Cover Crops Add to the Sustainability of Greenmarket Farms

September 19, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged Grains

Greenmarket farmers are using cover crops to help with soil fertility, soil quality, water management, pest, disease and weed control, as well as income revenue. Cover cropping is an integral part of sustainable farming and when used thoughtfully can greatly improve the viability and resilience of a farm, a key advantage in today's changing climate. With this in mind FARMroots interviewed three Greenmarket farmers, to learn more about their cover cropping practices. 

KEN MIGLIORELLI OF MIGLIORELLI FARMS 

Ken Migliorelli is the owner of Migliorelli farms, a 1000 acre diversified vegetable, fruit, and small grains farm in Northern Dutchess County. Ken and his team grow 400 acres of vegetables, 100 acres of fruit, and 400-500 acres in cover crop, small grains, and pasture. It’s that last 400-500 acres that we focused on for this interview. Read more below: 

When did you start cover cropping?  

Way back in the 90’s me and my father used to argue about cover crop. We were mostly growing rye and his point was that if you plant rye in the spring and think you can plant [a vegetable crop] into that rye later, you’re going to have a mess. The rye will take over. And he had a point. So my dad was in charge, and I had trouble feeding the soil the way I wanted to feed it. He retired in 1999, and when I took over control I started a more extensive cover cropping system. So I’ve been doing it intensively since 2000. My main with cover cropping is feeding the soil, but I also like it for erosion control. 

What are your main cover crops and what do you use them for?

My main cover crops are oats, sorghum Sudan, rye, and hairy vetch and I’ll do different things with them. For example, I had a field that I’m putting into garlic this fall. I put it into Sorghum Sudan earlier, which I took out at the beginning of August and planted oats. The garlic won’t get planted until mid-October and the frost will have already burnt [the oats] down a bit. I plant other fields in oats later in the year, three weeks into August in preparation for next year’s spring planting. Those oats will winter-kill and the field will be ready to be planted in the spring. 

I also plant some fields with oats early in the spring; fields that I know are going to be out of production all year. Oats like cool soil, so they get planted in the spring, in March. Sorghum Sudan likes warmer soil, so they get planted in the summer, or mid May. Then at the beginning of August I take that out and plant a hairy vetch/rye mixture (50/50). So for ground that I’m leaving out of production all year I have three different cover crops. 

What kind of positive results have you seen from using cover crops intensively over the past 13 years?

Sorghum Sudan grows a lot of roots and has a lot of mass. I’ve seen my organic matter creep up over the years. When I started cover cropping intensively in 2000 my organic matter was at about 1.5%, and now, 13 years later, it’s up around 3-4%. It might not seem like a lot but it is. The Sorghum Sudan has a lot to do with that. Every time you plow you are burning carbon and you need to get that back in. I’ve seen a steady increase in my yields since I’ve been cover cropping. 

Where do you see your cover cropping development going over the next few years? 

My aunt and uncle bought a dairy farm recently that came with the haying equipment, hay customers, and hay fields. Before I had access to that equipment and those fields I was in a 1-2 year rotation with cover crops. Now I’m in a 3-4 year rotation. I have about 80-100 acres in alfalfa which I use both for nitrogen fixation and for hay. 

I am also getting more into the production of small grains for income generation. I grow rye and vetch for seed which I combine and sell to other small farms in the region and I think I’ll continue to do that. I also just sold 8 tons of rye to a distillery across the river and I have two breweries looking for barley. I grow some wheat now and I’ll be putting in barley soon. 

I’m continuing to try and grow cover crops in between my plastic. In ’09 it was a little bit of a nightmare but I’m trying it again. We had a twilight meeting a couple of weeks back and there were a lot of organic farmers on my farm talking about their own ideas in growing cover crop in between plastic. It was a nice collaboration and good to see a mixture of folks talking about the same thing. 

Of the 1000 acres that I farm, 500 are in pasture and cover crops. That’s 50% of my farm and I don’t see that changing. It’s very important to me. My daughter is studying plant science right now and I think she understands better now what I’ve been trying to do. That’s exciting. 

___________________________________________________________

MORSE PITTS OF WINDFALL FARMS 

Morse Pitts, owner of Windfall Farms, has been growing cover crop on his farm ever since he first started his business 32 years ago. He plants a combination of red clover, winter rye, buckwheat, and oats for a wide variety of reasons. Read more about Morse’s cover cropping below:

I drill red clover in the fall and I mix it in with things from the mustard family like arugula, tat soi and last year we did a lot of turnips. I’ll harvest the cold-hearty mustard family stuff for sale at markets, and let the clover continue to grow. For me, clover is mostly a soil amendment, like a fertilizer. This year I’m going with red clover because it’s what’s available, but I’ve done white in the past. 

The clover over-winters, and we wait until there is a good stand in the summer time to take it down. That leaves the field out of production for a few months in the spring, but I’m lucky enough to have enough land to make it work.

I also plant winter rye in the fall in pretty much any place where a crop has finished and I’m not planning on planting anything for late-fall or winter harvest. Rye is both a fertilizer and good for holding the soil, erosion control. I till that in the spring before it goes to seed. Sometimes, if the stand is good enough, we can use it for mulch (hay).

During the summer if there is any time when a field is being left open, I plant buckwheat. I like buckwheat because it keeps the weeds down. It’s good for bees but they can be an issue when you’re trying to till the field. You also have to be careful to not let it go to seed because it grows so fast.

Any space that I don’t use right away during the spring goes into oats, which is a good holding cover crop for just before something else is planted.

Oh, and did I mention weeds? Weeds are by far our number one cover crop. We love our weeds!

___________________________________________________________

RICHARDS GILES OF LUCKY DOG FARM

Richard Giles owns and operates Lucky Dog farm in Deleware county, a 150 acre organic diversified vegetable farm. He grows 60 acres of vegetables and the rest he puts into pasture and cover crop. He also has some of his land that is kept in permanent sod that his chops up for his compost pile. Learn more about his cover cropping techniques below. 

When did you start cover cropping? 

I’ve used cover crops since I’ve been on this farm and we started in 2000. We started cover cropping our first fall with some help from the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC). They have always promoted cover cropping. Since then, as we’ve taken on more land, we make it a habit to cover everything. 

What are your main cover crops and what do you use them for?

We're in a flood plain which gives us great soil but means that we’re very prone to flooding. So we have another reason (besides soil fertility) for cover cropping. We try not to keep any ground bare. 

We use mostly winter rye mixed with hairy vetch. The rye has a really dense mass of roots so it’s great at soil holding. We also use it as a green manure, and use a neighbor’s combine to harvest our own seed for future plantings. We also have a distiller right here in Walton who makes whiskey using our rye. So that’s another goal, turn more cover crops into cash crops. Rye also make a great chop for compost, so we’ll chip it up and put into the compost pile. Being an organic farm we make our own compost.  

Over the past couple of years we’ve started planting a little wheat and we’ve been expanding our acreage. We have about 20 acres of wheat this year, which is cover and cash crop. It’s dual purpose. We’re milling flour up here. I’ve sold wheat as commodity but never been to the mill with it like this. Like anything else there’s a lot to it. We have a pasta maker who uses it and we’re selling  it at farmers markets too. People are also really excited about the wheat berries. That’s the nice thing about selling in New York City. People are willing to try new things. 

We’ve also used oats in places that weren’t so much a flood risk. We plant the oats in the fall allowing them some good growth and then they winter kill. That leaves a really nice place for a spring planting. We also have started planting clovers in with the oat crop in some cases. We grow that all the way through the next season and when things come in behind that there is real nice nitrogen fixation. We leave fields like that out of production for almost a whole year. 

What kind of positive results have you seen from using cover crops intensively over the past 13 years?

Erosion control is the easy one. Just this fall we had rye that had only been up for 3-4 weeks and we got a fall flood. Just 3-4 weeks of growth from the rye and we could see down through the water that the plants had taken root and were holding the soil in place. So just that growth helped us a lot. Its dramatic how much it holds. 

We’ve also tried to build new organic matter using cover crops. Plowing in a heavy gross crop like rye is a great way to do that. We see internal drainage benefits and see benefits with the roots of our crop plants.

Where do you see your cover cropping development going over the next few years? 

We’ve got a no-till drill that a guy up here rents to us, so we’ve started doing some [rye drilling] to come in behind crops when we’re late or have just harvested. The beans for example, we will get a frost tonight and probably lose the crop, but we can come in with the seed drill and plant rye directly into the beans without tilling. Basically we’re trying to get cover crop on every inch of the land that we’ve got here. 

 

Pop Up Greenmarket hosted by Tishman Speyer on Hudson St 9/17 & 9/18

September 9, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket
 
Greenmarket and Tishman Speyer will open a pop-up Greenmarket at 375 Hudson Street in downtown Manhattan. The 2-day market will be home to regionally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, flowers and baked goods. Access is free and open to the public.
 
Two days only! Hudson & West Houston St, Manhattan 8am - 5pm Tuesday, September 17 and Wednesday, September 18 
 
Farms Attending
 
Millport Dairy Cheddar cheese, eggs and meat from Lancaster County, PA 
Paumanok Vineyards Wine from Suffolk County, NY
Beth's Farm Kitchen Jams, preserves, chutneys, and pickled vegetables from Columbia County, New York.
Las Delicias Patisserie Baked goods from Bronx County, New York

Union Square Greenmarket Night Market

July 12, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket

On Wednesday, July 17, Greenmarket will celebrate its 37th anniversary, and we’ll be partying into the night at Union Square Greenmarket’s first ever night market. In collaboration with Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer’s office, as well as over 15 neighborhood restaurants, the market will offer the same great summer bounty customers have come to love and rely on through the decades, alongside prepared food, live music by the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn and beer courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery.

Watermelon are officially in season, as are green beans, corn, okra, peaches and apricots. Fill your shopping bags and dine on summer fare while reveling under the stars at this Manhattan institution.

It’ll be a party for all ages-- we hope to see you out there!

Union Square Night Market and Birthday Party
Union Square Park - Union Square West and 17th Street
4pm to 8pm

View the full-size flyer below:

GrowNYC and Brooklyn Brewery Launch Greenmarket Wheat Beer

June 19, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged Grains, Beer

GrowNYC and Brooklyn Brewery are excited to announce the launch of Greenmarket Wheat, a beer collaboration between local farmers, malters, and brewers that captures the flavor of regional agriculture in a bottle.  

Greenmarket Wheat is a wheat beer made with raw wheat from North Country Farm in Watertown, NY, Pilsner Barley Malt from Valley Malt in Hadley, MA, and Wildflower Honey from Tremblay Apiaries, Chemung County, NY. 

The idea for Greenmarket Wheat grew from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 Farm Brewery License legislation aimed at expanding the growth of craft breweries and increase demand for locally grown products to brew beer statewide.

"Our Greenmarket Regional Grains Initiative works with regional farmers to devote more acreage to growing grains. Creating partnerships to move their product into the hands of bakers—and now brewers—has helped their businesses scale up production," said Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC. "Greenmarket Wheat is a collaboration of local growers, millers, malters and brewers who will all benefit from the sale of this new product, not to mention consumers who can purchase a refreshing ale they can feel good supporting. Shoppers come to the Greenmarket to eat local. Now they can drink local. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Brooklyn Brewery and our producers to bring local grains into the spotlight."

Greenmarket Wheat will be available for sale by the bottle on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Union Square Greenmarket.

GrowNYC Market Update Radio Show

June 4, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket

Did you know that GrowNYC's Greenmarket program had a weekly radio show?

Tune in each Thursday at 1:45 PM to Heritage Radio for the GrowNYC Market Update to hear profiles of our 50+ markets around the city-- including tips like which farmers have the first snap peas, historical and cultural sites near the farmstands and where to grab a special snack in the neighborhood.

Or catch up on past radio shows below!

4/4/13- McCarren Park/Greenpoint Greenmarket    

4/11/13- Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Greenmarket  

4/18/13- Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket   

4/25/13- Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

5/02/13- 82nd Street Greenmarket

5/09/13- Tribeca Greenmarket

5/15/13- Tucker Square Greenmarket

5/23/13- Windsor Terrace Greenmarket

5/30/13- Forest Hills Greenmarket

Greenmarket and Compost+Textile Recycling Easter Schedule Changes

March 28, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket

Easter Greenmarket Schedule - Sunday, March 31st
Also, Some food scrap composting and textile recycling collections at Greenmarket will be affected by the Easter holiday:


MANHATTAN
Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket - OPEN Saturday, March 30th (food scrap collections-YES, textile recycling-NO). CLOSED Sunday, March 31st (no food scrap and textile collections). 
79th Street Greenmarket - OPEN
Columbia University Greenmarket - OPEN

QUEENS
Jackson Heights Greenmarket - OPEN

BROOKLYN
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket - CLOSED, No food scrap or textile collections.
Cortelyou Greenmarket - OPEN

Plastic Cleanse: This April, BYO Bag

April 2, 2018
Posted in Greenmarket

 

Why Bring Your Own Bags? 

Single-use plastic bags are environmentally harmful.

• Even when properly disposed of, because of their weight and aerodynamic properties, plastic bags often become litter, clogging storm drains and waterways.

• New Yorkers use 9.37 billion carryout bags per year, the vast majority of which are not recycled.

• Plastic bags account for over 1,700 tons of residential garbage per week in NYC on average.

Plastic bags cost the public money. 

• Each year, New York City pays an estimated $12.5 million to transport 91,000 tons of plastic bags to landfills in other states.

• Shopping bags jam expensive machinery at recycling plants and contaminate the recycling stream, increasing costs.

Tips for a Plastic Purge!

1. Bring your own reusable totes, produce bags, and containers (great for fish and delicate produce) while shopping at Greenmarkets.

2. Say ‘no thank you’ if you are offered a plastic bag, or ask for a paper bag.

3. Carry a few extra reusable bags with you at all times. 

4. If you forget to BYOB, you can purchase reusable tote bags and produce bags at most Greenmarket Market Information tents. 

5. Collect your food scraps in resuable containers before dropping off at a food scrap collection location. 

6. Go #foamfree and quit using styrofoam for good. Learn more here

Instagram Contest on the @unsqgreenmarket Account!

We invite our followers to participate in a Plastic Cleanse social media contest! We know that single use bags are environmentally harmful. In NYC alone, they generate about 1700 tons of residential garbage on a weekly basis. We’re here to encourage you to make a difference and join our annual Plastic Cleanse. Show us how you shop plastic-free at the Greenmarket!

Photos can be taken at market or at home, we want to see how you avoid using plastic while shopping.  Two winners will receive a gift card to a restaurant that supports the Greenmarket and will be regrammed by the @unsqgreenmarket accounts.

Contest rules:

  • Take a photo and post it to your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account of your plastic-free shopping supplies before heading to market, a plastic-free interaction at market, or of your plastic-free market haul after shopping.

  • Tag @unsqgreenmarket and hashtag #GMKTnyc #PlasticCleanse to enter

  • Dates to enter are 4/3 - 4/30/18.

  • GrowNYC and Greenmarket staff, volunteers, farm staff, or farmers, or family members are not eligible to win.

  • Open to NYC residents. Contest ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on 4/30/18.

  • On 5/1/18, GrowNYC will pick 2 winners at random to receive a gift card to a local restaurant that shops at the Greenmarket.

Learn more about GrowNYC’s sustainability efforts: 
www.grownyc.org

#plasticcleanse

Christmas and New Year's Day Greenmarket Schedule

November 1, 2017
Posted in Greenmarket

Happy Holidays! Greenmarket farmers markets and food scrap and clothing collections have some schedule changes the week of Christmas and New Year's, see below.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24th 


MONDAY, DECEMBER 25th - Christmas Day

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26th

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31st 

MONDAY, JANUARY 1st - New Year's Day 

Greenmarket Turkey Buying Guide 2014

November 24, 2014
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged thanksgiving, TURKEY

Thanksgiving is just around the corner—November 27th, to be exact—and turkey orders are already filling fast! Find out below what local farms are bringing pasture-raised Thanksgiving turkeys to your neighborhood Greenmarket.

Dipaola Turkey

Breed: Broad Breasted White (parts and sausage also available)
Where to order and pick up: At the Greenmarket locations below or by preordering at dipaolaturkey@gmail.com. Details on ordering via email here
www.dipaolaturkeyfarm.com

79th Street Sundays, 11/23
97th Street Friday, 11/26 
Abingdon Square Saturdays, 11/22
Brooklyn Borough Hall Saturday, 11/22
Carroll Gardens Sundays, 11/23
Columbia Sundays, 11/23
Cortelyou Sundays, 11/23
Forest Hills, 11/23
Fort Greene Saturday, 11/22
Grand Army Plaza Saturday, 11/22 

Greenpoint Saturday, 11/22
Inwood Saturday, 11/22
Jackson Heights Sunday, 11/23
St. George Saturdays, 11/23
Tompkins Square Park Sundays
Tribeca Saturday, 11/22
Union Square Wednesday, 11/26

† Market open Wednesday before Thanksgiving for pick-ups.

Arcadian Pastures

Breed: Broad Breasted White
Where to order: Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays, Greenpoint/McCarren Park Saturdays, Grand Army Plaza Saturdays
Where and when to pick up: Greenpoint/McCarren Park on Saturday, 11/22; Grand Army Plaza, 11/22; Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesday, 11/26
www.arcadianpastures.com

Garden of Spices

Breed: Broad Breasted White, and goose for Thanksgiving and Christmas
Where to order: Abingdon Square Greenmarket Saturdays and Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays, pre-order at gardenofspices@gmail.com
Where and when to pick up: Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesday, 11/26 (no pick-ups at Abingdon Square Greenmarket)

Norwich Meadows

Breed: Great White; Certified Organic.
Where to order: Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and Tompkins Square Greenmarket Sundays 
Where and when to pick up: Union Square Greenmarket Friday, 11/21; Saturday, 11/22, Monday, 11/24; Wednesday, 11/26 and Tompkins Square Greenmarket Sunday, 11/23
www.norwichmeadowsfarm.com

Roxbury Mountain Maple 

Breed: Dutch Broad Breasted White
Where to order: Union Square Greenmarket Mondays and Wednesdays, Columbia University Greenmarket Thursdays, 97th Street Greenmarket Fridays or by calling 607.538.1500
Where and when to pick up: Union Square Greenmarket Monday, 11/24 and Wednesday, 11/26; Columbia University Greenmarket Re-scheduled to Tuesday, 11/25 and the 97th Street Greenmarket re-scheduled to Wednesday, 11/26 
www.roxburymountainmaple.com

Quattros Game Farm

Breeds: Wild, Broad Breasted White, Bourbon Red
Where and how to order: Union Square Greenmarket Saturdays or call 845.635.2018
Where and when to pick up: Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday, 11/22 or Wednesday, 11/26
www.quattrosfarm.com

Stannard Farm

Breeds: Broad Breasted White 
Where and how to order: Columbia University Greenmarket Thursdays and Sundays, Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket Sundays, 92nd Street Greenmarket Sundays
Where and when to pick up: Columbia University Greenmarket Sunday, 11/23 and re-scheduled Tuesday market, 11/25; Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket Sunday 11/23; 92nd Street Greenmarket Sunday, 11/23

Tamarack Hollow Farm

Breeds: Broad Breasted Bronze, Bourbon Red
Where and how to order: Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays or by emailing tamarackhollowfarm@gmail.com
Where and when to pick up: Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesday, 11/26
www.tamarackhollowfarm.com

Violet Hill Farm

Breed: Broad Breasted White, Bourbon Red, Narragansett (limited quantity!)
Where and how to order: Union Square Greenmarket Saturdays, online at www.violethillfarm.com or by emailing vhmeat@gmail.com
Where and when to pick up: Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday, 11/22 or Wednesday, 11/26
www.violethillfarm.com

Greenmarket Food Scrap Collection Surpasses 2 Million Pound Mark

November 7, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost

Since 2011, GrowNYC has worked to expand food scrap collections at Greenmarket. In partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation, the program has grown to 30 markets, averaging 100,000 pounds a month diverted from disposal and used locally for renewable energy or fertile compost for urban farms, gardens and more.

To date more than 2 million pounds of food scraps have been dropped at market, which would fill enough of our collection boxes to create a stack taller than Mount Everest! But the impact is even greater: every apple core deposited in a compost bin has been a vote for increased composting citywide, which has come to fruition with the Department of Sanitation’s new Organics Collection Program. Keep on composting!

Read the complete press release here.

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