Warthog is here!

In January, 2010, Greenmarket and NOFA-NY’s Organic Wheat Project hosted an event at the French Culinary Institute, which brought together grain producers, processors, bakers and chefs. In addition to discussing the development of an emerging regional grain system, the event included a tasting of products baked with locally-grown grains. Of all the wheat varieties showcased at this event, one proved a standout in terms of flavor: Warthog.

Among those present at the 2010 event was Thor Oechsner of Farmer Ground Flour. An organic crop farmer of over 700 acres in New York’s Finger Lakes region, Oechsner was taken by Warthog’s superb flavor, and began planting the variety for the first time that year. Now, Oechsner claims to grow more Warthog than any other producer in the Northeast. Warthog is a hard red winter wheat. Winter wheat is planted in fall, and grows to about four inches tall before becoming dormant in the cold winter temperatures. Then, it undergoes a process called vernalization; this period of dormancy is required for the plant to put up a seed head the following spring. The wheat is then harvested in July. Winter wheat tends to produce a higher-yield, lower-protein product. Oechsner describes Warthog as a hardy, strong, good-looking crop. To top it all off, it is amazingly easy to harvest.

While Warthog is relatively new to the United States, its commercial presence has grown in the Northeast’s regional grain shed since the tasting event two years ago. This is because, in addition to its great flavor, it is currently the best available hard red winter wheat variety. A reliable, clean seed supply has been accessible to Northeast farmers. It holds a high falling number, which means it resists sprouting in seed, an important quality for good baking flour. Its protein content is also considered decent for a winter variety.

Despite its benefits, Oechsner and other Warthog producers did face setbacks this year, owing to the wet weather. The wheat’s protein content was lower than expected. But Oechsner is confident that blending Warthog with a spring wheat flour will boost protein content while letting Warthog’s special flavor shine through. Blending means that Warthog’s traceability in the marketplace is reduced for the time being. However, the hope is that, in coming years, bakers and restaurants will seek out Warthog specifically for its superior flavor, and continue to spur the variety’s progress in the Northeast. In addition, Oechsner will be collaborating during the 2012 season with Elizabeth Dyck of OGRIN to develop grain trials with Warthog. These grain trials could lead to techniques for growing Warthog that will boost protein content and hedge against future rainy seasons. The focus of these trials is timing nitrogen fertilization. By adding nitrogen at a point when most of the plant’s vegetative growth has occurred – called the “boot” stage – the plant’s energy will be concentrated on seed development and protein production.

While Oechsner’s and Dyck’s goal is to learn more about growing Warthog successfully in the Northeast, Dyck continues to work with other producers to explore a variety of grains that could thrive in this region. Warthog is a great winter variety with outstanding flavor, but the hope is that, in the near future, growers will be able to choose among several high-quality wheat varieties.

New York Magazine Declares the Moment in Local Flour

Bread Last month, New York magazine's 'Reasons to Love New York' issue featured a 14-page spread on this 'local-floured moment in dough', an homage to the artisanal loaves that are being baked in the city's top ovens. Greenmarket’s efforts to encourage more regional growers to start planting grain began back in 2004, when Greenmarket began to assess how and where its bakers could source local flour. Thanks to those early efforts, chefs and bakers have embraced these less familiar grains incorporating them into seasonal dishes on their menus, and even hiring bakers and building bread ovens for their restaurants (Roman's and Roberta's, both in Brooklyn, are two examples). The article's 'Bread (Time) Line', notes 2009’s introduction of Cayuga Pure Organics’ locally grown and milled flour to Greenmarket as one of the most recent milestones in a great history. No less than 6 of the 13 bakers mentioned in New York’s round-up of the baker's dozen best attended the landmark tasting of local grains held by Greenmarket and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) nearly two Januarys ago at the French Culinary Institute (covered here by Edible Manhattan). This event helped lay the groundwork for New York’s local grains revolution. And since that tasting, three more bakers that made NY mag's list have become involved with Greenmarket's Farm to Bakery pilot, a program which connects bakers directly to regional grain growers. Due to the increasing demand in the city marketplace, Greenmarket's grain farmers are expanding their businesses and encouraging the development of infrastructure like mills and malting facilities. And outside the city, on a regional scale, Greenmarket's work to publicize these farmers, help build demand, and educate shoppers on the varieties of grains that grow well in the Northeast has rippled out to fields in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, where yet more growers and bakers are embracing this wave of heritage grain. Check out a list of where and when to buy local grain and flour at Greenmarket, as well as a list of Greenmarket grain-forward recipes to expand your baking repertoire.

Starting 2012 on a Healthy Note

EBT Yesterday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stopped by Union Square on the first market day of the New Year to applaud an increase in use of food stamps at GrowNYC Greenmarkets across the city in 2011. Food stamp purchases at Greenmarkets increased from $505,166 to over $620,000 in 2011, a 23 percent increase from 2010.  Some markets reported nearly $6,000 in food stamp sales in a single day. In 2011, approximately 75% of food stamp dollars at Greenmarkets were spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, while EBT spent on baked goods dropped by nearly 5 percent. Families are choosing nutrition first by spending their limited food dollars on the healthiest options available at the farmers market. At the same time, these dollars are reinvested in our regional economy as increased revenues for farmers. The Union Square Greenmarket had the highest food stamp sales of any market at $151,813 in 2011. Greenmarket partnered with the NYC Food Bank to offer food stamp screenings for more than 250 New Yorkers at Union Square to determine if they qualify for Food Stamps, providing valuable public education and outreach on the program. GrowNYC is deeply grateful to Speaker Quinn and the New York City Council for their support of this program. In 2006, the City Council began partnering with GrowNYC to provide funding for EBT scanners, signage, community outreach, merchant account fees and dedicated staff members to operate the machines at the Greenmarkets. The program has been highly successful and this year EBT was accepted at 43 Greenmarkets. Read more about our EBT program, find a Greenmarket near you that accepts EBT, or read NY1's coverage of our great 2011.

Holiday Compost and Textile Recycling Schedule

Tina, Joel, and Annie Podkaminer of Trumansburg Tree Farm.

All Sunday Greenmarkets will be closed on Christmas, December 25, and New Year's Day, January 1. All Saturday Greenmarkets will be open on Christmas Eve, December 24, and New Year's Eve, December 31, but textiles and compost will not be collected.

Where to buy a locally grown Christmas tree

Wondering where to buy a locally grown Christmas tree in time for the holidays?  Have a look at our guide below!

Manhattan

Union Square

  • Trumansburg Tree Farms: local Christmas trees from Tompkins County, NY (at Union Square Greenmarket Mon, Fri, and Sat and the Wed before Christmas)
  • Keith’s Farm: organic, local ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas trees from Orange County, NY (at Union Square Greenmarket Wed and Sat, though supply is limited!)
  • Van Houten Farms: local Christmas trees from Rockland County, NY (at Union Square Greenmarket Wed and Sat)

Brooklyn

Grand Army Plaza

  • Trumansburg Tree Farms: local Christmas trees from Tompkins County (at Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Sat)

Help GrowNYC Raise $$ on Facebook

Tri-State Ford Dealers is donating up to $5,000 to GrowNYC, $1 for every “Go Green” click they receive!

Help us earn needed funds to support programs you use, like Greenmarket, Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, Open Space Greening and more.

Support GrowNYC and go to Tri-State Ford's Facebook page.

Thanksgiving Produce Bags + Textile Recycling at La Marqueta

Wholesale Greenmarket will be selling pre-packed produce bags at La Marqueta's Clothing and Textile Recycling Day on Saturday, November 19th. The bags will be made up of fresh, local produce [potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, collards, and MORE] and will cost $7. Customers will be able to use EBT towards their purchase. Everyone is welcome to purchase a bag; no pre-orders will be accepted and sales are on a first-come, first-serve basis. GrowNYC will also be assisting with textile recycling at the event. Bring clean and dry clothing, paired shoes, bedding, linens, hats, handbags, belts, fabric scraps 36"x36" or larger and other textiles (no rugs or carpeting). Materials will be sorted for reuse or recycling. Everyone who donates will receive a free energy-efficient CFL light bulb! GrowNYC's Thanksgiving Produce Bags + Textile Recycling Saturday, November 19, 12pm-5pm La Marqueta 1590 Park Avenue (btw E. 112th & E. 115th St) New York, NY 10029

Greenmarket Thanksgiving Round Up

We've got a lot of stuff happening for Thanksgiving. Here's a quick summary: Greenmarket's Turkey Buying Guide Want to know where to buy a locally-raised turkey for Thanksgiving? Our guide gives you a rundown of farmers, prices, breeds, what Greenmarkets they'll be selling at, and when you can order and pick up your turkey. Read more. Holiday Schedule Changes Greenmarkets and textile recycling are affected by the holiday. Here's our updated schedule. Donate A Bag Our Thanksgiving Donate A Bag program was extremely successful last year, and it's back again this year. Greenmarket is partnering with local food rescue organizations to help feed New York City's hungry men, women, and children. Read more. Thanksgiving Produce Bags at La Marqueta Wholesale Greenmarket will be selling pre-packed bags of fresh, locally grown produce at La Marqueta's Clothing and Textile Recycling Day on Saturday, November 19th. Read more.

Greenmarket's Winter Warm Up Party

Farmers, Shoppers, Cooks and Neighbors unite for a night of revelry

Greenmarket's Winter Warm Up Wednesday, Dec 7 - 7 PM to 10PM The Bell House 149 7th St, Brooklyn NY 11215 Tickets: $40, 21+.  Buy tickets online. Join GrowNYC’s Greenmarket and Harvest Home for an end-of-season party to wring out a soggy year and plant some hope for a strong harvest in 2012. Warm up to winter and dance our regional farmers into the night with music by Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens and Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band at the Bell House on Wednesday, December 7 from 7 – 10 p.m. Groove to sensational gospel music and soul-rattling Balkan beats, bid on books in our ‘Cookbook Library’ silent auction, enjoy light hors d’oeuvres prepared with locally grown ingredients and $3 Brooklyn Brewery brews all night. Proceeds will benefit participating GrowNYC's Greenmarket program and Harvest Home farms that were devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in September. Come shake it with us as we bid good night Irene once and for all. Tickets are $40, 21+.

Buy tickets here.

Holiday Greenmarket & Textile Collection Schedule

The week of Thanksgiving, all Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday markets will be open. Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25, all markets will be closed. Markets will resume their normal schedules on Saturday, November 26. Some markets have rescheduled their Thursday and Friday dates; details below:

Manhattan

97th Street: Open Wednesday, 11/23 + accepting textiles, Closed Friday 11/25 Bowling Green: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24 City Hall: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Friday, 11/25 Columbia: Open Tuesday, 11/22, Closed Thursday, 11/24 Port Authority Bus Terminal: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24 Tucker Square: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24 World Financial Center: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24

Brooklyn

Grand Army Plaza: Open Wednesday, 11/23 (no textile collection)

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