Monthly ArchiveApril 2009
NYC Greenmarkets 18 Apr 2009 01:08 pm
Planting flowers is the thing to do until the spring and summer produce really starts rolling in at the New York City Greenmarkets. Tomorrow, Sunday April 19, at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, will be the first of CENYC’s one-day flower markets. There will be perennials and bulbs for your backyard garden beds, annuals for your patio container s, herbs for your kitchen gardens, and cut flowers for the vase in your living room. Many of the farmers you know from the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Borough Hall markets will be there, along with some other farms from around the region.
You can get more information about the Flower Market at CENYC’s Website
Over the next few weeks there will be flower markets on Staten Island (May 2nd) and in Quens (May 24) and the Bronx (June 7th). You can get the details from CENYC. A Manhattan flower market is in the works as well.
NYC Greenmarkets 04 Apr 2009 06:37 pm
Spring is here, on the calendar at least and more and more in the air as well. The sun feels warm, and I emerge into daylight now when I climb up out of the Lorimer Street subway stop after commuting home from work. The first signs of spring are showing at the farmers markets too, as the bins of root vegetables and cold-storage apples are giving way to bunches of tulips and herb seedlings for Brooklynites’ windowsill gardens.
The first of the spring produce though is still for the most part a few weeks away. That first pint of strawberries you’re craving so much is at this moment just opening its first blossoms to the spring sun and the honeybees. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be found, even if you’re not shopping for plants. Mushrooms! Eggs! Beef! Turkey Sausage! Cheese! Seafood! Even this early in the season there’s plenty of farm-fresh food at the markets.
At the Greenpoint greenmarket a couple of weeks ago I stopped at the booth for Consider Bardwell Farms, from Pawlett Vermont. They’re well-known cheesemakers: Murray’s Cheese Handbook calls their Mettowee an “impeccably fresh goat cheese.” Their cheeses are apparently in demand by New York City restaurants as well. The day I visited they had cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, and goat ‘s milk cheeses, mild to full-flavored, soft to firm. I took home a chunk of the Dorset, a washed-rind, brie-like cheese (or as its label states, a Raclette-like cheese), made from raw cow’s milk. Amy, minding the booth that day, lives in the neighborhood and works for Consider Bardwell on the weekends. She was looking forward to heading up to the farm for ‘kidding’ – watching over the goats while their babies are born.
At the stand for Garden of Eve, an organic farm on the North Fork of Long Island, there were carrots, parsnips & rutabagas — the last of fall’s crop– along with organic eggs, and a big wicker basketful of… well… I didn’t know what they were. “Loofahs,” Explained Mike, who was working the table that day. I’d always assumed that loofahs came from some sort of tropical underwater plant, confusing them, I suppose, with sponges. But in fact they grow right here in the fields of New York area farms. “They’re sort of like squashes. You dry them out and shake out the seeds.” He demonstrated with what looked like a large dried cucumber. What was left was indeed a loofah–just like you’d buy along with that cake of hemp soap at your local Body Shop.
Next I saw a tablefull of very fresh and very unusual-looking mushrooms. At this booth was John from Madura Farms in Orange County, NY. I asked him how he’s able to grow mushrooms in winter –I assumed in greenhouses. “Not exactly,” John explained. “They’re grown in heated trailers,” in a loamy, soil-like mixture and in environments carefully controlled for moisture and light. “Mushrooms need some light,” John said, “contrary to what most people think. And each variety needs a slightly different amount.” That day John had fresh shitakes, baby bellas, and the very striking hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, which looked like balls of grey coral.
On Sundays John can be found at the Tompkins Square greenmarket in Manhattan, where he sells baby spinach and mesclun mix. To grow greens in the cold weather of early spring, John uses both greenhouses and ‘hot tunnels,’ plastic-encased chambers built over the fields that capture the heat and allow produce to grow throughout the winter directly in the soil. He told me about how in the cold air the fog condenses over the warm hot tunnels. He described it in beautiful details, but sadly that day I relied on my very faulty memory instead of a recorder to capture those details. I’m may try to track him down at Tompkins Square tomorrow to see if I can’t get him to describe it to me again.