Locavore Challenge: Week One

To support NOFA-NY's Locavore Challenge, in September our blog will feature food diaries from GrowNYC staff and friends. Don't know what the Locavore Challenge is?

The NY Locavore Challenge is a month-long campaign aimed at engaging consumers across the state in eating local organic foods. The goal for this campaign is to educate consumers about how to make healthy and ethical food choices, cook with in-season, local organic foods, while supporting local sustainable farms and food businesses.

First up, Greenmarket's publicity coordinator Jeanne Hodesh.  Will one of GrowNYC's own be up to the challenge?  Is there really a 26-year old in our office that reproaches herself by saying "For shame, Jeanne?"  Let's find out.

Thursday, Sept 1

I came home from our 35th Anniversary party last night loaded up with four leftover melons from Cherry Lane Farms. My God, are they sweet! That night I made a raw corn salad with some purple onion, basil and cherry tomatoes-- all produce procured on Tuesday at the City Hall Greenmarket, right outside our office on Chambers Street-- to take for lunch the next day. For the first day of the Locavore Challenge, I had a peach for breakfast -- the peaches from Kernan Farm are as big as softballs now, and pack so much flavor, and so much juice for that matter, that I ate is standing over my kitchen sink. I ate the corn salad for lunch, and cracked open one of the baby Charentais melons from Cherry Lane. I ate both at my desk. My co-worker Liz and I were working as fast as we could on getting the word out about damage caused to our upstate farmers by Irene, and frankly, we needed a pick-me-up. When our co-worker surprised us with a bowl of M&Ms and gummi bears, we pounced on it. As I was munching on candy, and already wondering how I'd keep it local for dinner, another colleague came up with a second surprise: an invitation to Back Forty that night for one of Peter Hoffman's famous crab boils. Heck yes! Peter was seated with his family at the table next to ours and came over several times to chat, catching up on the post-storm state of the farms he's shopped from for years to stock his restaurants. It was only slightly awkward to chat with him while my hands were covered in Old Bay and crab meat. Aye. The dinner included three rounds of crabs, corn on the cob, new potatoes, and a really lovely blueberry and peach cobbler. Happy September first!

Friday, Sept 2

I have a dangerous addiction to Baker's Bounty's cinnamon buns. I usually cave at least once a week and eat one for breakfast on either a Tuesday or Friday-- the days the City Hall market lures me over from the office. This is how Day 2 of the Locavore  Challenge began. For lunch I packed the leftover potatoes from the crab boil and some green beans I'd steamed and tossed in butter and salt. I also munched on these incredible little red seedless grapes from Wager's Cider Mill pretty much all day long. In the evening my roommate and I and a pack of friends rode our bikes to Coney Island for the final Friday fireworks show of the summer. The ride along the water, under the Verrazano Bridge was stunning at sunset, and by the time we made it to the board walk, I was starving. I'd thought about packing some more of the green beans, but then got shy and thought our crew would find my locavorism a bit overwrought. Instead I got a vegetarian torta from one of the concession stands which I ate on a beach blanket, in the dark, beneath the amazing fireworks. No one would have noticed my green beans, or cared for that matter. When I got back to Prospect Heights I was craving ice cream. Luckily the bodega outside my subway stop carries Ronnybrook's ice cream. I had a small bowl of coffee when I got home, and chalked up both the torta and the late night ice cream to a necessary last taste of summer.

Saturday, Sept 3

I went to the Fort Greene Greenmarket before breakfast and stocked up on the last of Wilklow Orchards' amazing heirloom tomatoes and stone fruit from Toigo, then biked back to my apartment to eat. I had a nectarine, and then cut up the rest of the melons left over from our 35th celebration. What to do with all that melon??? Melon soup, perhaps? Melon margaritas. My roommate and I managed to eat a good deal of it right then, but there is still so much left over! Then I went up to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket which was as busy as ever. I implored everyone I ran into to buy as many of Evolutionary Organics and Bradley Farms' heirloom tomatoes as they could-- due to severe flood damage, this was the last day either of them would have tomatoes for sale at market. When I got home (with two bunches of gladiolas from Bradley Farms tucked under my arm) I made a killer BLT using Wilklow's tomatoes (half a Green Zebra and half a Yellow Pineapple), duck bacon from Hudson Valley Duck, and smeared a slice of Bread Alone's Tuscan loaf with chive mayonaise. Much later in the day I visited the Smorgasburg where I sampled fresh salsa made by the Brooklyn Grange and Anarchy in a Jar's seasonal apricot jam. Around 7 p.m. I was treated to some insanely good (though probably not local) lamb "lolipops" and Merguez sausage sandwiches at a barbecue to end all barbecues. A second last taste of summer, I told myself.

Sunday, Sept 4

For breakfast I had Tello's Green Farm eggs, sunny side up, topped with chives from Rexcroft Farm and Ray Bradley's famous paprika, a slice of Bread Alone's Tuscan loaf toasted with Ronnybrook butter and Ray's honey, and ate some more of the Wager's red seedless grapes. Over the course of the day I grazed on Toigo nectarines, at a half a tomato sandwich with more Wilklow tomatoes, and then went to a barbecue and a birthday party at which I sampled (local) kale salad, baked beans, Acme smoked fish and Sixpoint beer and (not-so-local) cheese, crackers, banana cream pie.

Sunday, Sept 5

For breakfast I had Tello's Green Farm eggs, sunny side up, topped with chives from Rexcroft Farm and Ray Bradley's famous paprika, a slice of Bread Alone's Tuscan loaf toasted with Ronnybrook butter and Ray's honey, and ate some more of the Wager's red seedless grapes. Over the course of the day I grazed on Toigo nectarines, at a half a tomato sandwich with more Wilklow tomatoes, and then went to a barbecue and a birthday party at which I sampled (local) kale salad, baked beans, Acme smoked fish and Sixpoint beer and (not-so-local) cheese, crackers, banana cream pie.

Monday, Sept 6

Monday, Labor Day, wound up being both a day off of work, and a day off of my commitment to the Locavore Challenge. For shame, Jeanne! I woke up before sunrise to dance to the steel drum bands gathered around the Brooklyn Public Library for J'ouvert, the sunrise party before the West Indian Day parade. When I wandered back down to my neighborhood at 7:30 a.m., I treated myself to a bagel and cream cheese-- not local in the least-- which I took home topped with slices of Wilklow tomatoes. In the afternoon my roommate and some friends walked along Eastern Parkway as we took in the parade and about as much West Indian food as we could handle-- roti, conch fritters, jerk chicken, mac 'n cheese. For shame, for shame! And yet, so delicious. I promise I will do better this week.

Tuesday, Sept 7

Jeanne: Breakfast: Bread Alone Tuscan loaf toast with Ronnybrook butter and Bradley Farm's honey, my last nectarine from Toigo. Lunch: stewed Turtle Beans from Cayuga Pure Organics, the rest of the honeydew melon from Cherry Lane (finally!!), and a slice of homemade plum tart from a truly wonderful co-worker. Plums from Red Jacket Orchards, buckwheat flour crust with flour from Cayuga Pure Organics. Dinner: We ate out at Palo Santo to celebrate my friend Tal's birthday. The menu is sourced mainly from what's available at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, and what the chef is able to grow on his roof. I had bites of a knock-out watermelon gazpacho and a bluefish entree. I sipped on Sauvignon Blanc from Long Island's Channing Daughters Estate, and for dessert shared blueberry cobbler.

Wednesday, Sept 8

Breakfast and dinner were a little bread and butter, sandwiching, if you will, a local feast of epic proportion at ABC Kitchen for a special luncheon. Chef Dan Kluger can often be spied making the rounds at the Union Square Greenmarket. He worked wonders with mushrooms, strawberries, diver scallops, jalapeños, anise hyssop, chicken liver, corn, golden beets, and more herbs than I could keep track of-- all of which we managed to make room for. There was pate, pizza, a burger, sides, two desserts. I am well aware of the fact that I am living a charmed life, and should note that a lunch like this is not the norm, though insanely rich and delicious.

Thursday, Sept 9

Still in recovery from yesterday's ABC experience, I had a little toast with Anarchy in a Jar's 3's Company berry jam. For lunch I had some more sautéed turtle beans from Cayuga Pure Organics with the last of Wilklow's green heirloom tomatoes and fresh chives, and shared some super-creamy polenta (CPO) and sautéed Kernan's okra that Liz made.

Help Greenmarket Farmers Weather Hurricane Irene

A huge thank you to all of the customers, food writers, and chefs who have reached out in search of information regarding our farmers and the impact that Hurricane Irene has had on their land, businesses, and families. It is times like these that we realize how truly vast and caring the Greenmarket community is.

We won't know for the days and weeks to come exactly how devastating the winds and flooding were to our growers, but we know already that many have been severely impacted. While farmers are assessing the damage and figuring out how to move forward, here are two ways you can help:

1. Donate.

Give what you can, but those of you donating $50 or more and dedicating it to "Hurricane Relief" between now and September 30 will receive a free Greenmarket poster illustrated by artist Claudia Pearson. 100% of all donations will directly support Greenmarket farmers impacted by Hurricane Irene.

Instructions for donating:
Go to our Network for Good donation page
Choose Program Designation: Hurricane Irene Relief

Posters:

2. Eat locally for all of September.

Join Greenmarket and NOFA-NY as we celebrate the glorious month that is September, when summer tomatoes and eggplant are sharing the table with newly arrived winter squash and cauliflower. Eat an all local meal every day, host a locally-sourced potluck visit a Greenmarket-inspired restaurant, and tell us all about it (submit photos and stories to Liz Carollo at lcarollo@greenmarket.grownyc.org).

Register here.

Thank you for supporting Greenmarket farmers!

Greenmarket schedule for 8/27 & 8/28

Due to the arrival of Hurricane Irene in New York City, all Greenmarkets will be closed on Saturday 8/27 and Sunday 8/28 and all GrowNYC events and activities are cancelled with the following exceptions: the Saturday Union Square, Inwood, Fort Greene Park, and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets will be open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. There will be NO compost collection, textile recycling or EBT/Debit/Credit.

GrowNYC's highest priority is the safety of our farmers, our staff and our customers. We thank you for supporting our markets. Please stay tuned to our website for information about Monday's Greenmarket at Union Square, and have a safe weekend.

Farm Aid gets a Youthmarket

This year, Farm Aid held its 26th annual benefit concert in Kansas City, and GrowNYC joined in the festivities by programming a Youthmarket farm stand at the show, giving more than 25,000 concert goers the opportunity to purchase farm-fresh food produced by Kansas City-area farmers, bakers, and beekeepers.

In the months leading up to the Farm Aid show, GrowNYC reached out to farmers and youth organizations in Kansas City and neighboring regions to supply and staff the stand. The day of the show, the Youthmarket stand offered a variety of items such as roasted corn, bison jerky, baked goods, candied pecans, honey products, and fresh berries, peaches, apples, and tomatoes. Traffic at the stand was considerable all day, and GrowNYC was able to make a donation to Farm Aid after paying youth staff and purchasing more than $3,000 worth of food from local producers.

Learn more about Youthmarket.

Greenmarket's Educated Eater series continues

Greenmarket's fall semester is officially in session!

We're proud to present three Educated Eater panel discussions where we invite New Yorkers to join regional farmers and local food advocates in conversations with that explore aspects of our agricultural sector here in the Northeast.

Immigrant Farmers & Local Food: Greenmarket's International Community
Wednesday, August 24, 6-8 p.m.
The Astor Center
399 Lafayette St. (at East 4th St.)
Tickets: $15. Purchase here.

While all the food available at Greenmarket is grown within a specific radius around the City, several of the program's farmers hail from countries far removed from the Northeast. This anecdotal panel discussion will focus on their journeys to New York, the culinary and agricultural traditions they brought with them, and how they've introduced aspects of their heritage to the Greenmarket community. Speakers include Jorge Carmona of Amantai Farm, Sandy Kim of Hot Bread Kitchen, Hector Perez of Jersey Farms Produce and David Rowley of Monkshood Nursery. Greenmarket's publicity coordinator, Jeanne Hodesh, will moderate. Light fare prepared by Jacques Gautier of Palo Santo and cocktails by Jennifer Smith of the Astor Center will be served at a reception following the panel.

In Defense of Corn
Wednesday, September 14, 6-8 p.m.
The French Culinary Institute
462 Broadway, Ampitheatre
Tickets: $15. Purchase here.

Look beyond high fructose corn syrup and join us as we explore the misconstrued crop of corn, defending its rich history and culinary merits. Greenmarket's fall semester of Educated Eater panel discussions continues with a line-up of experts who will examine corn in its many incarnations: corn on either side of the equator, distilled corn, corn as animal feed, and corn through the ages, from a native crop to its present state in the Northeast. Speakers include Jessamyn Waldman of Hot Bread Kitchen and Thor Oeschner of Farmer Ground Flour, moderated by Ian Cheney, director of King Corn. A tasting of popcorn and corn-centric snacks will follow the discussion.

Farmland Conservation
Wednesday, November 16, 6-8 p.m.
The New School, Theresa Lang Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
Tickets: $5. 212.229.5488 or boxoffice@newschool.edu
Free to students and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with ID

Greenmarket was launched in 1976 with a twofold mission: to give New Yorkers access to locally grown food while keeping regional farmland in production and protected from development. Thirty-five years later, 230 family farms, constituting more than 30,000 acres of farmland, sell their products at Greenmarkets. The pressure to develop farmland is particularly high in our region, and devising strategies to keep farmland in production is of paramount importance. The challenges and solutions to protecting farms from development are discussed by speakers including David Haight, New York director of American Farmland Trust; moderator John Clinton, chair of the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program at The New School; and others to be announced. Sponsored by Greenmarket and the New School Food Studies program.

Gotham helps Wishing Well grow

Our Learn It, Grow It, Eat It program, recently received ABC7 coverage, spotlighting their work growing food at Wishing Well Community Garden.

The ABC crew filmed our LGE summer interns on a day that our friends from Gotham Bar & Grill had dropped in to help with a day of work in the garden, and to share their culinary expertise in cooking some of the produce our teens have been growing this summer. Gotham volunteers helped prepare the garden site in the Spring, so harvesting the fruits of their earlier work was fitting.

Congratulations to our summer interns, and many thanks to Gotham Bar and Grill, who have been big supporters of the Learn It, Grow It, Eat It program.

Art of Farming 2011

On September 27, 2011, Sotheby's Auction House will host the second annual Art of Farming event to celebrate edible heirlooms and the art involved in their creation. Just in time for the harvest season, this special evening provides a unique platform for local farmers, purveyors, celebrity chefs, food industry experts and philanthropists to join together for a shared interest in supporting local agriculture and sustainable food options for all New Yorkers.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with delicious hors d'oeuvres by Rouge Tomate, followed by a seated family-style dinner reflecting the bounty of the season. Featured dishes will be created by a line-up of prominent NYC and tri-state area chefs, known for their pride in farm-to-table cuisine, including Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen, Alexandra Guarnaschelli of Butter, Ralf Kuettel of Trestle on Tenth, Jeremy Bearman of Rouge Tomate, Jimmy Carbone of Jimmys 43, and more. The chefs will use heirloom vegetables grown by local farmers especially for the occasion.

Buy tickets or read more.

Participating Chefs, Restaurants, and Wineries:

•Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen
•Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Butter
•Ralf Kuettel, Trestle on Tenth
•Jeremy Bearman, Rouge Tomate
•Plaza Food Hall
•Cesare Casella, Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto
•Ryan Jaronik, Benchmark
•Mark Meyer, Cookshop
•Daniel Eardley, Chestnut
•Sisha Ortuzar, Riverpark
•James McDuffee, Joseph Leonard
•Bill Telepan, Telepan
•Johanna Kolodny, Print Lounge
•Ryan Angulo and Doug Crowell, Buttermilk Channel
•Gabriel Stulman, Fedora
•Jacques Gautier, Palo Santo
•Jimmy Carbone, Jimmy’s 43
•Jim Lahey, Co.
•Rick Field, Rick’s Picks
•Christopher Hille, Nathan Foot, Chris Ronis, Northern Spy Food Co.
•Sosie Hublitz, Watty and Meg
•Orwasher’s Bread
•School House Kitchen
•Clinton Street Baking Company
•Hot Bread Kitchen
•Magnolia Bakery
•Murray’s Cheese
•Great Performances
•Bedell Cellars
•Clinton Vineyards
•King Ferry Winery

Participating Farmers:

•Bill Maxwell, Maxwell’s Farm
•Michael Robertson, Grady’s Farm
•Ben Flanner, The Grange
•Jeff Bialas, B & A Farms
•Tom Culton, Culton Organic Farm
•Ray Bradley, Bradley Farm
•Brian Gajeski, Gajeski Produce
•Sergio Nolasco, Nolasco’s Farm
•David Rowley, Monkshood Nursery
•John Schmid, Muddy River Farm
•Sue Dare, Cherry Lane Farm
•Nevia No, Bodhitree Farm
•Franca Tantillo, Berried Treasures
•Kennon Kay, Queens County Farm Museum
•Kevin Smith, Sycamore Farm
•John Adams, Hudson Valley Organic
•Tim Stark, Eckerton Hill Farm
•Keith Stewart, Keith’s Organic Farm
•Betsy Ryder, Ryder Farm Cottage
•John Gorzynski, Gorzynski Ornery
•Farms Vinny D’Attalico, D’Attalico Organics
•Ben Shaw, Garden of Spices

GrowNYC Added to Governor's NYC Regional Economic Development Council

On July 29, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the New York City Regional Economic Development Council, and named GrowNYC's Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen, as a member.

From the press release:

"Today we are taking a new approach to economic development that will send a clear message that New York is open for business," said Governor Cuomo. "For too long, one-size-fits-all economic development plans have ignored the unique assets and challenges of regions like New York City. With the Regional Councils, we will empower individual areas to chart their own course for job creation and growth."

The Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state’s approach to economic development, from a top-down development model to a community-based approach that emphasizes regions’ unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities.

Read the Governor's press release.

Greenmarket celebrates 35 years

On this day, 35 Years Ago…

On August 1, 1976, The New York Times was reporting on the successful rebirth of farmers' markets in New York City, citing quotes from enthusiastic shoppers and farmers who played equal parts in the success of the first Greenmarket at E. 59th St. and Second Ave. The customers were raving about the fresh peaches, beefsteak tomatoes, and summer corn that the local farmers brought in for sale.

"'I get goose bumps just looking at these farmers coming from where there are real trees and plants,' said a woman clutching her chicory lettuce. 'It’s a real breath of fresh air. Everyone’s so happy to have them here.'"

Read the rest of the article here , and visit your neighborhood Greenmarket (there are now 53 of them around the city!) to enjoy some of those summer staples we take just as much pleasure in eating today.

How to Compost at Greenmarket in 3 Simple Steps

First-time composters wonder about the best way to get their veggie trimmings to the compost collection. Here's our quick guide:

1) Get a storage container. Anything from a 32-ounce yogurt container or plastic bag to a covered pail will do the job. Check out our slideshow for more ideas.

2) Keep it cool. Store scraps in the freezer or fridge to reduce odors at home and at the Greenmarket.

3) Bring it to the market. Stop by the compost tent and empty your container into our receptacle. You can reduce waste by reusing the same container. After you shop you can drop in unwanted carrot tops, corn husks, radish greens, etc before leaving the market. That's it!

Learn more about what you can and can't compost.

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