Greenmarket

Union Square Greenmarket hosts Leanne Brown for a Signing of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day

GrowNYC's Union Square Greenmarket is thrilled to be hosting cookbook author Leanne Brown for a signing of her book Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day on Saturday, July 11 from 11 am to 1 pm. We asked the avid home cook and food-studies scholar what inspired her to write Good and Cheap and what she learned about cooking on a strict $4 a day budget, the average US food stamp budget. Even if you aren't working within a fixed food budget, Leanne's book has delicious, healthy recipes and she shared with us some great tips on how Greenmarket shoppers can get the most bang for their buck.  

Why did you decide to write Good and Cheap?

Good and Cheap started as my thesis project for my Master’s in Food Studies at NYU, and I wanted it to be something that would have a life outside of academia. You know, so that more than my Mom and advisor would read it. I came into the program wanting to spread my love of cooking, and that didn’t diminish with my studies. I have always been infuriated by injustices and I became very interested in the Food Stamps (SNAP) program and was constantly frustrated that the poor don’t seem to have much of a voice in the food movement. 

In short, if you don’t have much money, or you are on Food Stamps, there aren’t many resources to help you do that well. There are non-profits all across the country that are doing great work, but not everyone wants to attend a class or has time to do that. The working poor usually have two jobs and kids and not a lot of time and energy. 22% of children in America live at or below the poverty line! and 44% are classified as living in a low income household. I wanted to create a resource that was empowering, that people could use on their own time and in their own way. So I made Good and Cheap. And since it’s a cookbook for people who can’t afford a cookbook, it made perfect sense to release it online as a free pdf.

Typically, when we see recipes geared toward SNAP recipients or those cooking with limited budgets it seems that they are focused more on the quantity of food each recipe makes rather than the taste or enjoyment of eating what is prepared. In Good and Cheap, that is not the case. What was your inspiration for the recipes that made it into the book and was it challenging to make the recipes so diverse in flavor profiles while staying within the $4 limitation?   

It was challenging, but just required getting into the right mindset. Most foods, even some expensive foods, are affordable some of the time, whether it’s when they’re in season or when they’re on sale. The best thing about cooking is that it is possible to have so many different things with just small changes! It’s like magic. Think about eggs! You can have french style omelettes, spanish style tortillas, bake them in tomato sauce for shakshouka, cover them in chilies, scramble them with rice or noodles. Let alone what can be done when you add sugar to the equation and enter the dessert world. There is so much that CAN be done on $4 a day and while you might eat pb&j some days, other days you can have jambalaya.

You’re absolutely right though. The Good and Cheap perspective is about being careful about the bottom line and focusing on value for money rather than pure quantity. I think that the focus on quantity is a mistake that many budget cookbooks have made. People don’t stop having taste just because they are poor! And no one is going to choose to eat in a way that requires work and planning if it doesn’t have the pay off of tasting great and being satisfying! That’s why I say to buy real butter. It costs a little more than cheap oil, but it adds flavor, and you won’t have to use as much.

What are your top tips for a family that is eating on a very limited budget? Any resources they might find helpful in planning their shopping or meals?

1. Buy foods that can be used in multiple meals. If you love black beans and have 6 recipes that you love that use them, buy ‘em! If you can only think of one way you like them prepared then skip them. For me things I always buy and know I’ll always use are eggs, greens, dried beans and grains, cans of tomatoes and dried pasta. Some will keep forever and I know I’ll use them, and some I eat daily. Figure out what works best for you and your family. 

2. Buy in bulk. It’s just basic economics that buying in larger quantities often means better value. But remember to think about the #1 tip and only buy the stuff you will actually use and enjoy!

3. Start building a pantry slowly. If possible—and admittedly this can be difficult for people living on their own—reserve part of your budget to buy one or two semi-expensive pantry items each week. Things like olive oil, soy sauce, and spices (p. 166) are pricey at first, but if you use just a little with each recipe, they go a long way.
 
4. Think weekly/monthly and think seasonally. Eating well on a small budget generally means buying just a few things and making a few different things out of them. This can seem monotonous, but if you switch up your staples from week to week and month to month, following the seasons, and eating what is cheap, fresh and delicious you will have a varied and exciting diet!

5. More vegetables means more flavor and variety. Put the vegetables and fruits at the top of your list and prioritize them. Yes they are healthy, but they also make meals worth getting excited over! Who wants to eat a big plate of brown?

6. Don’t buy drinks. Simple as that. Prepared drinks are a waste of money. Water is all you need and if you want something else as a treat many drinks can be easily prepared at home.

Cooking Matters, a program of Share our Stength has all kinds of great advice online for eating well on a budget. Also check out stretchrecipes.com where my friend Lauren is designing an app that will help match your budget with a recipes and a meal plan, all using local market data.

What are some tips for Greenmarket shoppers on how to make the most of their dollars at the market?

My tips for farmers market shopping are very similar to those at a regular grocery store. Buy foods that you can use in multiple meals, and if you don’t have much to spend then focus on buying fruits and vegetables, and items in their most raw state rather than prepared foods, some of which can be quite pricy. Buy the local flour rather than the local bread, and the big bunch of carrots and mustard greens rather than the perfectly picked over blends of exotic greens. Those things are marvelous, but tough to fit into a small budget, and you can make great stuff out of your raw ingredients at home.

Another thing, ask the farmer or stand attendant what the best deal is. Just say that you’re trying to save money or don’t have much to spend and you want to make the most of it. Most of them will give great advice! Remember, the farmers aren’t rich themselves so they will know what they would spend on if they were in your position. Take a chance and be open with them and you’ll probably get great advice. Plus if you go often you can establish a relationship and make sure you’re getting the best deals on the best stuff.

What is up next for you and Good and Cheap? Will you keep putting out new recipes or write additional books?

Well I do plan to write another book, but I’m not sure quite what it’ll be yet. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to talk to so many different people all around the country and I plan to do a lot of listening.

The Good and Cheap project has taken on a life of its own and I want to help shepherd it and expand it. In comparison to the scale I’m currently looking at, the appetite for information on how to use limited funds wisely is almost limitless. I want to share more recipes, I hope that leaders in the food world will join with me to share recipes and tips for people with limited incomes. I want all the non-profits using Good and Cheap in their programs to be connected to each other and benefiting from each others experiences. 

I have a lot of big dreams so we’ll see what happens. I’d love to see Good and Cheap, or something like it, distributed with every EBT card. I’d like to see cooking and food shopping taught in schools and made mandatory. I’d like to see classes of kids cooking and sharing lunch together one day a week. I’d love to start a community-kitchen program, like a cooking library where people can borrow equipment and use the space for whatever they want. These kinds of food business incubators already exist and should be expanded, but I’d like to see the same model for people who want to feed their families or neighbors. The same benefits a food business gets from being able to use the big mixer once a week apply to people who would love to make a big batch of fresh pasta and freeze it.

Anything else you’d like to add for those trying to watch their food budgets or even for just any home cook?

There are so many messages everywhere, from our televisions to our grocery stores, that tell us cooking is hard. But cooking is not innately difficult; it’s just a basic skill that requires practice, and the benefits of that practice are a joyful and delicious life! Compare that with packaged foods, which offer little in the way of immediate pleasure, yet cause your health and wallet to suffer in the long term, not to mention your sense of self-worth. If we can change our national attitude about cooking, we can all be a lot more satisfied with the way we eat—oh, and healthier, too. Just start cooking and don’t be hard on yourself. Let yourself be imperfect and follow your own taste, you’ll get new pleasure out of eating if you just let yourself. 

Download a free copy of the cookbook, Good and Cheap:
http://www.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf

All Greenmarkets Are Open on July 4th!


photo courtesy of  thelizabeth

All of our regularly scheduled Saturday Greenmarkets will be open on the 4th of July for all of your picnic and bbq needs. You may find some producers that are not present but we do anticipate an almost full line up at each market. The only market closed for the long weekend will be Staten Island Ferry on Friday, July 3. For those of you looking for Ronnybrook this weekend, they will only be at the following markets: Greenpoint/McCarren Park, Grand Army Plaza, Inwood and Jackson Heights.  

Summer has arrived at the Greenmarket so stop by and pick up everything you need to decorate this patriotic American Flag Cake. And don't forget to follow us on social media to see what's happening at all of our markets all season long. Happy 4th! 

 

GrowNYC Hosts USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden

GrowNYC was thrilled to host US Department of Agriculture’s deputy secretary, Krysta Harden, for a tour of our Union Square Greenmarket and lunch on Monday, June 1. Despite the torrential downpour, Deputy Secretary Harden spent plenty of time walking around the market, sampling products and chatting with Greenmarket farmers about the challenges and rewards of farming in our region. 

Harden herself comes from three generations of farmers in southwest Georgia, and you can hear it in her accent. As Deputy Secretary, she has placed a large focus on ensuring the success of the next generation of farmers and recognizes that in today’s dynamic business climate farmers need more than just a passion for the land but also practical business training and access to land and capital.

GrowNYC's FARMroots Director, Christopher Wayne, introduced her to several graduates of our FARMroots beginning farmer training program, including Nestor Tello of Tello’s Green Farm in Coxsackie, NY, one of the very first graduates of the program, as well as Jane Hodge, Karen Washington, and Michaela Hayes, three of the women who now operate Rise & Root Farm in Chester, NY and recently graduated from the program. 

L to R: USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, Cheryl Huber (GrowNYC Greenmarket), Nestor Tello (Tello’s Green Farm), Christopher Wayne (GrowNYC FARMRoots), Jane Hodge, Michaela Hayes & Karen Washington (Rise & Root Farm),  Olivia Blanchflower (GrowNYC Wholesale and Distribution), Mark Izeman (NRDC), Dennis Derryck (Corbin Hill Farm), Marcel Van Ooyen (GrowNYC)

Additionally, Harden spoke with female farmers from Ole Mother Hubbard Dairy and Apple State Hilltop Family Farm who have worked with FARMroots to implement strategic marketing plans intended to help increase their at-market sales. These women shared their personal journeys into agriculture as well as some of their delicious products. She invited them to participate in the new Women in Agriculture mentoring program that she launched at the USDA to provide a forum for sharing experiences and best practices. 

On a more personal note, the deputy secretary loved the rainbow carrots she found at Norwich Meadows Farm and said turnips are her favorite vegetable. She remarked that the farmers market is one of the only places where you can get them with the delicious tops still attached!

Wholesale Greenmarket Opens for 2015

The Wholesale Greenmarket is now open for the 2015 season! Buy fresh, affordably-priced plants, flowers, and produce direct from farmers from New York State and New Jersey.

The market is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 2am-8am: the early morning hours are tailored to buyers such as food retailers and restaurants, but the Wholesale Greenmarket is open to the public. Whether you are a business owner or a home gardener, a community organization or just cooking for a big family, join us bright and early for great deals on produce and plants in wholesale quantities.

290 Halleck Street (at Viele Ave)
Open Tuesday through Saturday
April 4 – Dec 31, 2015
2 AM to 8 AM

Please note that mainly plants are sold from April-June, with produce starting in July. Please see the Wholesale Greenmarket page for individual farmer contact information.

Watch GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen's TEDx Talk

Watch GrowNYC's Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen take to the stage to deliver a TEDx talk about scaling up local food distribution through Greenmarket Co., New York City's first and only food hub dedicated to supporting regional food producers by making their products available to wholesale buyers throughout the city.

 

Greenmarket Winter Weather Schedule Changes

Inclement weather in the city or in the greater region does effect markets;  markets may close early, or snow-bound farmers may not be able to make it into the city.

No anticipated changes.

Get real-time, up-to-date information on our Facebook pages: 
Union Square Greenmarket Facebook
Manhattan Greenmarket Facebook
Queens Greenmarket Facebook
Brooklyn Greenmarket Facebook 

 

Heritage Wheat in the Hudson Valley

GrowNYC & Greenmarket's Regional Grains Project, in partnership with NOFA-NY and The Culinary Institute of America invite you to join us for Heritage Wheat in the Hudson Valley, Saturday, February 21 at the Danny Kaye Theatre in the Conrad Hilton Library on the campus of the CIA in Hyde Park, NY.

The afternoon will feature a consumer preference tasting of heritage wheat from the Value-Added grains variety trials at 2 pm, followed by a panel discussion at 3 pm on the history of grain production in the Hudson Valley, the science underlying the culinary functionality of heritage grains, and how we can use these breeds to address health and wellness issues and environmental imperatives.  Panelists include: Steffen Schneider, farmer at Hawthorne Valley Farm, Maureen Costura, anthropolgist and food historian at the CIA, and Elizabeth Dyck from the Organic Growers Research and Information-sharing Network (OGRIN) and will be moderated by Chris Loss from The Culinary Institue of America. 

Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for CIA students with ID.

February is Local Spirits Month!

February is Local Spirits Month at SingL Lounge
 
GrowNYC’s Regional Grains Project is co-hosting a month long tasting series on Tuesday evenings in February at SingL Lounge. SingL Lounge’s popular two year-old Tuesday tasting series run by Master Sommelier Roger Dagorn will spend the month highlighting distilleries making their spirits with local, Northeast-grown grains.

Tickets are $25 and include samples of three spirits and snacks. There will be two tastings per evening, the first at 6:30 pm and then again at 7:15 pm. The tastings will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about the distilling process of each spirit directly from the distillers, as well as how these distillers are helping to spearhead the current renaissance of grain growing in the region. Staff from GrowNYC will also be on-hand to discuss the organization’s Regional Grains Project and sell a selection of local grains. 

Tickets are available on Eventbrite here. Proceeds from the tastings will benefit GrowNYC’s Regional Grains Project.

February is Local Spirits Month
SingL Lounge & The Fourth Restaurant
132 Fourth Avenue at 13th Street
Tuesdays in February
6:30 pm & 7:15 pm
February 3 – Orange County Distillery
February 10 – Breuckelen Distilling
February 17 – Hudson Whisky/Tuthilltown
February 24 – NY Distilling Company

Greenmarket Holiday Schedule Changes

Due to the upcoming holidays, there are several changes to the Greenmarket schedule. 
If a market is CLOSED, there will be no food scrap collections and/or textile recycling. 

Monday, December 29
Union Square Greenmarket (Manhattan) OPEN

Tuesday, December 30 
Brooklyn Borough  Hall Greenmarket (Brooklyn) OPEN
Bowling Green Greenmarket (Manhattan) OPEN
Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Greenmarket (Manhattan) OPEN

Wednesday, December 31
Union Square Greenmarket  (Manhattan)  OPEN
Dag Hammarsjkold Greenmarket(Manhattan) CLOSED, food scrap & textile collection cancelled
Bartel-Pritchard Greenmarket (Brooklyn) CLOSED

Thursday, January 1
Bowling Green Greenmarket (Manhattan) CLOSED
Tucker Square Greenmarket (Manhattan) CLOSED
Columbia University Greenmarket (Manhattan) CLOSED, food scrap & textile collection cancelled
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket (Brooklyn) CLOSED, food scrap & textile collection cancelled

Friday, January 2
97th Street Greenmarket (Manhattan) OPEN
Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Greenmarket (Manhattan) OPEN
Union Square Greenmarket (Manhattan) OPEN

Deck the Halls - Christmas Trees + Holiday Wreaths at Greenmarkets

Get your locally grown Christmas trees, wreaths, and boughs from a local farmer. A list of markets where you can stock up on holiday greens follows:

Durr Wholesale: Wreaths (Union Square, Saturday) 
Fiori Di Fenice: Wreaths (Union Square, Saturday) 
Floral Beauty Greenhouse: Douglas fir trees (57th St, Wednesdays, Saturdays; Columbia, Sunday; Jackson Heights Sunday - plants only)
Keith's Farm: Organic trees and wreaths (Union Square Wednesday, Saturday)
Lebak Farms: Wreaths (Grand Army Plaza, Saturday)
Mountain Sweet Berry Farm: Wreaths and princess pines (Union Square, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)
Rexcroft Farm: Trees, wreaths, garlands (Dag Hammarskjold, Wednesday; Fort Greene, Saturday) 
River Garden: Dried flower wreaths (Union Square, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)
Stokes Farm: Herb wreaths (Tucker, Thursday, Saturday; Union Square, Saturday)
Trumansburg Tree Farms: Trees and wreaths (Union Square, Wednesday, Friday (12/19 only) and Saturday; Grand Army Plaza, Saturday)
Van Houten Farms: Trees and wreaths (Union Square, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)

 

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