Category Archives: Get Ye to the Market!

Find Your Inner Urban Farmer and Raise the Roof at Brooklyn Grange!

Farming in New York City has been a pretty solitary endeavor in the last half century or so what with the limitations we set upon ourselves in regards to space and all but the Brooklyn Grange has brought backyard farming to an entirely new level (literally). Defying expectations, this urban farm has set up shop on the roof of the Standard Motor Products Building in Queens gaining quite a name for itself since the first seed was planted back in 2010.

On 40,000 square feet (one-acre) of space, this commercial organic farm grows and sells vegetables to local people and businesses. Their goal is to improve access to very good food and to connect city folk to the farms and food production while also making urban farming a sustainable and viable enterprise.

Want to check it out for yourself? Pop on over every Wednesday from 2-7pm and load up on some goodies and get a look at their seemingly impossible endeavor achieved! The view is pretty sick as well! If you cannot make it out to LIC…. you can find some of their goods at green markets throughout the city or at restaurants like Marlow and Sons, Joseph Leonard, Fatty ‘Cue, and Roberta’s to name just a few!

For more information on the farm, their practices and where to find their stuff…. click on the link below! And if you want to get more involved (like I do) email brooklyngrangefarm@gmail.com!

Brooklyn Grange

37-18 Northern Boulevard (Long Island City)

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Get Ye to the Market: Spring is in the Air!!!

Well… spring may have come for the rest of the country but NYC has been experiencing what can only be classified as a “Canadian Chill” the past few days (likely chance of snow… really!?). However, I do know that spring is near because my allergies are rearing their ugly little heads making for sneeze filled days!

With spring slowly coming out of its winter hibernation, we can rejoice with thoughts of abandoning the dreadful and very limited winter vegetable options by celebrating the arrival of fresh new ingredients! Check out my favorite spring vegetables coming soon to a greenmarket near you!

OMG…RAMPS!!!!!

Artichokes

You can definitely find artichokes in the fall but the main harvest is in the spring when the largest thistles are available. When purchasing, find artichokes with tight and compact leaves that have fresh-cut stem ends

Asparagus

Though the season of great asparagus  is ridiculously short, its best to get the spears as soon as the show up in shops before they are gone! Choose stalks that are firm but tender, brightly colored and with closed tips.

Avocado

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love avocados; but picking the best one can be tricky. My advice? Buy them ROCK HARD! Ripe avocados barely survive a day after purchase but hard ones ripen perfectly when placed on your kitchen counter.

Endive

Endive usually costs more than other salad greens but they offer a different kind of flavor that you simply cannot find in lettuce, spinach, etc.  Don’t shy away from this green, it adds a great taste to salads!

Fiddlehead Ferns

Some people may be asking themselves “fiddlehead what?” but this vegetable is pretty darn spectacular. The premium wild foraged vegetable of spring, look for ones with a tight coil and only an inch or two of stem beyond that. Also make sure to remove the papery chaff that surrounds it before eating, if not you will not enjoy eating them.

Green Onions

The young shoot of a bulb onion, green onions differ from scallions in that they have a miniature bulb while scallions do not. Choose green onions with crisp, bright green tops and a firm white base then throw into anything your little heart desires

Peas

Fresh peas herald springs arrival and they are super rich in vitamins and nutrients. Right now you can find three types this season (snow, English and sugar snap). When using fresh peas it is best to consume right after they have been picked, otherwise the sugar converts to starch which can result in hard and mealy peas, which no one wants

Radishes

At their sweet and crunchy best in the spring, I eat them raw like apples (with a little olive oil and sea salt) or slice thinly and throw into salads or sandwiches

Ramps

New York chefs and foodies have gone absolutely gaga over ramps with daily gossip sightings of them in greenmarkets and restaurants (ramps are kind of wild onion/scallion/leek-like vegetable hybrid). and I guess it’s for a good reason…they are only in season from late March to early May (hence the craziness).

Rhubarb

I go absolutely bonkers for rhubarb and consider it to be the first “fruit” of spring! Look for heavy stalks with shiny skin and don’t be shy to make as many rhubarb concoctions as possible (I can’t wait to make jams, pies, applesauce, you get the drift)

Watercress

 Jam packed with vitamin C, look for crisp dark-green leaves when purchasing. I like to chop into salads, add into sandwiches or use in soups  

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The New Amsterdam Market is back!

Having brought life back into the tourist trap that is The South Street Seaport, The New Amsterdam Market is back! Hit up the Seaport from 11-4pm this Sunday, June 27th and pick up foodstuffs from a variety of amazing local and out-of-town vendors.

Just a few of the participating vendors: Bee’s Needs (fresh honey from the Hamptons), The Bent Spoon (artisan ice cream from New Jersey), Formaggio Essex (cheeses, charcuterie, and canned goods from NYC), Liddabit Sweets (delicious chocolate and candy confectioners from Brooklyn), Orwashers’ Bakery (fresh, brick oven bread from NYC), and Sugar Maple Farms (maple syrup and maple products from Connecticut).

New Amsterdam Market

South Street (between Beekman and Peck Slip)

http://www.newamsterdammarket.org/

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Basis Foods: Farm Fresh Fruits and Veggies delivered to your Home!!!

At the beginning of March, New York Magazine named Basis: Good Food for All as the best grocery delivery service in their annual “Best of New York” edition. It was that reason alone that I decided it was time for me to take a break from the greenmarket and take a chance on this new service.

Basis supplies their customers with 100% traceable farmers market food directly to your home or office at prices that are lower than traditional supermarket prices. They are committed to helping family farms supply consumers with the good food they produce. Not a typical distributor, Basis acts as a conduit between the farmer and the consumer. No gimmicks, just good food delivered fresh to you.

I was eager to try Basis as I wanted to get creative in the kitchen. It’s really easy to get stuck in a culinary funk when you can choose what you can make (ie picking out stuff at the greenmarket), but with Basis I left my kitchen open to suggestions! I figured why not test my culinary skills with a grab bag of fruits and vegetables and see what I could create?

Signing up was easy, I chose the items I wanted (an individual portion of fruits and vegetables), chose a delivery schedule (Every 2nd Thursday), and voila- I was ready to go!

Every two weeks I received a bounty of fresh vegetables and fruit (lettuce, leeks, cattail shoots, mushrooms, spring onions, radicchio, cabbage, grapefruits, oranges, apples, strawberries, spinach, rhubarb, the list goes on and on) and went to town attempting new recipes/ideas/etc. And while I did not take advantage of it, Basis also allows you to “add-on” items such as local dairy products, farm fresh eggs, 100% traceable coffee, grains/beans, and bakery goods.

I found myself pickling, attempting kimchi, making pies, stuffing proteins with the veggies, anything that made me “think out of the box” so to speak. As I received my final basis delivery (I chose 4 deliveries to start), I was extremely happy with my decision but have decided to forgo ordering again. Why? While I love the concept, I genuinely enjoy the process of selecting items at a market/grocery store/etc. Thank you Basis for re-invigorating my culinary creativity and helping me to “think outside the box.”

What I received in my final delivery yesterday…

Looks like I will be making  strawberry/rhubarb jam this weekend!!!


Basis: Good Food for All

http://www.basisfoods.com/

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Get Yet to the Market: Essex Street Market

Created in 1940 as an effort by Mayor LaGuardia to find a new place for street vendors/merchants to do business, the Essex Street Market gave the crowded streets a break from pushcarts and vendors who were impeding the efforts of police and fire vehicles.

At its beginning, the Markets identity was shaped by the Lower East Side’s Jewish and Italian immigrants, who were both the vendors and customers. Not surprisingly, the market became more than just a shopping destination with a social environment springing up where locals could mingle and share ideas.

In the 1950s the neighborhood shifted as the Puerto Rican population grew rapidly in the community. This influx of new residents brought a variety of new products while still maintaining personalized attention and service.

In the 1970s the market fell out of favor with many locals turning to the big box supermarkets and convenience stores that were popping up around the city. The 1990s were much better to the Market as a private developer swept in and assumed direct control. With a $1.5 million renovation to consolidate the haphazard organizational structure of the vendors, the Market was infused with new life as the area became a Mecca for the new young residents moving in. The new residents have since brought new expectations for the market while still appreciating the cultural and historical traditions of the neighborhood and the Market.

Today, the Market offers a large range of products for every shopper to enjoy. With a wide variety of products to choose from, you can literally get everything from cactus plants to short ribs assuring that every customer will leave with at least something in their hands.

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My favorite merchants?

Meat: Jeffrey’s Meats (booth 36) www.jeffreysmeatmarket.com

Four generations have to be doing something right. This retailer of poultry, beef, pork, lamb and veal has served the community since the 1920s. Pick up your favorite meats for at-home cooking or get a sandwich from their gourmet sandwich shop. Jeffrey also gives butcher demonstrations on basic butchering and how to breakdown a whole animal.

Bread: Pain D’Avignon (booth 24) www.paindavignon-nyc.com

An artisanal bakery that supplies the city’s top restaurants with their handmade, Old World- style breads, The Essex Street Market location is their first retail operation . This is a must for anyone who wants to sample delicious breads and pastries.

Cheese: Saxelby’s Cheesemongers (booth 17) www.saxelbycheese.com

Saxelby’s is the first cheese shop in America to focus solely on American farmstead cheese. The owner, Anne, has brought a very exclusive selection of cheeses from over 30 dairies in the Northeast and beyond. The cheese is shipped directly from the farm to the shop, ensuring the freshest selection and also providing you with cheese unseen anywhere else. Like what you see? They are more than happy to give you a sample.

Hispanic Foods: Batista Grocery (booth 18)

Specializing in Hispanic foods, Batista carries a wide variety of specialty items that vary from tropical fruits and vegetables (think yucca, plantains, and coconuts), coffees, and breads to hard-to-find Hispanic favorites. They also carry a wide variety of spices and Latin American specialty products.

Restaurant: Shopsins General Store (booth 16) www.shopsins.com

Having been forced to relocate from Greenwich Village (sky-rocketing rents), Kenny Shopsin brought his extensive menu (900 items) to the Essex Street Market. With Time Out New York billing Shopsin as “the foul- mouthed middle-aged chef and owner,” you know that you are in for a treat. Shopsin has specific rules for his establishment as there are no more than four people allowed at a table, no substitutions, everyone must get a meal and absolutely no complaining. You may not agree with his style, but you have to give props to a man who has created a dining empire with only a handful of tables, has a nasty attitude and still manages to attract a line around the market.

Essex Street Market

120 Essex Street (at Delancey) J, M, Z to Essex or F, V to Delancey

Open Monday- Saturday from 8am-7pm (closed Sundays)

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Celebrate Earth Day 2010 with some Greenmarket lovin’!

With today being Earth Day and all, I think its only fitting to detail my love and admiration for the city’s commitment to promoting the local farmer through its widespread adoption and cultivation of the Greenmarket!

Since moving to NYC three years ago, I have been a devoted shopper of the famed Union Square Greenmarket, where in the peak season more than 60,000 people pass through the stalls! Below find a list of my favorite Greenmarkets in and around the city. Instead of popping into your local Gristedes, Eli’s, Whole Foods, or Associated Supermarket…head over to one of these markets and enjoy shopping with other New Yorkers clamoring to get their hands on the  freshest sustainable produce.

My personal faves:

Tribeca: Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8-3pm on Greenwich Street between Chambers and Duane Streets

Upper West Side 77th Street: Sundays from 8-4pm on Columbus Avenue between 77th and 79th Streets

Union Square: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8-6pm on Union Square West between 15th to 17th Streets

Fort Greene: Saturdays from 8-5pm on Washington Park between DeKalb Avenue and Willoughby

Greenpoint: Saturdays from 8-3pm on Union Avenue between Driggs and N 12th Street

Why Buy at a Greenmarket?

Yes, it is easier to pop over to your local grocery store and pick up what you need, but why not wait until the weekend to stock up on all of your favorite fruit and vegetables? Not only will you save money (we all know how crazy NYC supermarket prices are), but you will be helping support local farmers and the environment.

Greenmarkets preserve farmland (keeps local family farms in business), strengthen rural economies (80% of farmers report that without the Greenmarket they would be out of business), provide food security (bring healthy eating to neighborhoods that lack fresh food), improve neighborhood economies (brings money to neighborhood businesses), and educates the public (each year thousands of students get the chance to taste fresh produce and meet the people who grow it).

Greenmarkets are good for the environment!

Greenmarket Farmers and Vendors promote sustainability (using sustainable practices with many being organic), help keep our water supply clean, conserve energy (transporting food across long distances uses a tremendous amount of energy, while local foods travel very short distances), and promote biodiversity (local farmers grow thousands of variety of fruits and vegetables which help preserve our food heritage, many supermarkets do not have a variety of options).

Top Restaurants in NYC buy at Greenmarkets!

Chefs from around  the city head to their local Greenmarket to buy produce and products for daily specials, etc. These include (but are not limited to) Clinton St Baking Company, Prune, The Spotted Pig, Wallse, Union Square Cafe, Resto, Broadway East, Cookshop…I could go on and on and on!

What’s available now McKenzie?

With Spring in full bloom, we have an abundance of new items popping up around the city! I myself am happy knowing that root vegetables are not the only option now! With May fast approaching, get ready for the onslaught of greens!!!! You will soon start to see asparagus, beet greens, mesclun, radishes, rhubarb, scallions, spinach,and turnip greens on the tables! And it only gets better with summer around the corner… I myself have a countdown to the day when berries, tomatoes, and cherries first hit the city.

Remember, it’s the little things you do everyday that help yourself, your city, and the environment. Happy Earth Day!

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Weekend Must: Hit up the Hester Street Fair!

A few months back, it was reported that former MTV News Host Suchin Pak was trying to revive the famed Hester Street market for the 2010 outdoor market season (around the turn of the century it was the busiest outdoor market in New York City), and now Lower Manhattanites can rejoice in the fact that this has become a reality!

Beginning this Saturday April 24th, the intersection of Hester and Essex will be jam-packed with all that the Lower East Side has to offer (food, clothes, provisions, furniture, etc).

As always with these markets, the food offerings seem to be the crown jewel with local favorites like Luke’s Lobster, The Meatball Shop, Mile End, An Choi, and Pain D’Avignon Bakery showcasing, sampling and selling their delectable goodies to the hungry masses.

And although my heart still belongs to my local Brooklyn Flea, I am super excited for another neighborhood market to burst onto the scene. With my sister Mallory coming to visit this weekend- you will definitely find us perusing the aisles and scarfing down popsicles, meatballs, and lobster rolls.

Hester Street Fair

Intersection of Hester and Essex (East Broadway F stop)

http://www.hesterstreetfair.com

***open every Saturday and Sunday (starting April 24th from 10am-6pm) from April-December rain or shine

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