify your snacking, we consulted Robin Randisi and Kate Colman from Union Market to help curate ingredients for a ready-to-eat feast.

union market

To upgrade this Caprese salad to a sandwich, grab a batard made by Blue Duck Bakery.

First up, Colman and Randisi suggest using local Lioni mozzarella, Gotham Greens basil, tomatoes and Union Market brand olive oil to assemble basic caprese salads. Make it a sandwich with a batard made by Blue Duck Bakery or simply pair with Z Crackers in sea salt and olive oil, or Jan’s Farm House Crisps. To round out an Italian-style picnic, Union Market has plenty of options for creating a cheese and/or charcuterie platters that are as unfussy as they are delicious.

union market

Vermont’s Parish Hill Creamery makes a gorgonzola-style cheese called “West West Blue.”

Keeping with cheese, Union Market also sells an excellent gorgonzola called “West West Blue” from Parish Hill Creamery. Robin and Kate also recommend their own goat cheese and Salvatore Bklyn ricotta (reportedly a Martha Stewart favorite, FYI). You’d be remiss to not include some lavender preserves from Eat This.

Union Market

Martha Stewart is reportedly a big fan of Salvatore Bklyn ricotta.

As for meats, there is no shortage of options at Union Market, but particularly recommended is the sopressata from Brooklyn Cured. Robin and Kate suggest trying it with a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey — locally made wildflower honey infused with chili pepper.

Union Market

Sopressata has met its match with a little of Mike’s Hot Honey.

For a picnic that requires no assembly, Union Market carries multiple prepared salads that are sold pre-packaged and ready for your basket. Options like creamy cole slaw, red skinned potato salad and curry chicken salad will make excellent side dishes at cookouts and barbecues. We suggest pairing with the buttermilk fried chicken that Union Market prepares daily.

Union Market

These prepared salads are a picnic in a carton.

And don’t think you can have a picnic without dessert. Keep it simple with Mast Brothers chocolate bars, brownies from Baked or gluten-free treats from Las Delicias Patisserie. Their caramel fleur del sel brownie is the most compelling reason to give up gluten that I know.

union market

Chocolate and brownies are easy picnic dessert choices.

Finally, it is important to stay hydrated out in the sunshine. Brooklyn-made Bruce Cost Ginger Ale and New York State’s Red Jacket juices are sure to quench your thirst. We wouldn’t say no to Brooklyn Brewery’s summer ale either…

Now that you’ve got your list ready, you just need to find the ideal spot to spread your blanket.

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Sari Kamin

Sari Kamin is a food writer and ethnographer with a focus on the intersection between food and culture. She is a regular contributor to Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. Sari is the co-host of 'The Morning After,' a weekly radio show on HeritageRadioNetwork.Org. Sari holds an MA in Food Studies from NYU. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.