TODAY WAS LAUNCH DAY FOR THE NEW BARCLAYS CENTER GREENMARKET, in cooperation with GrowNYC. The market’s regular hours are 8 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays now through November. (Food stamps are accepted, even incentivized, at GrowNYC partner-markets.) Brooklyn Artisan braved today’s extreme heat to browse the farmstands and talk with the vendors, but didn’t stick it out for the mid-morning food demonstration of corn salads.
The new greenmarket is at the crossroads of Atlantic and Flatbush (look for the huge inflated rat), just outside Atlantic Terminal, so commuters-special shopping is definitely an option. Because of the heat, most stands closed early today, around 3 or 3:30, but they had opened bright and early, definitely ready to serve customers by 8. The familiar truck farm offerings included a few surprises such as nicely cleaned fish presented in well-iced cases (Hint: A sprinkling of salt on the ice makes it hold up better in the heat, the folks from Suffolk County’s American Seafood told us. If you’re planning to pick up some of their fish next week, though, best bring a cool pack and insulated bag to get it home.)
John D. Madura Farms had the biggest spread, from corn to carrots to kale plus potatoes (see photos above), radishes, and plenty more, grown at Pine Island in the Black Dirt Region of Orange County, NY. Staffing the booth was John D.’s young son Skuyler, who spoke with pride of the community-supported agriculture part of the family business.
The Body & Soul Vegan Bakery booth offered yummy-looking fancy breads and gluten-free items, many made with locally grown ingredients. James, behind the counter, was more than ready to explain the options and thought special orders could be arranged for pick up by particular customers. Body & Soul is long-established at the Union Square Market Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where a dozen reviewers on a food site gave top marks to this year-round regular. (BTW, job shopping today too? Check on the bakery’s Brooklyn-based food prep and production jobs at indeed.com.)
Matt in the Applestate Hilltop Family Farm booth knows his bees, or at least their honeys, the way a vintner knows grapes. He was ready to share his expertise — the sweetest honey came from the clover-fed bees, he said, whereas the wild-flower nourished bees produced a more nuanced flavor. The pure-honey complexities are interesting. (As he talked, Brooklyn Artisan imagined friends-and-family brunches built around honey-tastings.) The Applestate Hilltop aviary is in Calicoon, Sullivan County, NY.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Brooklyn artisanal without pickles! Rick’s Picks of Dutchess County has been producing hand-packed and all natural pickles “since 2004” and today was pushing Rick’s Picks’ Hotties – referring not to the smiling gentlemen in the booth, but to their crenelated cucumber and julienned veggies bottled with special hot (“but not searingly so,” one New York Times writer judged) pickling spices. Rick’s Picks pickles come in sweet flavors (4 choices), savory (6 choices), spicy (3 — hotties, mean beans, and smokras) and several special proprietary blends. Gift packs can be ordered from Rick’s Pics and you can even get low-sodium pickles from them.
GrowNYC’s handy credit-card sized fold-out of greenmarkets and farm produce outlets that take EBT credit lists nearly 50 in the Heartland (Brooklyn), and another 100 in Outer Brooklyn locations. Photographs: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.