How to Compost at Greenmarket in 3 Simple Steps

July 20, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost

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.

Greenmarket's EBT numbers continue to climb

July 11, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged ebt

Greenmarket's EBT/Food stamps program continues to expand exponentially, with figures for the first half of 2011 coming in 3.5 times higher than in 2010.

2009 Markets accepting EBT: 23 EBT total, January to June: $5,102

2010 Markets accepting EBT: 40 EBT total, January to June: $38,652

2011 Markets accepting EBT: 43 EBT total, January to June: $131,938

Thanks to continued support from Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York City Council, the number of Greenmarkets accepting EBT has risen steadily from 3 markets in 2005, to 23 markets in 2009, to the current 43 markets (including every Greenmarket in an outer borough) in 2011.

Greenmarket attributes a large part of the EBT program’s success to the NYC Department of Health's Health Bucks program. July through November, $2 Health Bucks are given out for every $5 an EBT customer spends at qualifying Greenmarkets market--representing a 40% boost in buying power.

Greenmarket's EBT program not only provides nutritious, local produce for all shoppers, it also makes a big impact on farmer revenues, providing 25-50% of farmer income in some cases.

Click here for more information about Greenmarket's EBT Program.

Compost in all shapes and sizes

July 8, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost

GrowNYC just announced that our 4-month compost collection pilot at select Greenmarkets has been extended through December 31, 2011, so to celebrate the program and the 116,265 pounds of kitchen scraps New Yorkers have contributed, we thought we'd take a look at some of the most fun ways people have been storing and transporting compost.

Special thanks to volunteer Nicholas Knoll for sharing his photo skills!

Have a cool photo of your compost solution? Post it on our Facebook page!

Learn more about GrowNYC's compost program.

Early Summer Greens Available at Fresh Bodegas

July 6, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged fresh bodegas

We're thrilled to announce that Fresh Bodegas refrigerators are now stocked with spinach, collard greens, and strawberries, in addition to delicious Red Jacket Orchards juices.

Participating locations include:

Bedford Express Deli
1043 Bedford Ave.
(between Greene and Clifton)

Greene Ave. Deli
664 Greene Ave.
(at Throop)

Si Grocery
1082 DeKalb
(at Malcolm X Blvd.)

Learn more about Fresh Bodegas.

A new farm for the Tellos

June 16, 2011

It’s been almost twelve years since Nestor and Alejandra Tello first joined the New Farmer Development Project in 2000 as the project’s first farmers. They’ve now become one of the project's true success stories, growing from modest beginnings with a few hundred chickens to a flock of 4000 lay-ers, on-farm honey production, and some diversified vegetables to boot.

Most recently, after 10 years of renting land, Nestor and Alejandra were finally able to purchase their very own 25 acre farm in Coxsackie, NY late last year.

Tello's Green Farm keeps its loyal customers happy at 8 Greenmarkets and 3 CSAs throughout New York City.

Click here for more info about the Tellos and the New Farmer Development Project.

Compost pilot hits 41,000 lbs

April 28, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost

Since launching our compost pilot collection at several Greenmarkets on March 5, participation has grown by "greens and browns." Over eight weekends we have collected more than 41,000 pounds of food scraps at select markets in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The pilot runs through June 25, so come show your support for composting this spring!

Learn more about GrowNYC's compost initiatives.

Wholesale Greenmarket now open for the 2011 Season

April 11, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged greenmarket co, wholesale

Last Friday marked the opening of the 2011 season at the Wholesale Greenmarket. The restaurants, garden centers, landscapers, and everyday shoppers in attendance were thrilled to see the colorful offerings on display. Coming from as close as 15 minutes outside the city, our growers brought in an assortment of flowers, herbs, and shrubs to help city residents get a head start on their spring planting.

Get more information about Wholesale Greenmarket.

Location:
New Fulton Fish Market
800 Food Center Drive
Hunts Point, the Bronx

Hours:
Monday – Saturday, 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Interview with Stephan Cantor of Deep Mountain Maple

March 11, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged farmer, interview

How long have you been tapping maple trees?

It corresponds pretty well with how long we’ve been at Greenmarket-- since 1986. We’re going into our 27th season of selling new syrup at the market. The first market we ever did was Union Square Friday. That first year, we just sold for a few weeks in the spring.  We didn’t know how we’d do at the market, but we expanded our season over the next few years, and then it became a year-round business. We’ve been there on Fridays ever since.

How many trees do you tap?

Over 5,000 taps, we’ve done some expansion this year, and we’ve taken on a new sugar bush just up the hill from us, it’s on the same hill our bush lays across. It’s a beautiful piece of land which belongs to a friend and neighbor.

When we first started, we sugared from a sleigh pulled by horses, and collected the syrup in buckets. The next year we bought the piece of land we now call Deep Mountain, and we eventually switched over to tubing, because with thousands of taps to collect from, to try and run an efficient business on the sled…it was impossible to keep up with production.

Can you describe the process of ‘sugaring’?

Sugaring—you either love it or you don’t. You get real connected to the change of seasons this time of year. And you go kind of crazy—the sap is controlling our lives right now! You get all the taps set up, and then you just wait. The thing is, sap is really unstable, as soon as it comes out of the trees micro organisms will start breaking it down so you want to boil it as soon as possible.

Tapping is the process of putting a hole in tree with a spout, attached to a tube. Sap runs through the tubing into yet a bigger tube, and then an even bigger tube (the mainline) which runs to the sugar house where the sap empties into thousand-gallon tanks. The tubing is just 1.5 inches wide, so I always tell people it’s like you’re plumbing the woods.

In the sugar house, the sap boils down in two pans which are six feet wide by 16 feet long. They rest on a framework called an arch which is centered around a wood fire.

You want to boil the sap as hot and as fast as you can.

It takes about 40-60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. The whole process is just simple reduction, reducing sap to concentrate. The specific density of the syrup is measured with hydrometer.

When do you know that the sap is ready to run?

Well, you’ll see the first sap in the tubes-- it’s the miracle of spring and the miracle of sugar maples. The Sugar Maples is a deciduous tree that stands dormant all winter.  Its molecules are surrounded by carbon dioxide gas (not water like most trees) so what happens in the Northeast in the early spring, is that you get a succession of days when it warms up above freezing, but at night it drops back down below freezing. So you’ve got this thawing and freezing thing going on. It causes the gas to expand, and escape out through the branch tips of the trees. At night when it freezes again, the gas retracts. The tree then acts like a giant pump, pulling water from the ground and minerals from the soil to create sap, which is the food for the new leaves that will be sprouting soon. It so happens that the sap early in the spring has lots of flavor compounds, and they’re all good—nothing astringent, that’s why you can boil it. The sap has a very high sugar content, 1.5%-2%. Later in the spring, once the budding on the tree has started to occur, the tree releases new compounds in the sap, changing the sugar content, and making it increasingly bitter. When the trees are about to bud is when you stop collecting sap. I am no scientist, I may not get this all perfectly exact, but this is how the process has been explained to me.

How many gallons of syrup will you produce in a good year?

We hope for a season that’s five to six weeks long. This year we hope to make 1700 to1800 gallons of syrup, but that’ll be a good year if we do. There are variables that do affect our production season—foremost, how much precipitation we’ve had in the last year. If we’ve had a lot of moisture in the year leading up, that’s really good, the more water there is in the ground, the better it is for the run. Snow cover is good too. That’s going to keep the conditions colder, longer. What we want is to extend this transition into spring, which drives some of us crazy! Honestly what I really wish is that the sun would come out and the daffodils would come up in my yard, and I could sit on the porch.

But what I have to wish is that we get a big wet snow in April. Low pressure systems give you get the best runs, so you have to wish against your intuition.

You were able to attend Terra Madre in Tourin, Italy this fall as a Greenmarket delegate. What was your experience like there, and how has it affected your business?

We had a tremendous experience at Terra Madre. Howie and I were really moved by the whole thing—what Slow Food is doing, the trip to Italy, and learning about the transformative work that people are doing all over the planet. I was particularly struck by this simple idea that there are chefs and food activists and people doing small-scale food production all over the world. If you can get 5,000 of them together, and provide some loose structure, they’ll talk to each other and figure things out. Every single person there is doing something interesting. I guess the word that comes to mind is affirmation. Sometimes, doing what we do, making syrup the old fashioned way, because we believe in the process, we face some intense pressures. Maple sugar making is under some real pressure to change. Most of it has to do with new technologies, so we struggle to keep doing it the way believe in. Sometimes we look at each other and say ‘Are we crazy?’ We truck it all the way down to Greenmarket, instead of selling the business to Proctor and Gamble. I never doubt what we do, but sometimes I wonder, you know, if we aren’t kind of nuts. First, I’m so grateful to Greenmarket for thinking of us to represent the organization at Terra Madre, and we’re also just so grateful for the opportunity to go there and be reminded that we’re not the only ones doing this kind of work. It’s really important to be reminded of why you do what you do, when a lot of the time it feels like a drop in the bucket.

Just in terms of the big picture, the view of what Greenmarket has accomplished in 35 years is astounding. I think of the founding farmers who were the true pioneers, and even 27 years ago when we started, we were on the cutting edge of this awareness about where our food comes from. Every single person, three times a day, can make a real choice about our food system! Terra Madre helped me to know all this with more certainty.

We brought that spirit home, and we feel like it’s re-inspired us to do what we do at Greenmarket and how we run our farm, and how think about the choices we have to make going forward.

Did you meet any other maple syrup producers while at Terra Madre?

We were the only maple syrup producers at Terra Madre.  It was the indigenous people in the Northeast who first figured this [the process of tapping and reduction] out, and how to do it, and they taught the European colonists. We meet people at the market all the time who don’t know what maple syrup is. That’s been a big part of our whole stint at the market—explaining just what maple syrup is, how it’s produced, and how it’s graded (it’s graded by color, lighter batches are more delicate but more complex than the darker grades). I’ve explained many times over it in English and in Spanish, that’s the extent of my language skills!

You used to work with Bread and Puppet Theatre, is there any connection between your life as a puppeteer and the work you do now?

Howie and I met at Bread and Puppet, I wouldn’t be in Vermont were it not for Bread and Puppet. There is a sugar bush on the Bread and Puppet farm, and that’s where Howie sugared just before we moved to Deep Mountain. The Schumanns, who founded Bread and Puppet, had a sugarbush behind their house on the old farm, and no one was doing anything with it so Howie asked if he could sugar it. I also learned that art is food, it feeds you, that’s why it’s called Bread and Puppet—look we all need to eat and we all need art in our lives.

Greenmarket Annual Meeting

March 11, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket

On Monday, March 7th, Greenmarket staff, farmers, and community members came together for the 2011 Greenmarket Annual Meeting. Every March, the Greenmarket community gets together to present the previous year’s accomplishments and discuss what the next season has in store. Over 230 farmers and producers attended the meeting.

One thing is for certain: everyone is ready for Spring!

Bronx Youthmarket cartoon from The Riverdale Press

March 7, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged youthmarket

Cartoonist Michael X. Martin recently featured GrowNYC's Kingsbridge Heights Youthmarket in a cartoon for The Riverdale Press. Check it out above!

The Kingsbridge Heights Youthmarket will be open on Fridays from July 8th to October 28th. Stay tuned for more info throughout the summer!

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