Discover You Can! Summer canning demos at Greenmarkets.

Join local chefs, jammers, picklers, cookbook authors, and canning experts and enthusiasts as they demonstrate how to preserve the summer harvest by putting up what’s fresh now for enjoyment later in the year. Learn at-home canning techniques and get ready to enjoy the seasonal harvest year-round. All demonstrations are free and open to the public and include a free raffle to win an at-home canning kit. Friday, July 20: 97th Street Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Saturday, July 21: Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Saturday, August 4: Union Square Greenmarket Canning demonstration and book signing with Laena McCarthy of Anarchy in a Jar. 10am - 1pm Sunday, August 12: 79th Street Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Saturday, August 18: 82nd Street Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Thursday, August 19: Columbia University Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Wednesday, August 22: Dag Hammarskjold Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Saturday, August 25: Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Canning demonstration and book signing with Laena McCarthy of Anarchy in a Jar. 10am - 1pm Saturday, September 1: Tucker Square Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Wednesday, September 5: Union Square Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Saturday, September 8: Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Pickling demonstration with Rick Field of Rick’s Picks. 10am - 1pm Wednesday, September 12: Union Square Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm Saturday, September 15: Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Canning demonstration with chef and culinary educator, Robin Puskas. 10am - 1pm

NYC Teens take "Fast Food IQ Test"

In preparation for the 2012 Youthmarket season, GrowNYC brought together more than 50 young people from across the city to learn about food, agriculture, and the basics of running a farm stand. Incoming youth-staff read nutrition labels and took a  “Fast Food IQ Test” with David Saphire from our Learn It, Grow It, Eat It program and discussed inventory planning, outreach strategies, and small business math with experienced Youthmarket Managers. Youth also sampled the best of the season during a produce tasting that familiarized them with the products they’ll be selling, and they ended the day with a tour of the Union Square Greenmarket, where they chatted with farmers, saw different ways of creating attractive product displays, and learned the secret to keeping vegetables looking fresh on hot summer days. GrowNYC’s 11 Youthmarkets all open this week for the 2012 season, and all of them feature fresh produce grown by Greenmarket farmers. Teens identified by our community partner organizations learn valuable job skills and earn their own money while providing their friends, family, and neighbors with access to fresh, healthy, local foods. Visit our website to find a Youthmarket near you!

Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn Announce Health Bucks Expansion at Union Square Greenmarket

Mayor Bloomber (center) and (left to right) Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Council Member Gale Brewer, Greenmarket Assistant Director Cheryl Huber, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, and NYC Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler, announcing the expansion of Health Bucks for the 2012 season on July 2 in the Union Square Greenmarket.

 

On Monday, July 2, GrowNYC was thrilled to host Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and a host of public officials to the Union Square Greenmarket to announce the expansion of Health Bucks. For the first time ever, these $2 incentive coupons (awarded when EBT customers spend $5 in the market) can be spent at ALL farmers markets across the city, including GrowNYC’s 54 Greenmarkets, increasing the affordability of the healthiest, freshest food the region has to offer. View a map of farmers’ markets around the city where Health Bucks will be available. Since GrowNYC's EBT program launched, sales made with food stamp benefits at our Greenmarkets have grown from $1,000 in 2005 to $640,000 in 2011. This summer all of our markets will offer Health Bucks, incentivizing the purchase of fresh, locally grown products helps which in turn help curb diet related disease. "Health Bucks make the farmers market more affordable than the grocery store," said a 97th St Greenmarket customer. In our 2012 season at Greenmarkets across the city, $196,000 in Health Bucks will be available to city residents who are in need of assistance. Customers will be able to provide their families with fresh fruits and vegetables, and our regional farmers will benefit from this stream of revenue. It’s a win-win, upstate and down. Read the official press release

15 Reasons To Eat Locally Grown Grain

Since 2010, Greenmarket has required its bakers to use at least 15% local flour in their breads and baked goods. Why? To make sure Greenmarket bakers are as much a part of local agriculture as Greenmarket farmers. The great news is that, since then, bakers have incorporated increasing amounts of locally-grown grains into their products. Greenmarket has helped by supporting grain farmers; creating connections to build processing infrastructure like mills, malt houses, and distilleries; and hosting tastings and other events to get customers excited about local grains. Greenmarket bakers now use an average of 50% local flour. With so many reasons to source local grains, this number will continue to grow! 15 Reasons to Eat Locally Grown Grain 1. Local grains taste better. Farmers grow a diverse variety of wheat and other grains, and these products travel a more direct path from the field to your pantry. Without the conventional additives, local grains have more interesting flavor profiles and taste fresher. 2. Local grains have more character. From their behavior in the bowl to their nutritional value, local grains are “alive”, making them more fun to work with and better for your body. 3. Local grains build healthy soils. Growing grains can prevent soil erosion and add organic matter to soils, building their fertility. In other words: Local grains help support the local vegetables we love! 4. Supporting local grains rebuilds regional food systems and the regional economy. In addition to the on-farm jobs they support, local grains require processing, storage, and distribution. This means more regional-scale infrastructure and jobs in these facilities. It also paves the way to create other regional food infrastructure for products like meat, pickled and processed goods, and more. 5. Nothing makes truly “artisan” bread like truly artisan grains. Bakers using regional grains are constantly innovating to celebrate the diverse flavors and characteristics of local grains, creating a richer array of products. 6. If eating emmer makes you sexy, eating einkorn makes you even sexier. Need we say more? 7. Local grains increase the diversity of products farmers can grow. This makes their businesses stronger and more resilient. It also makes local ecology more resilient by increasing biodiversity. 8. Greenmarket farmers grow these products really, really well. They do magic with tomatoes; imagine what they can do with spelt. 9. You shouldn’t have to go to Brighton Beach to get good buckwheat and rye bread. 10. Heritage corn makes better polenta, better tortillas, and better bourbon. 11. You can cook it, bake it, brew it AND distill it. 12. Local grains are traceable. No GMOs. No secrets. Just ask your farmer. 13. “Warthog” is fun to say. Our farmers love it for its beautiful agronomic traits. Our bakers love it for its rich flavor. We just like the way it sounds. 14. Because the “staff of life” should be local, too. 15. Bread is agriculture! And so is beer, whiskey, cake, and granola.

Bread is Agriculture: Greenmarket Bakers and Local Grains

In 2010, after years of conversations with its bakers and farmers, Greenmarket implemented a rule requiring its bakers to source at least 15% of the flour they used from local farms and mills. As an organization which seeks to strengthen regional agriculture, Greenmarket wanted to ensure that all of its producers were in support of this mission. On the other hand, much of the infrastructure to grow and process grains in the Northeast had been lost throughout the decades. By implementing the 15% local flour rule, Greenmarket was asking its bakers to reflect the organization’s mission in their business models, while recognizing the inherent challenges that sourcing local flour could create. Now, two years later, Greenmarket is proud to announce that its bakers use an average of 50% local flour in their baked goods. New infrastructure has been added to the Northeast’s grain-shed, and this sector of the food system continues to grow. To highlight the success of this partnership between Greenmarket and its bakers, over the next few months Greenmarket will be sharing regular installments in our Bread is Agriculture series. Look out for interviews with bakers on the GrowNYC blog; Baked Good of the Week features on Facebook; and literature at the info booth at our markets, including 15 Reasons to Eat Local Grain.

Senator Gillibrand visits Union Square to Challenge Food Stamp Cuts

Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director of GrowNYC, welcomes Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and fellow anti-hunger advocates to Union Square.

On Monday, the Union Square Greenmarket hosted New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, as well as anti-hunger advocates including chef Tom Coliccio and Joel Berg, executive director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger. The Senator announced the introduction of her proposed amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, challenging the $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP (Food Stamps) over the next ten years.

"This Farm Bill is much more than a set of esoteric numbers. It’s very much about the decisions we are making regarding economic growth, regarding our agriculture industries, and the moral obligation we have to our families that are at risk," said Senator Gillibrand. "Food stamps are an extraordinary investment because for every dollar that you put into the SNAP program, you get out $1.71. Under the current bill, families in New York will lose about $90 a month in their food stamps, which means in the third week of the month, many families’ children will go to school hungry. It also means less food on a kitchen table for children. I have very grave concerns about what that says about us, and what we’re going to do about it."

As Greenmarket shoppers know, Food Stamps are a critical component of GrowNYC's Greenmarket program. 90% of our markets accept EBT/Food Stamps, ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to healthy local food, and these dollars provide an important revenue source for Greenmarket farmers. Since 2007, Greenmarkets around the city have seen a steady increase in sales made at market with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

"Over the course of the last five years, GrowNYC's EBT initiative has resulted in $1.53 million in revenue to farmers, generating an estimated $2.8 million of regional economic activity according to the USDA," said Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director of GrowNYC. "The exponential growth of EBT dollars spent at our Greenmarkets since 2007 demonstrates an ever increasing demand from all New Yorkers for fresh, healthy food. By providing access to the freshest food available, the food stamp at farmers market program plays a major role in curbing diet related disease, and ensures a healthier lifestyle for all citizens while simultaneously supporting regional agriculture. The proposed cut to the food stamp program would mean a devastating loss to farmers, as well as the families who need this assistance the most."

Read the full press release from the event, and watch the video below of Senator Gillibrand as she introduced her amendment on the Senate floor yesterday.

Attention NYC public schools: Apply for GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions Program for the 2012-2013 school year

Is Your School a Recycling Champion?

Update! We've extended the deadline to June 22nd at 5pm. GrowNYC is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Recycling Champions Program from NYC public schools! Recycling Champions is a free program available to K-12 schools in all five boroughs that helps to launch model, school-wide recycling programs. It's conducted in partnership with the NYC Department of Education Division of School Facilities and Office of Sustainability, and the NYC Department of Sanitation.

Recycling Champions aims to empower schools to comply with, and exceed, NYC's recycling laws, and in the process students create school wide projects and campaigns, and learn environmental leadership skills that place their schools on the forefront of NYC's Mayoral directive to double the City's diversion rate by 2017. Your school can receive a dedicated coordinator to help organize school recycling and events, galvanize staff, and educate students through hands-on lessons and activities. The application deadline is June 22! Download the application as a PDF file or as a Word DOC. See you at School!

Help GrowNYC Win a New Grow Truck!

Grow Truck is GrowNYC's mobile tool-lending program, delivering tools, donated plants, soil, compost, and lumber, and dispensing on-site technical assistance all across New York City, for free since 1977. We've had our current Grow Truck for 23 years, and it's time for a new one - and you can help us get a brand new truck by voting for GrowNYC in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good contest on Facebook. On Sunday May 20th, go to 100carsforgood.com and vote for GrowNYC. In the meantime, you can "Attend" our Facebook event so you get a reminder to vote for us on the 20th. Until May 20th, watch the video we made especially for this contest, and look through some of our photos below of the Grow Truck's past 35 years. And by all means - if you've got a project that you need to borrow tools for, let us know!

The Northeast Grainshed: 2011 Season in Review - Part 3: Retail Innovations and Spring 2012 Preview

The increasing prevalence of grains on New York area farms and in processing facilities throughout the region has manifested itself as a spectacular and delicious array of products and end uses in New York City, and around the Northeast. Conversations with businesses putting these locally-grown grains to work demonstrates a creativity and enthusiasm worthy of the hard work that has gone into their production. Bakeries are typically the first to come to mind when thinking about how consumers enjoy local grains and flours. The role that Greenmarket and its bakers have played in stimulating this facet of the food system confirms this important relationship. In 2010, interested in encouraging its bakers to be more mission supportive, Greenmarket implemented its Bakers Rules, which required bakers at market to use a minimum of 15% local flour in their breads and baked goods. Many staff and farmers in the Greenmarket community felt it only fair that bakers, who had long relied on commodity flours, incorporate practices into their businesses that would support local foods and farms. The 15% level was chosen in order to both create significant pressure on the Northeast grain-shed to grow, while recognizing that local flour was still somewhat of a novelty.

Greenmarket bakers have become increasingly enthusiastic about the local flour rule since its implementation, and today some bakers go well beyond the 15% minimum requirement. As a result, the use of local flour by Greenmarket bakers has grown to an average of 50% used by each baker, and some bakers source the vast majority of their flour from farms throughout the region. At the same time, bakers outside of the Greenmarket system have shown their support of local agriculture through their sourcing practices, as well. In 2011, Peter Endriss, formerly of Hot Bread Kitchen, began baking and selling bread under his own label, Runner & Stone. From the beginning, Peter was interested in using local flours for Runner & Stone’s products. He had first gotten experience with these products at Hot Bread Kitchen; as a Greenmarket bakery, they source from the Northeast. But his involvement in Slow Food, and his background in natural resources management and environmental inspections, contribute to what he describes as a “natural marriage” between making great food and ensuring that it’s done in a low environmental impact way. For Endriss, the challenge comes in adapting these local flours and whole grains to achieve the products he envisions for Runner & Stone. His father is from Germany, and Peter spent some time early in his career baking in the Black Forest region. The influence of this period can be seen in the pretzel croissants and Schwabian pretzels that have made their way into his offerings at the Brooklyn Flea, where he sells his products each weekend. It is also apparent in his TKTKT ryes. Endriss also bakes products that have stayed with him from travels to Paris, like the canneles he says he just started making because “I wanted to eat it”. All of the whole grain and all purpose flours Endriss uses are locally sourced, and in the fall he will be opening a retail bakery and full-service Runner & Stone restaurant in Gowanus, which will feature local and seasonal products throughout the menu. The crafting of locally-grown grains into delicious concoctions and products doesn’t stop at bread. Farm-forward restaurants are increasingly featuring local grains on their menus, from pastas to risottos to more out-of-the-box dishes that often depart from the traditional fixation on protein-obsessed cuisine. Chef Mike Anthony, who has been the chef at Gramercy Tavern for the past six years, describes the infusion of grains throughout his menu, both as a professional chef and as a parent. Anthony’s commitment to exploring products like freekeh or barley reflects his growing awareness that grains form a foundation of the way we eat. He explains that, at home, he can augment a basket of local produce with locally-grown grains to create meals that are nutritious, but also filling. Given that they are such a fundamental component of our diets, Anthony has likewise created dishes for his restaurant that pay homage to this food group, while re-defining what luxury food means to New York eaters. Rather than adopting a European palette focused on imported ingredients, Anthony defines luxury as a connection to source, and an ability to explore luscious textures and amazing aromas through ingredients that have a back-story. He describes a dish where barley is cooked until soft with vegetable stock, then folded into reduced carrot juice and a rainbow of glazed carrots of different varieties. Over the top he showers grilled carrots, then shaves raw carrot over the top. While lacking in the traditional richness associated with luxury foods – butter, cream, cheese – this dish explores texture and color through simple, incredibly fresh ingredients. In addition to an ever-evolving palette of dishes such as this one, Gramercy tavern uses spelt flour in their hamburger buns. In 2012, Anthony plans to introduce a spelt pasta, as well – which, he explains, will have a soba-like quality. He plans to pair it with grilled ramps. Also milling around in his imagination: How to bring Einkorn, an ancient grain with an emerging presence in the Northeast grainshed, into his kitchen. As farmers broaden the array of grains they produce, and processing capacity grows and diversifies, the number of end-uses for local grains has also expanded. Not least among the emerging users of local grains are the region’s brewers and distillers. Just last year, Greenmarket introduced its first beer vendor at market – Tundra Brewing. From this promising start-up all the way up to what is perhaps the city’s best-known beer-maker – Brooklyn Brewery – we are seeing more and more local grains in our pint glasses. In 2011, Brooklyn Brewery introduced the High Line Elevated Wheat, a seasonal brew available for sale exclusively on the High Line. While Brooklyn Brewery has used local honey for some time, many of the other ingredients necessary for brewing beer have been largely unavailable at the local level, until recently. For the Elevated Wheat, Brooklyn Brewery sourced red winter wheat from North Country Farms. The wheat was selected because it grows well in New York State, and also because of its nice, smoky flavor. While the Elevated Wheat was brewed specially for the 2011 season, Brooklyn Brewery has ambitions for expanding its repertoire of beers using local grains sometime in the future. One hope is to grow barley specifically for the brewery on Long Island, malt it locally in Brooklyn, and combine it with locally-grown hops to create an entirely local Brooklyn brew. The number of new distilleries cropping up in and around New York City is perhaps the most impressive example of the development of regional grain-focused businesses. Take Tuthilltown Spirits, for example. A pioneering farm distillery since the early 2000s, as of 2011 Tuthilltown sourced 90% of its grains from within NY State, the majority from within 10 miles of the distillery. These grains include a variety of corn called Whapsie Valley, as well as rye varietals that were identified with the help of a seed saver in New England. As a farm distillery, Tuthilltown must be financially responsible for its crops, meaning that it leases land from partner farms and hires the farmer to grow the grains for the distillery; this arrangement provides an incentive for a farmer to grow obscure grains that may otherwise be absent from the Northeast agricultural landscape. Tuthilltown Spirits spent some time in 2011 experimenting with some less conventional grains in its distillery, including spelt, oats, and triticale. While they haven’t released any of these experimental batches, they plan to continue trying different grains and eventually releasing small batches of these spirits, most likely within the next year and a half. They’re also working with a New York producer of wild rice, and thinking more and more about soju, which can be made from both locally-grown sweet potatoes or barley. Tuthilltown is not the only distiller using local grains to bring great spirits to consumers in the region. Finger Lakes Distilling, The New York Distilling Company, and Breuckelen Distilling are among other businesses with a commitment to supporting the local grain-shed. And, as growth continues to occur all along the Northeast grains value chain, the diversity of appearances of local grains in city restaurants, bakeries, markets, and on store shelves will likely grow, as well.

NY Times covers GrowNYC's efforts to establish Wholesale Farmers Market / Food Hub

The New York Times recently profiled local efforts to include regional farmers in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, including GrowNYC's proposal to expand our Wholesale Greenmarket to include a Regional Food Hub that would provide valuable opportunity and space for more than 100 local farmers and producers.

GrowNYC, the agency that runs a network of 57 retail green markets with 240 small-scale farmers, has proposed a $12 million center at or near the Hunts Point terminal. It would have indoor space providing refrigeration and storage for 80 farmers and space for complementary businesses like makers of local cheeses and preserves. The plan also envisions an outdoor site for an additional 50 farmers. Marcel Van Ooyen, the agency’s executive director, said that such a hub would allow farmers to set their own prices, sell directly to wholesale customers and keep more money in their pockets, just as the small farmers do. “We think this is a huge game changer,” he said.

GrowNYC's Wholesale Greenmarket, located at the Fulton Fish Market in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center in the Bronx, offers over 100 local and regional farm-fresh products including fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants, and flowers at competitive wholesale prices and quantities. Wholesale Greenmarket is open April to December, Tuesday - Saturday from 2:00 AM - 8:00 AM.

Read the article.

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