Greenmarket

Health Bucks are Back!

From now until November, while supplies last, for every $5 you spend with your EBT card at one of our Greenmarkets, you will receive a $2 Health Bucks coupon good for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables in the market.

The Health Bucks initiative was developed by the NYC Health Department District Public Health Offices and in 2013, GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets distributed over $260,000 worth of Health Bucks at 51 market locations. The increase of 40% in buying power can help increase a Food Stamp budget and encourage shoppers to spend more of their monthly Food Stamp allotment on fresh produce from the market. Overall, this innovative program helps GrowNYC/Greenmarket provide additional opportunities for shoppers to access fresh and affordable produce in NYC.

Ever wondered if you might qualify for EBT/Foodstamp benefits? There are over 500,000 people in New York City that qualify for EBT/Foodstamps but do not receive them. Several of our markets will be holding EBT screening sessions throughout the summer to help New Yorkers find out if they qualify for Foodstamps and provide them with resources on how to file for those benefits. Partners including The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, The Food Bank of New York City, and The Met Council will be on hand at Union Square Greenmarket through the end of August on Mondays and Fridays from 9 am to 2 pm and at other markets throughout the summer and fall. Visit your local market webpage to find out if they will be hosting an upcoming screening.   

Learn more about GrowNYC's EBT and Food Access programs.

The New Greenmarket Cookbook is here!

Just in time to guide you through the abundance of summer at Greenmarket, with bright berries, crisp pole beans, and every size, shape and color of heirloom tomato, The New Greenmarket Cookbook has arrived!

Written by Gabrielle Langholtz, the book shares recipes from 100 of our favorite chefs. These dishes spotlight seasonal, local ingredients – from fluke to freekeh to fingerlings - available at what Chef Michael Anthony calls, "one of our most precious resources in New York City."

Beyond recipes, the book offers 20 stories of Greenmarket farmers, fishers, millers, sugarmakers and beekeepers. Nevia No of Bodhi Tree Farm divulges the secrets behind her impeccable farmstand, and Chip Kent of Locust Grove Fruit Farm tells tales of Union Square’s local color in the early days of Greenmarket. The chefs within the book’s pages are some of these farmers’ very best customers, encouraging them to grow new things and eagerly gobbling up the farmers’ own experiments. The New Greenmarket Cookbook celebrates these relationships as well as providing delicious recipes simple enough for the home cook.

You’ll find it at every retailer and at your neighborhood Greenmarket. Keep checking this page for details, and happy cooking!

Regional Grains Project Samples Single Malt at Breuckelen Distilling

 
The Greenmarket Regional Grains Project witnessed accidental greatness recently during a visit to Breuckelen Distilling, where we sampled a fresh batch of single malt whiskey in the company of the masterminds behind its creation: grain farmer Thor Oechsner, maltsters Andrea and Christian Stanley of Valley Malt, and head distiller and owner Brad Estabrooke.
 
"That single malt is certainly the most exciting thing we are doing at the moment," said Brad.
 
And to think that the malt, which Brad called "perfect," came from barley that was all but useless after being pounded by the 2013 rains.
 
Thor credits Andrea for rediscovering the lost art of "providence malting -- an old technique for sprouted barley," he said. "She is the star here. She saved my crop for Brad. She figured out how to work with it."
 
A budding regional grains system at work! Just a few years ago the sprouted barley would have meant a major loss for Thor. Instead, the flourishing new markets of local malt, local whiskey and local beer mean that Thor can remain financially viable, continue feeding the regional demand for grains, and thrive as one of the region's finest farmers. And thanks to people like Andrea, Christian and Brad, that means we drinkers get to taste those grains in our favorite beers and spirits.  
 
Here's the story in Andrea's words....
 
Visiting Breuckelen was the highlight of our visit to Brooklyn where we were able to see our malt in action. Being in a room together with the farmer and distiller is a rare occurrence for me as I am usually just hanging out with my malt, but not always seeing where it goes.
 
The backstory of the barley and the malt we made for Brad was really interesting, or at least interesting if you are a malt nerd like me. 2013 was a cruel year for grains in the Northeast. We were plagued with rain in the most inopportune times, especially right when the barley was supposed to be harvested. Thor's winter barley was beautiful to look at, but under the surface something had happened when all that rain hit it after it had matured. The natural tendency of the barley seed is to sprout and reproduce. However we don't want this to happen in the field, we want it to happen in the malthouse.
 
We identified that Thor's barley had pre-harvest sprouting through a Falling-Numbers test and attempted to malt it with little luck. Textbooks say PHS is a deal breaker for the maltster. The first batches we tried to malt went for animal feed.
 
Then luck struck in November. The barley/malt/whisky Gods decided to intervene. Through the wisdom of a retired maltster, we learned of an adjusted steep schedule that would allow us to malt this PHS barley. We ran a few test batches, got things sprouting and BA-BAM we were making malt from Thor's barley. We sent a few tons to Brad at Breuckelen and he was very happy with the results. In fact the lower PH mash that this malt produced was exactly what he wanted for this single malt whisky. Given the crazy turn of events, I think this should be called Serendipity Single Malt.

Drive Change at Union Square Greenmarket

Our friends at Drive Change are at the Union Square Greenmarket today, March 19, promoting their brand new food truck Snowday and maple syrup. Drive Change is a social enterprise with a fleet of food trucks serving delicious, market-inspired menus and supporting their mission to broaden opportunities for young people coming out of adult jail and prison to help lead them to crime-free lives and bright futures. We spoke with the founder, Jordyn Lexton, about what inspired Drive Change, what it is like running a food truck with no food or restaurant background and where she sees the future of the organization.

How did you get from the idea stage of Drive Change to today, with your first truck up and running?
 
For three years, I taught adolescent inmates (ages 16-18) years old on Rikers. During that time, I learned that NY State is one of two states (North Carolina the other) that sets the age of adult criminal responsibility at 16 years old; that means that if you get arrested when your sixteen or older you are automatically considered an adult in the system. As a result, you spend time in adult jail and you are likely to leave with an open felony conviction as opposed to a juvenile adjudication - future job and educational opportunities become restricted post release and recidivism is very high. Adult jail/prison is no place for youth - and I saw too many of my students, who were full of potential and desire to live crime free futures recycle back into the system. They told me they needed real quality jobs and I thought that a opening a business would be a good way to support them financially, provide a source of revenue for potential programing and teach transferable skills. Drive Change was born in concept in Feb 2012 - I left my full time job and set out on a journey to make it happen.
 
Why did you decide a food truck was the best way to connect with youth just out of prison? 
 
The answer to this question is tri-fold: 
 
1. MOBILITY AND VISIBILITY - I like the idea that the truck would be able to move to different areas and connect with the NYC public. I liked this for two reasons: 1. We could communicate advocacy around the age of criminal responsibility and other criminal justice issues to more New Yorkers to inspire community involvement; 2. The truck becomes a place for socialization and connection which is good both for the young people we are working with but also for the public at large - we believe that by being visible and hospitable we dismantle preconceived notions that people have about formerly incarcerated people. 
 
2. THE FOOD INDUSTRY - As Chef Roy acknowledges often food has a transformative power - it can transcend race, class and cultural divide. At Drive Change and by extension, at Snowday, we embrace the philosophy of the communal table. Over meals, people connect, forge empathy and change evolves organically. The food industry also happens to be an industry that is receptive to hiring people with criminal records - it is traditionally a place where people can rise through the ranks without formal education and still be deemed "successful" and valuable. 
 
3. TRANSFERABLE SKILLS - At Drive Change, we teach transferable skills through the mechanism of the food truck work. I realized early on that recidivism is not combated simply with employment; we must provide more than just a job to the young people that we work with. The food truck industry is creative, it is rooted in transferable skill learning around the areas of social media and marketing (you have to know Twitter well and keep you digital life active to be successful), money management and accounting (we will use our POS system as a tool to teach young people about financial management and small business ownership) and hospitality. Culinary arts will be taught as well, but hospitality is our pulse. It is with hospitality - the kind that, as Danny Meyer describes, exists purely when you believe the other person is "on your side" - that we will be able to guide all of our practice and create opportunities for the young people involved. 
 
 
You managed the Kimchi Taco truck to prepare for running Drive Change, what was that experience like for you? Did you have any food or restaurant experience before you started on the food truck?
 
I had ZERO food/restaurant experience before Kimchi Taco, unless you're counting eating. If you're counting eating, I had PLENTY of that. So, I had a taste for it, but I knew that starting a food business with no food management/business experience was beyond lofty, it was illogical. I learned the business, learned how hard it was, figured out what to do about food truck permits, networked with other food truck business owners, got my own licenses and credentials and built a foundation for what kind of food the public would enjoy. The food truck business is a volatile one and we know that even with the preparation we've done we are going to hit roadblocks, but working in the field gave me insight that makes it possible - I speak the language now. 
 
How did you decide on maple syrup to be the theme of your first truck, Snowday?
 
I had one food while traveling in Canada that really blew my mind and got me thinking about starting a food truck: it was sugar on snow. Sugar on Snow is fresh snow with hot maple syrup poured on top. It's awesome and it's really hard to find anyone outside of Canada, Vermont, Upstate NY, New Hampshire. As I began to explore maple syrup, I learned that NY is the third largest producers of the commodity - which is awesome because it allows us to source all of our syrup locally and promote the local product...no more traveling up to Canada for amazing maple syrup! 
 
What are the future plans for Drive Change? Would you ideally like to expand outside of NYC?
 
We see ourselves growing into a fleet of food trucks. We would like to scale about a truck a year. With each truck, we can work with 30 young people per year [and] we see ourselves operating across the county, licensing the model/curriculum and expanding to multiple cities throughout the US (eventually even internationally). We also hope to be full self-sustaining in 5 years, as the sales from the truck(s) recycle back into the organization to subsidize the program costs. We are excited to grow/expand but we recognize that with growth comes shift in modality and our ability to be super hands on. So, while growth may come in time, we are heavily focused on quality over quantity. 
 

 

Farm Aid 2013 Highlights

Farm Aid has just released a highlights video from the press event at their 2013 conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.  

GrowNYC's Youthmarket program, which has run a farm stand at Farm Aid for the past few years, is joined on the dais by Farm Aid President and co-founder Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Farm Aid's Executive Director Carolyn Mugar.

Check out the video and learn more about Youthmarket!

Gisella Isidori Reveals Her Secrets to Making Pasta with Local Grains

Bakers are doing it. Brewers are doing it. Why not pasta makers?  We're, of course, talking about incorporating local grains like heritage wheat, barley and emmer into pasta making. As the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project continues to spread the word about the growing availability of northeast-grown grains, we can't stop thinking about the wonders they could do for fresh pasta. If only we had a fairy Italian grandmother to show us how it’s done…

Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain, clearly must have been listening to our pleas and answered them with Gisella Isidori, a fairy Italian grandmother to call our own. 

A long-time friend of Greenmarket and the New York City restaurant world, Gisella has worked for more than 30 years as an Italian food and travel consultant in both the U.S. and Italy. She also really knows her pasta. In the 1980s she ran a pasta business in NYC called Ciao Italia. Gisella also boasts a decades-old love affair with grains: spelt, quinoa, wild rice, you name it. It seems there isn’t a grain out there she hasn’t transformed into incredible pastas. 

In October, Gisella delighted GRGP by giving a class on making pasta the true Italian way in our home kitchen, and again the following day at the Union Square Greenmarket. 

We stood with rapt attention across the counter from her, as she kneaded dough with stamina, strength and precision befitting the generations of Italian women who came before her. Using no more or no less than the right proportions of flour and salt, with a little olive oil and water, Gisella tirelessly kneaded four doughs -- buckwheat, einkorn, emmer and chestnut -- making each round of pasta the perfect texture of silky and smooth. 

While her technique varied little from recipe to recipe, the results were unique to each flour's grain. The emmer revealed a nutty sweetness, whereas the einkorn was far earthier. The buckwheat was smooth with a beautiful lavender-gray tone, and then mixed with a whole wheat double zero flour for a spectacular finish in the traditional Northern Italian dish called Pizzoccheri. Gisella waxed sentimental about the dish, recalling childhood memories growing up near the Swiss border in Northern Italy, where buckwheat was a staple at her family’s table. 

Gisella comes from a generation that knows the value of good food, and lets nothing go to waste. After everything was rolled, cut and cooked, the scraps were saved—all the different pasta leftovers rolled into one ball. “Dry it out for a few days, and then grate it over a pot of boiling water” for a delicious "massa grattata,” she instructed. 

We will keep trying to get our technique down, but we can't promise we'll ever be able to give it her delizioso touch. Grazie Mille Gisella! 

Make sure you watch the video and look at the pictures showcasing Gisella's exciting pasta demonstrations!  

 

A Day in the Life: Greenmarket Market Manager Lisa Valinsky

 
5:00 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. 
 
5:09 a.m.: Alarm goes off again. This time, I get up, a bit sleepy. I put water on for tea, make a big bowl of cereal with thawed out berries from the freezer, and check the weather forecast. It only feels like 30 degrees, so that means I only have to wear three layers of pants today. Woohoo!
 
5:35 a.m.: Take the puppy out for a quick walk. It's quiet out there, and yes, it's feeling pretty warm (for February).
 
5:45 a.m.: Make a green smoothie to bring for lunch. It's loaded with Gajeski Produce spinach, and fills a quart-sized mason jar. Perfect.
 
6:00 a.m.: Publish a 79th Street update to Facebook, grab my compost, and I'm out the door.
 
6:10 a.m.: Arrive at market. Carlton from King Ferry Winery has arrived, so I say hello and we chat about the weather. I've found, in Greenmarket, just as in farming, we talk about the weather a lot. I also note the one car parked in our lane.
 
6:15 a.m.: Organize my stuff for the day, relishing in the relative quiet of an early Sunday on Columbus Avenue.
 
6:40 a.m.: The northern Manhattan van has arrived. Phebe is here! We start unloading tents, tables, bins, signs, and loads of other equipment.
 
6:45 a.m.: Red Jacket Orchards, one of our new producers at 79th Street, has arrived. A few phone calls and texts later, I get them settled into their space.
 
6:55 a.m.: Back to unloading the van. A table here, a tent there.
 
7:15 a.m.: Greet farmers and workers as they arrive. I chat with Nikki from Hot Bread Kitchen about a few food happenings in the city. Jerry, our compost coordinator, has arrived, so we catch up. The whole time we're talking I'm scanning through the market, keeping an eye out for anything that needs attending, or anyone who needs help. Early morning at 79th Street often leads to lots of vehicle maneuvering.
 
7:40 a.m.: Today's a coffee kind of day. I run over to World Coffee across the street.
 
7:45 a.m.: Troubleshoot, problem solve, take phone calls, answer texts, greet new vendors, and figure out placements of stands. All in a day's work as a market manager.
 
8:15 a.m.: Someone's waving for me to greet the tow truck driver. I run over to show which car needs to be relocated.
 
8:25 a.m.: Set up our information tent and display. We've got a whole bunch of literature to display, so I set up the apple crate and baskets and make a basic set up before my coworker Nicole gets to market at 10:00 a.m.
 
9:00 a.m.: Walk through the market again. I like to say hello and check to make sure everyone has shown up on time. We have two new vendors this week - Red Jacket Orchards and Mountain Sweet Berry Farm - that means it's time for a little social media. I take photos of their beautiful displays, and do some promotion on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

 
9:15 a.m.: Brainstorm with Jerry about how to get the word out more about our composting program. We fill 13 bins most weeks, but know we have a lot more people to reach. I chat a bit with a local food blogger about having her do a food demo for us this spring. She mentions dumplings, which sound like a great idea.
 
9:30 a.m.: It's market report time! I go to each producer and check them off for all types of at-market rules: arrived on time to market, tent secured, farm sign displayed, price signs displayed, purchased items sign up, baked goods ingredients sign up, and all kinds of other things. I take my time making sure everything looks in order.
 
10:20 a.m.: Rinzin from Knoll Krest hands me a lemon tart to try.
 
10:30 a.m.: Head back to our tent to say hi to Nicole, who manages 79th Street's promotions and EBT. We chat about the upcoming day, as we're planning to celebrate Chinese New Year with longevity noodles and poem writing.
 
10:45 a.m.: Brian of Gajeski Produce stops by the tent to greet us. He always checks in on Sundays.
 
11:00 a.m.: Design a sign for our new vendors, and bring it to the composting center to display.
 
11:10 a.m.: Andrew's arrived. He's our weekly volunteer, which is a huge help at this market. I start out by asking him to give breaks to farmers.
 
11:20 a.m.: Green smoothie drinking and Chinese New Year poem writing time. While writing, we have a few customers stop by to get EBT and debit/credit tokens.
 
11:45 a.m.: John from Red Jacket hands me a hot cider.

 
12:00 p.m.: Nicole and Andrew are busy preparing the noodle dish, so I make the rounds to give breaks to anyone working on their own. I break DiPaola Turkeys and Ronnybrook, Hudson Valley Duck and Berkshire Berries.
 
12:50 p.m.: Check in on the demo. It smells delicious. Our regional coordinator, Margaret, has stopped by, so we chat and I get some more social media going with photos of the noodles.
 
1:40 p.m.: More breaks! This time it's with Francesca's Bakery, Knoll Krest, and Lavender By the Bay. As I make my rounds, I check in with producers to see how the day is going, and grab a white bean and collard greens turnover from Body & Soul Bakery. The market's been hopping with this gorgeous springlike weather and lots of people are out and about.
 
2:45 p.m.: When I check in with Las Delicias, I get handed a chocolate Chunk of Heaven. It sure is. When I check-in with Divine Brine, I get handed a Devilish Dill pickle. I declare that it's my new favorite Divine Brine pickle.
 
2:50 p.m.: I'm back at the tent to find one of our regular customers. She always stops by with her two little Yorkshire Terriers, so I tell her how we're planning to do a dog portrait day this spring. We look at a potential spot for setting it up, and talk about potential volunteers. 79th Street is a big dog market, so we're hoping it'll be a big success.
 
3:00 p.m.: Nicole's off to do token redemptions with the farmers, so I stay at the tent. 
 
3:15 p.m.: Phebe is back from Columbia Greenmarket early! I start packing up the bins and chat with a few customers about the day's food demo, recipes, and Greenmarket's requirements for selling at market.
 
3:50 p.m.: Nicole is done and back at the tent, so I gather up my things and we chat about possible food demos for next week. We're always scheming with promo and demo ideas.
 
4:10 p.m.: I see a very familiar-looking puppy out of the corner of my eye...it's my husband and puppy, here to pick me up! I'm done for the day, so we wander through the market, picking up greens, eggs, and lavender sachets along the way. It's been a long day, but one with beautiful weather, and of course, lots of great food.

 

Greenmarket Director Visits Bologna, Italy

In September, Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz had the incredible honor and privilege to visit Bologna, Italy to speak at a conference framed around feeding the planet in a sustainable way. Here is a re-cap of the trip in his words. 

My presentation specifically focused on the many roles farmers’ markets play: creating centers of community activity, driving regional economy and providing meaningful opportunities for small farms to thrive, as well as educating children, consumers and policy makers on the issues associated with sustainable agriculture, and among numerous other benefits, piloting city-wide initiatives such as residential food scrap collections. And while the marketplace needs no introduction in Italy, their farming communities share many of the same challenges facing those here in the States.

My most precious time on the trip was spent discussing potential solutions to those challenges with my dear host and ally, Paolo Russo, who I met years ago in New York City when he represented food producers from Italian mountain communities, working to have their products sold globally. And the highlight, not just of the trip but of 2013, was the time I spent in Sarsina with Paolo and his colleague Lucio Cangini, the former Director of Mountain Regions in Italy. Now Lucio is a philosopher, activist, mentor, inspiration, and an artist: his painting, Trans-Democracy, a commentary on the changing nature of democracy inspired by the Arab Spring, now hangs on my kitchen wall. Our conversation lasted hours, most of which were spent over lunch at La Maschere, a slice of heaven situated in the mountains of Cesena. 

It’s times like these that I wish I had a sophisticated vocabulary- as I am incapable of adequately describing the culinary experience that chef Federico Tonetti provided that day. Our second course, the Squacquerone made with milk from the town, was like nothing I’ve tasted prior- freshness was redefined that afternoon; and when we told Chef Tonetti that we couldn’t possibly eat dessert after our Cappelette with speck and white truffles floating in a pigeon broth, he opened his “favorite” American wine, a Mondavi Cabernet, the perfect complement to the lamb chops stuffed with anchovy that quickly followed.

That day was four men, two of whom spoke no English and one who spoke no Italian, bonding over the sharing of food and ideas. Lucio laments the cultural and economic loss of the traditional Italian mountain town, as younger generations leave the countryside believing their futures are elsewhere- you can see and hear the sadness as well the hope as he speaks. Together we discussed Greenmarket’s work to provide viable economic opportunities for farmers and the role we play in maintaining rural communities and farms, demonstrating to the next generation that there can be a real future in agriculture. I cherish those hours we spent that day and I look forward to sitting with Lucio again, either here in New York or back in Italy- preferably- to learn from a sage who has seen such transformation in his lifetime and worked effortlessly to strengthen community. And I am eternally grateful to Chef Tonetti for his incredible generosity and providing me a culinary experience that can never be matched.

I left Sarsina that day both physically and emotionally exhausted and exhilarated, thinking I was heading back to Bologna for a quiet last afternoon. I had no idea that part two of this incredible day was 45 minutes away in Bertinoro, a gorgeous hill town overlooking the Adriatic Sea. We were greeted by Giampaolo Amadori, a man larger than life, who is both the CEO of the Central University of Bertinoro as well as of the Foundazione Alma Mater Eventi, among the many other titles he carries. He’s basically The Man in all things Bertinoro if not the region itself.

Giampaolo had arranged a special tour of the Interfaith Museum, located in the dungeon of the 11th Century Bishop’s Fortress, which is dedicated to promoting dialogue between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. From there we walked the town, and of course ended the day with yet another meal. And while it felt sacrilegious to eat after the experience at La Maschere, the Piadina extravaganza at the roadside stand was as perfect an end to my trip as one could hope. These flatbread sandwiches, stuffed with pumpkin, cheese and spinach, which of course I had no problem putting down, were a game changer. And the company and the conversation were pretty amazing too.

These experiences did not occur in a vacuum, but rather took place in a context of exchange and education. I was invited to Italy to share my experiences and ideas how to address the gaps in our food system and the challenges that industrial production creates. This event was organized by BolognaFiere and CAAB- the Agribusiness Centre of Bologna- essentially the equivalent of our Hunt’s Point Produce Cooperative in New York. It functions as the major fruit and vegetable distribution center of Northern Italy, though it is operated by rather different standards and organizational structure as well as guiding values.

CAAB is primarily owned by the City of Bologna and the University; only 3% is held by the co-op members and banks. CAAB is a shining example of what is possible here in New York City, as this structure allows for the market to serve the best interests of all involved- farmers, distributors, consumers, and the houses. There’s even a community garden on its grounds that I had the privilege of helping to inaugurate with Bologna’s Mayor, Virginio Merola, during my visit.

I am deeply grateful to Duccio Caccioni and Andrea Segré for welcoming me so generously and for their incredible work building a more just and sustainable food system. Andrea is the President of CAAB as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna and Duccio serves as the Marketing & Quality Manager at CAAB and is a regular contributor to Fresh Point Magazine. I look forward to continuing my and hopefully New York City’s dialogue with Andrea, Duccio, Mayor Merola, Lucio, and Giampaolo, creating real cultural exchanges and promoting the food capitals of the world while highlighting shared values and visions. 2014 has much to bring, and I am excited to bang heads with my dear friend Paolo Russo and guide some of that process.

GrowNYC Community Compost Partner Profile: Gowanus Canal Conservancy

GrowNYC collects food scraps and other organic waste at various Greenmarkets around the city to distribute to local compost partners in the surrounding area. With the help of community volunteers, New York City’s recycled food scraps are transformed into a nutrient rich soil amendment for farming and greening purposes throughout the five boroughs.

A few minutes’ walk from the F train, Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s (GCC) Salt Lot hosts a monthly compost windrow build for volunteers from around the city. November’s volunteers included about a dozen students from the Brooklyn Technical High School’s Red Cross Club, a group of elementary students from a Bed-Stuy Charter School, and a myriad of volunteers simply happy to enjoy an outdoor-community activity.

Sam and Maria Pruden of Harlem join GCC monthly to participate in composting. Behind Sam and Maria is an illustration of the compost build and process.

The volunteers arrived ready to tackle the record-breaking 10,000 pounds of food scraps that had been collected from four Greenmarkets the day before. The bins of food scraps are dumped and mixed in a large pile on the ground with leaves and yard scraps, taking about 4 hours. The pile, or windrow, will sit for two weeks, and then be turned by a GCC staff member once a week for the following four weeks, before it is sifted to make a final product. At the end of these six weeks, GCC has a fertile soil amendment for tree pits and rain gardens that help prevent polluted water from entering the canal.

Two students from Brooklyn Technical School’s Red Cross Club carry a bin of food scraps to the compost pile to be mixed with leaves and other dry yard trimmings.

GCC Coordinators Jared McGuire and Christine Petro, sift processed compost to make final product with a Bed-Stuy group leader.

Christine Petro has been volunteering with GCC for almost two years and has noticed a steady increase in the amount of food scraps being delivered from the weekend markets over the past three months. Salt Lot is just one of many community compost sites around the city. Asked about the objective of these local projects, she says, “The objective is twofold: to have a positive environmental impact for the surrounding community, and also to teach the practice of composting for educational and applications going forward.”

Jared McGuire and Christine Petro, GCC Volunteer Coordinators.

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:

Caradonna Farms: Trees (Union Square Wednesday, Saturday)
Fiori Di Fenice: Wreaths (Union Square, Saturday) 
Floral Beauty Greenhouse: Douglass fir trees (Columbia, Sunday)
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 (12/18), Friday (12/20), Saturday; Grand Army Plaza, Saturday (12/7)
Van Houten Farms: Trees and wreaths (Union Square, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)

Pages