The Greenmarket Experience at the Hyatt Union Square

November 26, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket

GrowNYC recently released The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz, a collection of one hundred seasonal recipes from today’s top chefs and culinary minds. In light of this exciting occasion, Hyatt Union Square New York is celebrating its neighbor with The Greenmarket Experience. Guests who book this experience package will receive a robust sampling of, and introduction to, what this beloved green oasis in the heart of Manhattan has to offer.

Guests will receive:

  • A Greenmarket Wheat Beer from Brooklyn Brewery, which is grown from 70% New York State-grown wheat and barley
  • A $20 shopping credit to use at the Greenmarket throughout their stay,
  • A Hyatt Union Square New York canvas bag to tote their loot, and
  • A guide featuring interesting background on GrowNYC and its vendors.
  • The New Greenmarket Cookbook.

This package has been carefully curated to demonstrate the hotel's alignment with the GrowNYC initiatives, which include supporting family farms, farmers, markets, gardens, recycling, and education.

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.

A Greenmarket at the Crossroads of the World

October 15, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket

You’ve always come to Times Square for the lights, entertainment, and energy – but now you can come for fresh, local New York State products too!

GrowNYC, Times Square Alliance, and Taste NY are coming together to present the Times Square Greenmarket: Farm to TSq on Thursdays from 10/16 to 11/6 from 8am to 5pm on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

Complete with fresh fruits, yogurt drinks, jams, honey, maple syrup and baked goods all grown and produced in New York State, the all-day Times Square Greenmarket will give patrons a chance to eat seasonally inspired dishes sold by neighborhood restaurants and sip on beer, wine and hard cider while jamming to live music.  Food, music and family activities will make the Times Square Greenmarket a great event for New Yorkers of all ages. Cooking demonstrations will be presented by Havana Central and The Lambs Club among others, each Thursday from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM.

View the full market flyer.

Times Square Greenmarket: Farm to TSq Schedule

Thursday, October 16
Location: Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Cooking Demonstration (11:00AM - 1:00PM) provided by: Havana Central at Times Square

Thursday, October 23
Location: Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Cooking Demonstration (11:00AM - 1:00PM) provided by: The Lambs Club at Times Square

Thursday, October 30
Location: TBD
Cooking Demonstration (11:00AM - 1:00PM) provided by:  TBD

Thursday, November 6
Location: Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Cooking Demonstration (11:00AM - 1:00PM) provided by: TBD

Night Markets are back this fall

October 8, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket

Fall Night Markets!

Union Square Mercato Notturno: Tasting Italian History 
Union Square Greenmarket - 17th Street btw Park & Broadway (north plaza) 
Friday, October 10th
4pm-8pm

Participating Mercato Notturno Restaurants:
Pizza Moto 
Otaleg!
Otto 
The Pavilion 
Ends Meat
Parmacotto


AND


Union Square Cider Week Night Market
Union Square Greenmarket - 17th Street btw Park & Broadway (north plaza) 
Friday, October 24th
​4pm-8pm

Participating Cider Week Night Market Restaurants:
Maysville
Northern Spy
The Pavilion
Queens Kickshaw
Taco Santo

These events are free and open to the public and hosted in collaboration with the Union Square Partnership.

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.

Fresh Foodbox profiled in the Observer

August 4, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged foodbox

GrowNYC's Fresh Foodbox program was recently profiled in a New York Observer article entitled "Overpriced and Underserved: How One Group is Fighting Food Deserts in NYC."  We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

In a city that seems to have a grocery store or fruit stand on every block, it might be surprising to learn that fresh produce is often inaccessible to many New Yorkers. But in areas known as "food deserts," quality produce is difficult to find, especially on a budget. Fortunately, an expanding program at GrowNYC is striving to make eating fruits and vegetables cool, accessible and affordable again.

Each FoodBox includes a fruit, a cooking green, a raw green, an aromatic (i.e. garlic, scallion, onion), and 5-8 fresh and seasonal vegetables. Ms. Tucker claimed that buyers are often surprised by how much food is actually in a FoodBox — enough to feed a family of four for a week when supplemented with grains and proteins.

Although Fresh FoodBox is aimed at underserved areas throughout the city and accepts EBT/SNAP benefits in addition to cash and credit/debit, Ms. Tucker pointed out that areas lacking access to quality produce are not necessarily located in poorer neighborhoods.

"We have a FoodBox [site] on the Upper East Side,” Ms. Tucker noted “… [Participants] are so excited because everything in the area is Coach handbag stores, but you can’t buy an apple."

Read the article!

Health Bucks are Back!

July 7, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged ebt, health bucks

From now until November, while supplies last, for every $5 you spend with your EBT card at one of our Greenmarkets, you will receive a $2 Health Bucks coupon good for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables in the market.

The Health Bucks initiative was developed by the NYC Health Department District Public Health Offices and in 2013, GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets distributed over $260,000 worth of Health Bucks at 51 market locations. The increase of 40% in buying power can help increase a Food Stamp budget and encourage shoppers to spend more of their monthly Food Stamp allotment on fresh produce from the market. Overall, this innovative program helps GrowNYC/Greenmarket provide additional opportunities for shoppers to access fresh and affordable produce in NYC.

Ever wondered if you might qualify for EBT/Foodstamp benefits? There are over 500,000 people in New York City that qualify for EBT/Foodstamps but do not receive them. Several of our markets will be holding EBT screening sessions throughout the summer to help New Yorkers find out if they qualify for Foodstamps and provide them with resources on how to file for those benefits. Partners including The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, The Food Bank of New York City, and The Met Council will be on hand at Union Square Greenmarket through the end of August on Mondays and Fridays from 9 am to 2 pm and at other markets throughout the summer and fall. Visit your local market webpage to find out if they will be hosting an upcoming screening.   

Learn more about GrowNYC's EBT and Food Access programs.

The New Greenmarket Cookbook is here!

May 5, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged cookbook

Just in time to guide you through the abundance of summer at Greenmarket, with bright berries, crisp pole beans, and every size, shape and color of heirloom tomato, The New Greenmarket Cookbook has arrived!

Written by Gabrielle Langholtz, the book shares recipes from 100 of our favorite chefs. These dishes spotlight seasonal, local ingredients – from fluke to freekeh to fingerlings - available at what Chef Michael Anthony calls, "one of our most precious resources in New York City."

Beyond recipes, the book offers 20 stories of Greenmarket farmers, fishers, millers, sugarmakers and beekeepers. Nevia No of Bodhi Tree Farm divulges the secrets behind her impeccable farmstand, and Chip Kent of Locust Grove Fruit Farm tells tales of Union Square’s local color in the early days of Greenmarket. The chefs within the book’s pages are some of these farmers’ very best customers, encouraging them to grow new things and eagerly gobbling up the farmers’ own experiments. The New Greenmarket Cookbook celebrates these relationships as well as providing delicious recipes simple enough for the home cook.

You’ll find it at every retailer and at your neighborhood Greenmarket. Keep checking this page for details, and happy cooking!

Regional Grains Project Samples Single Malt at Breuckelen Distilling

April 3, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged greenmarkets, Grains
 
The Greenmarket Regional Grains Project witnessed accidental greatness recently during a visit to Breuckelen Distilling, where we sampled a fresh batch of single malt whiskey in the company of the masterminds behind its creation: grain farmer Thor Oechsner, maltsters Andrea and Christian Stanley of Valley Malt, and head distiller and owner Brad Estabrooke.
 
"That single malt is certainly the most exciting thing we are doing at the moment," said Brad.
 
And to think that the malt, which Brad called "perfect," came from barley that was all but useless after being pounded by the 2013 rains.
 
Thor credits Andrea for rediscovering the lost art of "providence malting -- an old technique for sprouted barley," he said. "She is the star here. She saved my crop for Brad. She figured out how to work with it."
 
A budding regional grains system at work! Just a few years ago the sprouted barley would have meant a major loss for Thor. Instead, the flourishing new markets of local malt, local whiskey and local beer mean that Thor can remain financially viable, continue feeding the regional demand for grains, and thrive as one of the region's finest farmers. And thanks to people like Andrea, Christian and Brad, that means we drinkers get to taste those grains in our favorite beers and spirits.  
 
Here's the story in Andrea's words....
 
Visiting Breuckelen was the highlight of our visit to Brooklyn where we were able to see our malt in action. Being in a room together with the farmer and distiller is a rare occurrence for me as I am usually just hanging out with my malt, but not always seeing where it goes.
 
The backstory of the barley and the malt we made for Brad was really interesting, or at least interesting if you are a malt nerd like me. 2013 was a cruel year for grains in the Northeast. We were plagued with rain in the most inopportune times, especially right when the barley was supposed to be harvested. Thor's winter barley was beautiful to look at, but under the surface something had happened when all that rain hit it after it had matured. The natural tendency of the barley seed is to sprout and reproduce. However we don't want this to happen in the field, we want it to happen in the malthouse.
 
We identified that Thor's barley had pre-harvest sprouting through a Falling-Numbers test and attempted to malt it with little luck. Textbooks say PHS is a deal breaker for the maltster. The first batches we tried to malt went for animal feed.
 
Then luck struck in November. The barley/malt/whisky Gods decided to intervene. Through the wisdom of a retired maltster, we learned of an adjusted steep schedule that would allow us to malt this PHS barley. We ran a few test batches, got things sprouting and BA-BAM we were making malt from Thor's barley. We sent a few tons to Brad at Breuckelen and he was very happy with the results. In fact the lower PH mash that this malt produced was exactly what he wanted for this single malt whisky. Given the crazy turn of events, I think this should be called Serendipity Single Malt.

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. 
 

 

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