October 2012

El Jardin del Pueblo grows in East New York

GrowNYC is proud to announce the completion of El Jardin del Pueblo, a 5,300 square-foot community garden at 2358 Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. El Jardin del Pueblo was originally three vacant lots owned by NYC's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The community based organization Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation approached HPD with the idea of turning the lot into a temporary hub for community building, urban agriculture, and organic chicken production.

In April, GrowNYC started site work on El Jardin, and brought 50 volunteers from Timberland to the garden for Earth Day 2012. Our Timberland volunteers cleared 2 of the 3 lots, covered the garden with landscape fabric and mulch, built 30 raised garden beds, and installed a 1,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system.

In June, the garden received 25 heirloom chickens, which produce organic eggs that are distributed to the garden's members.

In September, GrowNYC and volunteers from Bank of America cleared the 3rd vacant lot, laying down landscape fabric and mulch, and prepping the site for further development.

In October, GrowNYC and volunteers from Swiss Re developed the 3rd lot, building 5 raised beds, constructing and raising a 200 square foot shade structure, installing a 500 gallon rainwater harvesting system, and building 2 picnic tables.

A huge thanks to all of our volunteers, to NYC HPD, and to Cypress Hills Local Development Corp!

The Gift of Good Rye

Lovers of rye, unite! For those who think rye is just for monster pastrami sandwiches served to tourists at Carnegie Deli, think again. The versatile whole grain played the starring role in every dish of a dinner served in late September as part of the ongoing Rye Bread Project. The project was co-founded by Copenhagen-based chef and regional farming advocate Trine Hahnemann, and is part of a larger movement to reintroduce heritage rye grains to the northeastern U.S. It kicked off two years ago with a similar feast of traditional Nordic, rye-infused recipes. This time around, though, a significant new development was cause for celebration: the generous donation of 24 varieties of heritage rye seeds by the Norwegian-based Svalbard Global Seed Vault - a feat that took Trine these interim two years to accomplish. In the ceremonial capstone of the evening, Trine handed Greenmarket's Regional Grains Director June Russell a burlap satchel containing a symbolic handful of the seeds, grown by Danish farmers, which create a grain superior to the cover crop rye used in the U.S. A much larger donation of these seeds is en route to Agronomist Elizabeth Dyck of OGRIN, who will then distribute them to farmers in the region who will plant them as the beginning of a long-term testing process. What better way to celebrate the symbolic re-introduction of rye to our region than devouring it in a succulent array of forms! The lavish feast was hosted by New Amsterdam Market, and served to some of rye’s most devoted advocates in the market’s historic office at the South Street Seaport. Using local ingredients, Trine transformed the extraordinarily nutritious grain into rye flakes for a cauliflower gratin, pastry for a kale-pine nut tart, the nutty cooked whole grain in a butternut squash salad, and the crumble in a traditional Danish apple dessert featuring layers of homemade applesauce and whipped cream. Completing the table was of course the bread: Trine’s delectable rye focaccia, and the beloved Finnish Ruis bread -- a 100% whole grain, flat, round loaf that has been a fixture of Finnish life since time immemorial -- baked by Simo Kuusisto of Nordic Breads. June Russell, one of several speakers at the event, talked about how far the regional grain movement has come in spurring farmers to once again grow crops like heritage wheat, emmer and spelt -- mainstays in the region during pre-industrial days -- thanks to a growing market for these crops among chefs, bakers, millers, malters, and other grain-focused enterprises. Inexplicably, rye has lagged behind these other crops in the grain resurgence. Until now. With the continued success of the Regional Grains Project, the Rye Bread Project, and other exciting efforts promoting the regional food system, we can expect lots more meals like this in New York’s culinary future!

Into the Night: Presenting the Harlem Pop-Up Greenmarket

We're proud to announce the Harlem Pop-Up Greenmarket, New York City’s first nighttime farmers market! The market will take place on Thursday, October 11th from 4pm to 9pm at W. 117th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd., and is brought to you by GrowNYC, the Frederick Douglas Boulevard Alliance, and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. Fresh and local fruits, vegetables, cheese, wine, flowers, baked goods, and prepared foods from neighborhood restaurants. Visitors will also enjoy live music, refreshments, and a pumpkin patch. Cash, credit/debit, EBT/SNAP benefits accepted. EBT/SNAP benefit customers will receive an extra $2 Health Buck voucher for every $5 spent. Harlem Pop-Up Greenmarket Thursday, October 11, 4 – 9 p.m. W. 117th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard [map] (on the same site as the Treasure Chest Flea Market)

Greenmarket Producers:

King Ferry Winery – Wine by the glass from Cayuga County, New York Valley Shepherd Creamery – Sheep’s milk cheese, yogurt and gelato from Morris County, New Jersey Hot Bread Kitchen – Multi-ethnic artisan breads and tortillas from New York County, New York Breezy Hill Orchard – Pears, apples, cider and baked goods from Dutchess County, New York Glebocki Farm – Vegetables from Orange County, New York Ronnybrook Dairy Farm – Milk, yogurt, butter and ice cream from Columbia County, New York Nolasco’s Farm – Vegetables, Mexican specialty produce and herbs from Warren County, New Jersey Andrew’s Local Honey – Honey and honey products from Fairfield County, Connecticut Pumpkin Patch sale provided by Nolasco’s Farm.

Harlem Establishments Providing Prepared Foods and Flowers:

Franz James Floral Harlem Shambles Lido 5 and Diamond Harlem Tavern Zoma