All Greenmarkets Are Open on July 4th!

June 30, 2015
Posted in Greenmarket


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

June 5, 2015
Posted in Greenmarket

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!

Heritage Wheat in the Hudson Valley

February 10, 2015
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged Grains

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 2, 2015
Posted in Greenmarket

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

GrowNYC thanks Governor Cuomo for his continued support of farmers and healthy food for all New Yorkers

December 9, 2014
Posted in GrowNYC

Governor Cuomo announced a slate of initiatives at the "Upstate-Downstate Farm to Table Agriculture Summit" in Manhattan last Thursday, all focused on linking upstate producers with New York City in order to increase city dwellers’ access to fresh, New York State grown and produced foods. GrowNYC has played an integral role in increasing New York City’s consumption of New York State farm products while putting more money directly into the pockets of small and midsized farmers, and we look forward to working alongside the State to continue growing these initiatives.

“Currently, low-income communities throughout New York City and the state lack access to fresh, healthy foods and small to midsized farmers cannot fairly compete with industrial sized farms from the west coast and beyond,” says GrowNYC Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen. “We are extremely thankful to Governor Cuomo and the State for recognizing the importance of continuing our state’s rich agricultural tradition and for investing in the financial health of our family farmers as well as the physical health of New Yorkers of all income levels.”

“We are thrilled to hear Governor Cuomo is prioritizing so many programs that we see as integral to linking upstate and downstate economies and providing access to healthy food for all New Yorkers,” says GrowNYC Board Chairman, Robert J. Kafin, Esq. “New York State boasts some of the best farmers and food producers in the world and there is no better marketplace than that of the 8.5 million residents of New York City to help ensure they are able to continue their work and inspire the next generation of farmers, bakers, jam makers and beyond .”

For over 40 years, GrowNYC has worked hard to get New York State grown products to those who need them most, but there is still more to be done. We are grateful to the Governor for pledging financial support to help expand food box programs like GrowNYC’s own Fresh Food Box, which brings fresh produce at an affordable price directly to those who need it most. Additionally, we are grateful for his support to establish a Regional Food Wholesale Farmers Market along with a Regional Food Hub Task Force which will increase upstate farmers’ ability to access the vast New York City market while also increasing city dwellers access to fresh, local foods. With the generous support of the Governor and the State of New York, we look forward to continuing GrowNYC's efforts to ensure New York State makes farming and farmers an anchor of our economic and environmental sustainability.  

Talkin' Turkey

November 14, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged thanksgiving, Turkeys, holidays

Do you have any idea what goes into raising a turkey? When talking about the birds that have become so synonymous with this time of year, we realized we didn’t know much, either. Luckily, we have access to some of the best turkey farmers in the region, so we rushed right over to Zaid Kurdieh of Norwich Meadows Farm and Maria Quattro of Quattro's Game Farm to learn exactly what goes into raising the centerpiece of many Thanksgiving tables.
 
For Quattro’s Game Farm, everything starts from the egg. They keep their favorite birds from the past year and mate them, selecting the eggs that will go on to be the next year’s Thanksgiving turkeys. The eggs are then incubated, hatched, raised, and processed on the farm. Norwich Meadows Farm also raises and processes on the farm, but buys their turkeys when they’re poults, getting them when they’re newly hatched and raising them from there and from what we’ve heard, raising turkeys is a lot of work. A friend of Zaid’s warned him when he first started to raise turkeys that “a turkey in its first few weeks of life is just looking for a place to die.” Sounds harsh but, in fact, during those first couple of weeks, the farmers have to keep a constant eye on the poults – ensuring they eat their food, making sure they don’t drown in their drinking water, and preventing them from commingling with the chickens. Unfortunately, even with keeping a constant eye on them, a lot of them still won’t make it. This year, Zaid started with around 190 poults and will be processing around 140. 
 
After four weeks, the critical time for a poult has passed and the turkeys are much more independent, although the farmers can’t relax too much. Turkeys are feisty creatures that have a herd mentality and have been known to take down electric fences without too much effort, electric jolts and all. Plus, heritage breeds and wild turkeys fly (domestic ones, not so much). Not far, mind you, but they still fly. It is for this reason that Zaid only raises domestic turkeys. He doesn’t want his turkeys to fly off his property and onto a nearby road where they could get hit by a car. Quattro’s raises domestic, heritage, and wild turkeys but they also have a lot of property and are not as worried about them getting hit by cars. They do, however, end up picking them up from neighboring farms fairly regularly. In fact, on the day we spoke with Maria she told us the heritage turkeys had once again made their way onto their neighbor’s farm and her father had gone to retrieve them. I guess we can’t blame the birds for wanting to spread their wings a little bit! 
 
After they've hatched and lived through the early weeks, eaten well, roamed freely while avoiding colliding with a car or being eaten by a predator and are generally speaking, happy and healthy, it’s time for processing and delivery to New York City Greenmarkets. Both Quattro’s and Norwich Meadows have on-farm processing and control the process from start to finish. Quattro’s is a much larger operation than Norwich Meadows and raises around 400 turkeys so it can sometimes take a few days to finish processing them all. Norwich Meadows processes far fewer turkeys but they are also Halal, so only Zaid can process the turkeys. It takes him at least a day to get through all of them. Then comes the plucking, the cleaning, and the packaging. 
 
As you can see, there is a lot of hard work that goes into raising and processing each of these birds but it is all worth it for these farmers so you can have the best tasting bird out there on your table. The turkeys Greenmarket farmers sell you have lived healthy, well-fed, wandering-outside-in-the-sunshine kind of lives, and they undoubtedly taste better for all of those reasons. Plus, it’s pretty great to know that the turkey you enjoy on Thanksgiving was raised and processed by the same person that sold it to you. You can ask the farmers questions about exactly how the turkeys were raised, what kind of food they ate, and even hear fun stories about the turkeys roaming (or flying) free and they’ll know the answers. When you buy directly from a local, family farm, you know they care and want the best not only for their turkeys but also for their customers.
 
We’d be remiss to leave out how Zaid and Maria celebrate Thanksgiving on the farm. Zaid takes one of his birds to his sister’s house, where she cooks it the traditional method by roasting it in the oven. Turkey isn’t too common in Middle Eastern culture (Zaid’s mother is American and his father is Palestinian), but they still eat it once a year on Thanksgiving. Maria’s grandmother, Carmella (the owner of the farm), has cooked Thanksgiving turkeys for years so it’s just second nature to her. She stuffs the turkey and roasts it. One thing she doesn’t do? Brine her turkeys. Maria explained that the salt in the brine gets into the meat and masks the natural flavor of the turkey. “If you’re paying for these delicious turkeys, why would you want to hide the flavor?” Maria asked. 
 
As we all sit down with our family and friends to celebrate around nature’s delicious fall bounty, let us all remember to be thankful for our farmers and the hours they toil each year to bring us city dwellers fresh, delicious, healthy food. We’re also pretty grateful we’re not going to get a call from the neighbor during dinner to come pick up a wayward flock of turkeys!
 
For more information on our Greenmarket turkey producers, visit our Turkey buying Guide here.

When cows fly…

August 15, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket

You can now find a little piece of the Hudson Valley on your next JetBlue flight. Ronnybrook Dairy’s blackberry drinkable yogurt is available now on select JetBlue flights to California departing from JFK Airport in New York City and Boston’s Logan International.

Ronnybrook Dairy, located in the Hudson Valley in Ancramdale, New York has been selling at GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets for many years and shoppers can’t get enough. Each market morning, they line up to exchange last week’s bottles and stock up on the dairy’s farm fresh Creamline milk and chocolate milk, ice cream, butter, yogurt and cheeses. Long a favorite of Greenmarket shoppers and staff alike, Ronnybrook’s yogurt drink is the perfect snack to enjoy on your next JetBlue flight out west!

Find out which markets Ronnybrook attends here.

Drive Change at Union Square Greenmarket

March 19, 2014

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. 
 

 

Gisella Isidori Reveals Her Secrets to Making Pasta with Local Grains

February 19, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged 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!  

 

Recent Posts

Programs

Tags

More tags

Archives