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The Menu Meeting

The following essay was written for the New Amsterdam Market blog, in preparation for New Amsterdam Market’s upcoming Winter Night Banquet.  The multi-course dinner will be the first in a series of events that will inform and benefit the development of the New Amsterdam Market School of Regional Cookery, envisioned as a place where all New Yorkers can learn to shop for and prepare economical and nutritious meals, season by season.  The meeting described was an effort to collaboratively design the banquet menu.

Our banquet chefs, Sara Jenkins and Odessa Piper, may both be well known for their work in the sustainable food movement, but they are not cut of the same cloth.  You meet the two women and imagine each presiding over a productive kitchen, one with a hefty cleaver, and the other with a magic wand.  Sara chuckles at the idea of lamb testicles, and lays down the law when it comes to Italian olive oil.  Odessa reflects on exquisite hickory nuts and daydreams about flats of fresh ground cherries.  Their personal styles are as different as those of April Bloomfield in New York and Alice Waters in Berkeley.  Yet they are both women, both in the same profession, and this weekend they came together to form the menu for a banquet.

Gathered round a wooden table in the Henry Street Settlement House last Saturday afternoon, we were an intimate crew, warm from the sun-reflecting snow that shown through the building’s high windows.  Robert Lavalva, Cerise Mayo, and the two female chefs, were joined by a cook who once worked in Odessa’s kitchen in Madison, the seafood purveyor who will provide the oysters for the banquet, a local neighbor and a gardener who will both be attending the dinner, the gardener’s daughter (an aspiring writer), a journalist who will be planning the place-settings for the banquet, and me, the Forager at The Spotted Pig.  We listened, as Robert introduced us to the space.

The house was built in the 1890’s, he told us, and the original residents undoubtedly sourced their food from the old Essex Street Market on Essex and Grand Streets, and from the Fulton Street Market where we hope the New Amsterdam Market will come to life.  He read a brief passage from The Market Assistant, a book written by the nineteenth century New York butcher Thomas Devoe.  Devoe described in detail the “large and famous Baron of Beef,” a cut “held in the highest estimation as the crowning dish for the Christmas dinner.”  We found ourselves envisioning our version of this crowning dish…. And the meeting was off!  And the menu began to take shape.

We would begin with oysters.  Sara wanted to use the Maine shrimp from Port Clyde.  Could we get fresh horseradish for the oysters?  Of course.  Would the shrimp need to be peeled?  No, you can eat the whole thing!  Isn’t Maine too far away to call local?  Robert explained his understanding that while Maine is by no means in our region, sustainability in fishing is less about the miles than the species of fish and the manner in which the fish are caught.  Maine would be ok for shrimp.  The horseradish would need to be from New York State.

We envisioned the beginning: we will come in and the piano will be playing and there will be oysters and shrimp.  And then Sara imagined we should have a consommé, filled with all variety of vegetables we can provide.  Cerise had given everyone at the table a preliminary list of available ingredients, and their sources.  Parsley root, potatoes, shallots, carrots, onions, and garlic from Muddy River Farm.  Chard, kale, spinach, and sunchokes from The Rogowski Farm.  Grains and beans from Cayuga Organics, meat from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, cheese from Saxelby Cheesemongers, and black walnuts and wild ginger from the Wild Food Foragers in Vermont.  Early Spring has a bounty to celebrate!  Sara and Odessa rallied back and forth about the vegetables in the consommé, deciding on potatoes, swiss chard, and barley.  Odessa debated how the vegetables should be cut.  Would we have vegetables in the salad as well?  No, because lamb testicles were on our list, and Sara was not about to leave them out.  She wanted to fry them tempura style, serve them with a good cutting vinegar and arugula, or watercress, and maybe black radishes.  Parsley would be appreciated.  Why does no one grow parsley in the winter?  Cerise chimed in that the herb is slow growing and not a particularly profitable use of greenhouse space.  We settled for shaved parsley root.

The conversation, the crafting of this menu, mixed together our pools of knowledge with refreshing simplicity.  We all learned and contributed from our individual perspectives on farming and seasonality, professional cooking and plate presentation, urban histories and rural traditions.  Robert humbly asked what, in fact, was a consommé?  Clarified stock, Sara answered simply.  It was originally an Italian food for the sick, she explained.  Adding vegetables is really an American slant.

Everybody knows a ribeye, Sara declared, so she suggested a beef shank for the meat course.  The shin of the animal, less familiar, not very tender, in need of slow cooking.  Sara had tasted a plate in Italy: beef shank with lightly cooked, lightly pickled vegetables, quickly blanched in a hot brine.  This would be her chance to try making it herself.  She could use the oven at Porchetta.  The vegetables would be carrots, onions, celery root, and green garlic.  She could put the bone from the shank to good use, to make the consommé.

The discussion continued with Odessa musing on the rich nuttiness of Jerusalem artichokes and the contrasting sweetness of parsnips, and Sara describing her memories of lamb testicles – she used to eat them with her Mexican kitchen crew, braised with tomatoes and chilis, when they were getting lambs at her restaurant.  The banquet guests would be the perfect audience for this food, otherwise too outlandish for even a New York restaurant menu.  Melissa, who will be helping with the place settings, raised the question of what should be plated, and what would best be served family style.  The soup will be difficult to carry, so Sara suggested that the broth be poured at the table over the vegetables in each guest’s bowl.  The gardener volunteered her homegrown chamomile for tea.  The gardener’s daughter wondered whether we might include Cayuga’s grains.  We defined Freekah, complete with Robert’s explanation of how the early wheat used to be burned in the fields, creating an unintended pleasant, toasted flavor.  We wondered if green garlic would be ready in two weeks, if watercress will yet be growing at the stream heads.

We forged ahead with Cerise explaining Anne Saxelby’s suggestions for the cheese course: either the fresh goat cheeses that will just be coming into season, or a single cheese in it’s seasonal variations, to demonstrate the effect of the seasons on the flavor of the milk.  Odessa piped up in favor of the seasonal demonstration, before realizing that local honey was available, which she immediately wanted to serve with a fresh goat cheese.  Regardless, we knew Anne would present the cheese with her ever-evolving charismatic knowledge of local cheese making.

Odessa already had her dessert imagined.  Heirloom apples halved, deseeded, roasted with maple sugar, wrapped in phyllo dough articulated with hickory nuts.  Could we have local brandy?  Raw cider?  Had we invited any artisan chocolate makers?  In fact, the Mast Brothers will be making a chocolate especially for the meal, with black walnuts from the Vermont foragers.  Odessa expressed her love-hate relationship with black walnuts, but forged on with her chocolate ideas.  Could we get frozen fruit?  We could dip the fruit in chocolate…we could entooomb it in chocolate!  We settled for the apples, and the chocolate already arranged.

And we reviewed the menu from the beginning.

OYSTERS

From Long Island, with fresh horseradish, shucked on ice.

SHRIMP

Whole, from Maine.

SOUP

A consommé made from the beef shank bone, with parsley root, potato, swiss chard, spinach, and barley, the broth poured at the table.

SALAD

Tempura lamb testicles with watercress, black radishes,

A mustard and squash oil dressing.

MEAT

Beef shank braised with lightly pickled carrots, onions, celery root, and green garlic.

NAVY BEANS

From the Finger Lakes.

ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES

All of the wide variety available.

CHEESE

A fresh goat’s milk with honey.

DESSERT

Baked heirloom apples with maple sugar and hickory nuts

CHOCOLATE

Made with black walnuts.

The cheese and bread we’d been eating at the table suddenly left us hungry for this beautiful meal.  And we around the table smiled shyly with the pleasure of early accomplishment, with the excitement of the event just two weeks away, and the many preparations still to be made.  “Well,” Robert concluded simply, “I think we have a banquet!”  And we all couldn’t help but agree.

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This is one in a series of short essays related to Myers’ work as a Forager for a chef in New York City.  Each essay is focused simply on sharing something she has learned through her work, and is followed by photos taken while on the job.

The farmers market at Union Square comes to life four days a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Everyone who knows that and hears about my job wonders within five minutes – Where do you go the other three days of the week?  And while there are more than fifty farmers markets in the five boroughs, I visit only a few others, only on occasion.  My regular market routine revolves around Union Square.  The reasons for this are many, and include habits and logistics on both sides of the equation.  We, at the restaurant, have a relationship with the farmers at Union Square, we are accustomed to the market’s schedule, it’s the most convenient of the greenmarkets, and it has the most products and variety of all the Greenmarkets in Manhattan.  That said, we might meet new farmers, adjust to the scheduling, and broaden our definition of convenience, if the benefits would justify the effort.  For now, they don’t.

For over twenty-five years, Greenmarket has built up a network of retail farmers markets for city consumers.  These markets – with their distinct regulations, cooking demonstrations, and vibrant atmospheres – are by far the primary source for local food for individuals and families in New York City.  As more and more restaurants have begun to focus their menus on local, seasonal products, farmers and chefs alike have come up with new systems and venues for collaboration.  Farmers like Guy Jones at Blooming Hill Farm take orders from and deliver directly to chefs in the city; delivery companies like Upstate Farms and Basis Farm to Chef bring in products from several farms without losing track of each product’s origin; local purveyors, including Saxelby Cheesemongers and Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, offer wholesale quantities of regional meats and cheeses to chefs throughout the city.  But many chefs focused on regional food still go to a Greenmarket and pick out fresh, local products themselves.  This allows them to speak with the farmer, to see what they’re getting before they get it, to learn about the variety each farmer is offering, and to buy products that have truly been harvested, produced, or processed  not more than a day or two in advance.

As a representative of a restaurant, shopping at the Greenmarket in Union Square, it’s important for me to know which farmers will be at the market each morning, what products they’ll have available, what their wholesale price or discount is for restaurants, and what they have coming into season.  Several farmers allow chefs (or foragers) to call in their orders a day or two before, so we exchange phone numbers, discuss what we’ll be looking for, talk about what will be available one week to the next, and coordinate harvesting, packaging, and pick-ups accordingly.  There’s a sort of a system, but one that’s frustratingly inefficient, if endearingly homemade.  The new website What is Fresh is a great (independent) guide to the greenmarkets, and helps me stay informally conscious of who has what where, but otherwise I have very little way of keeping track of the farmers at more than one market.

The improvement I imagine does not cut out personal relationships and conversations, nor the ability to pick out produce as you buy it, nor the education and collaboration that comes of marketplace interactions.  The system I seek requires a bigger regional market – still a public, physical place where buyers and sellers gather and exchange, but one that is established to accommodate wholesale quantities of food and to offer much more information to buyers and sellers alike about what to bring, expect, and request.  It is a market of a different scale, open every day, during the day, in a reasonably central location.  It isn’t the Hunts Point Market.  It isn’t a place where messy commerce is hidden, conducted at night, made ruthlessly efficient and large-scale.  It would be a place where farmers could be in touch with consumers without having to be present at the marketplace all the time; where they could sell a lot more than they would ever bring to a Greenmarket; where they could come if they wanted to meet people with whom to collaborate, as well as compete; a place where they could talk about the things they need, and find some of them.  The labor, schedule, and delivery systems necessary for such a market will require complex, new infrastructure and management, but it is high time we took this step to strengthen our local food system. 

The last New Amsterdam Market of the season is on December 20th.  I will be there.  And if it ever does one day grow into the market I describe, the market I imagine, I will be there every day.

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This is one in a series of short essays related to Myers’ work as a Forager for a chef in New York City.  Each essay is focused simply on sharing something she has learned through her work, and is followed by photos taken while on the job.

When I bike to the restaurant from Brooklyn in the morning, and as I ride the tricycle from the restaurant to the market, distribution trucks are the main traffic on the road.   It ‘s as though I’ve put myself in the running, an incredibly small competitor, rather laughably defiant, beside the titans of a certain race.  I ride beside Dairyland, Baldor, Agri Exotic, Pat La Frieda.  I get stuck behind Dairyland: The Chef’s Warehouse! all the time.  My head is right about at the height of their wheels.

Transportation, as one of many elements in distribution infrastructure, is a more complicated topic than I can tackle in one sitting.  The moving of food requires the coordination of space, labor, transportation, refrigeration, consolidation, packaging, communication, and sanitation.  One has to consider speed, cost, flexibility, scheduling, environmental effects, technical failures, returns, distance, and national, state, and city policies.

The food system has evolved as transportation has allowed, especially as boats gave way to trains, and trains gave way to trucks.  When trucks took over, most urban wholesale marketplaces left the heart of cities, often for peripheral neighborhoods where the 24-hour pollution, noise, and traffic of legions of trucks could be installed on a grand scale without facing any powerful voices of opposition.  Yes, there are now many farmers markets, CSAsurban farms, and community gardens throughout the five boroughs of New York.  Yet nearly all the food in this city, in all the supermarkets, delis, bodegas, gourmet shops, restaurants, fast food chains, and street side trucks, goes through the New York City Terminal Market in Hunts Point in the South Bronx.  That market is set up to be physically and financially efficient, and as the movement for sustainable agriculture begins to grow, we must remember to remember where that market fails.  It fails to respect the neighborhood where it is located, it erases the names of food sources and producers, it shields the public from the gritty reality of how a food system works.   The new Wholesale Greenmarket in the Bronx may only improve upon a few of these faults; the New Amsterdam Market at the Seaport may correct a few more.  The challenge now in New York is to build a system for a growing number of small farmers, and for the entire urban community, that draws what it can from the current system’s infrastructure, but does not mimic it’s faults.

I think of the wholesale markets that work by night, of all the trucks that drive by day, of all the food that fills these trucks, as I fill the cabinet on the back of the tricycle I use for work, in Union Square, in New York City.  I am no remotely significant fraction of New York’s food system.  The food I buy, the wheels I turn, don’t even represent the needs of a whole restaurant.  It is the fact that I am not the only one pushing along with a slow and steady movement…that drives me. 

I write now only because I happen to use this rather unusual vehicle, in the center of Manhattan, which is an interesting place to be.  It is a place where all at the same time, I can ride a heavily loaded tricycle too and from a farmers market, and feel barely noticed, and yet feel that a glimpse of the wheels, the open door, the inside racks…has gotten everyone’s gears turning.  When glimpses become gazes, when the middle school boys snicker, when the farmers laugh at what city people do, when the chefs wonder whether my work is made easier, when the cars honk and the bus drivers wave…it seems a glorious, hilarious part I have to play.  At least, it’s somethin.  I can fit two flats of strawberries, two flats of tomatoes, ten pounds of arugula, six pounds of watercress, a bus tup of summer squash, ten pounds of cipollini onions, and a whole case of eggplant in that cabinet.  So I do it.  And I do get stuck behind Dairyland all the time, but at least I’m in the running.

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Since the end of May this year, I have been working as a Forager for the Executive Chef of two New York City restaurants.  I purchase local food, research food sources, track food prices, and cultivate a relationship between the chef and the producers of the food she cooks.  While recognizing that to have a Forager (or Steward, or Food Procurer, if you will) is a luxury most chefs cannot afford, I know it is also something many of them have never really considered.  And I believe the position could be a core element of a restaurant’s role in the development of a regional food system.  My vision for that role is a work in progress.  For now, I’ll share what I can.

The need for chefs to have individual relationships with the farmers of the food they cook is a need that goes beyond the implication of attention to and respect for how and where food is produced.  Restaurants can be life support for a farm, and can cultivate a farmer’s skills in producing high quality food.  Chefs can develop their recipes and menus, and their skills in the kitchen, knowing the characteristics of the food that a specific farm can provide.  The relationship between farm and restaurant, ideally, is between two independent businesses – one that provides a product and one that pays an adequate sum – both of which feed off of each other’s enthusiasm for what is possible, what is exciting, what strengthens not only the soil, but the palate, as well as the pocketbook.  Someone who works for a chef, but who understands the economics, politics, and physical logistics of farming, is a crucial link.  The employment of a Forager, as a representative of his or her chef, ensures that the relationship between restaurant and farmer will exist and flourish, rather than disintegrate under the pressures of time, money, and physical convenience.

For anyone who has known me, or has read the essays on this site over the last two years, it may seem a stretch of the imagination to relate urban foraging for high-end Manhattan restaurants to my work in food access, human health, sustainable agriculture, and fair trade policy.  If it is in fact a stretch to consider this connection, I think the stretch is healthy exercise for the imagination.  That is, my current work not only draws upon the knowledge I have gained over the years, but is also teaching me quite a lot about things I thought I knew.

For two and a half months, I have considered many ways in which I might write about my work, without revealing any secrets, without finding myself mired in New York City restaurant world gossip.  I know simply that I want to share what I am learning.  I am learning – as a benevolent sort of middlewoman – how to interact with chefs purposefully, how to communicate with farmers with integrity, how whole animals are delivered, butchered, and prepared, how to cost out a recipe, how to consider a taste for another person’s palate, how fish is sourced, judged, cleaned, and cut, how fragile mixed greens are washed and stored with care.  I am being given the chance to develop and strengthen an incredible relationship between two restaurants and their regional producers, and I believe this development is worth documenting.  This is the first go.  My hope is to write weekly, briefly, about a specific thing that I have learned through my work, whether related to the soil, the marketplace, the kitchen, or the plate.  And I will include photos at the end.  I hope what I share is of interest.


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This post is the first in a series of essays written for the New Amsterdam Market.  Each essay stems from a conversation between the author and a vendor who participated in the New Amsterdam Market of June 29th.  The essays seek to address each vendor’s (food-related) enterprise, to highlight the reality behind their commitment to sustainability, and to convey the voice and personality that they bring to their work.

 

A conversation with a working chef is usually a somewhat brief, rapid-fire exchange.  You the non-chef must make your point, and make it quick, preferably to the rhythm and speed of vegetable chopping, egg whisking, or bread slicing.  If the chef likes you, he or she might look up. 

Not so a conversation with Caroline Fidanza, chef of Brooklyn restaurants Diner and Marlow & Sons.  Caroline met me with a confident, modest manner, a warm, thoughtful eloquence.  New Amsterdam Market has had a few years to gain her dedicated support and understanding, and sitting at the white chipped tables in the handsomely dark, dim lighting of Marlow & Sons, I was charmed by her welcoming warmth, her glow of youth and experience.

 

Diner opened in 1998, on Broadway and Berry Street, a sunny Brooklyn corner jutting from the shade of the Williamsburg Bridge.  Caroline has been the executive chef from day one.  “The values of using fresh, local foods had been instilled in me while working at Savoy,” she said, and Diner’s owners Andrew Tarlow and Mark Firth needed no persuasion to prioritize these values in their new restaurant.  Beyond being a result of her own influence, Caroline mentioned, Diner’s farm-to-restaurant sourcing really began when Andrew’s father-in-law started organic farming in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  “He introduced us to the community of Amish farmers there, and suddenly we really had access to better product.”  Ten years ago, Caroline explained, farmers weren’t delivering to the city quite like they are now.  “We went to the Greenmarket and bought what we could,” she said, “but when it came down to it, there just wasn’t enough room in the car!  We really needed the farmers coming to us.” 

Marlow & Sons, Andrew and Mark’s second restaurant, opened next door to Diner in 2004.  Both locations serve lunch and dinner, on tables in and outdoors.  Caroline and I sat inside, where the warm lighting reflects off bottle-lined shelves and mirrors, and chalkboards list the offerings of the day.  The July 11th menu included a soup of Kale-Ricotta Tortellini in a Vegetable Broth with Parm & Basil; a list of sandwiches: French Egg Salad, Italiano, Pressed Fontina, and Pork Tenderloin; and various plates, including toast with house-made nut butter, quiche, charcuterie, chicken liver pate, and a market salad.  There were cheeses available from New York, Virginia, and Oregon.  For desert: house made strawberry ice cream with a brown butter cornmeal cookie.

To reach Marlow & Sons’ back room of tables, one must walk through a shop in the front, where they sell cheeses from upstate New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, local honeys and yogurt, milk, fruit, vegetables, granola, and pastries and sandwiches made in house.  They also carry Fra’Mani sausages from Berkeley, imported mozzarella, various specialty sea salts, Rancho Gordo beans and lentils, pastas, olive oils, grains, coffee, popcorn, canned tomatoes, and olives.  Asked how these products are selected for the shop, Caroline explained that the offerings cater to the needs of a kitchen, but reflect the increasing availability of local products.  “We want to have products that complement our regional food, like olive oil, and sea salts, but we are also switching out everything that’s not local as it becomes available from nearby.”

The shop also sells the Diner Journal, a publication that was, until recently, written and designed entirely by the staff of the two restaurants.  Originally created in lieu of a cookbook, the quarterly magazine contains articles about various food products, recipes, and related artwork.  Writing for the journal “helps all of us think on a much broader level,” Caroline mentioned.  “I learn something every time we put it together.  Like the practice of grafting an apple tree.  I just never thought about it, but you have to graft very tree!  That’s so much work!”  

The crew at Marlow & Sons and Diner has supported New Amsterdam Market since the very first market event in 2005.  “I remember the first time I really understood the New Amsterdam Market vision for the Seaport,” Caroline said.  “I was immediately sold, from that first minute.  It’s ridiculous that New York doesn’t have a permanent market like in San Francisco and London.”  Caroline recognized that she doesn’t normally work at markets, but that she feels “the New Amsterdam Market serves our interest in extending our community.  Ultimately,” she said, “the individuals here at Marlow, and those working to create the Market…we all really believe in each other.”  She remembered the heirloom apples, chocolate producers, and Hamptons honey of the first New Amsterdam Market, at the Municipal Building.  Marlow donated house-made ice cream.  “But that day was more about individual producers promoting their own businesses,” she said.  “This past Sunday [June 29th], it felt more like the vendors came together, to promote the Market itself.”

Caroline emphasized the community element of the “sustainability” she feels will be encouraged by the New Amsterdam Market.  A strong force behind her commitment to regional foods is a feeling of loyalty to New York State.  “I’m looking to New York to rally together,” she said, “to have it’s own economy of food production.  This city forgets it’s connected to the state!  New York State is struggling, and has been for a long time.  I will always choose stuff from New York, even if New Jersey is closer.”  Raised in upstate New York, Caroline admits to thinking her hometown Poughkeepsie “was the worst!” when she was growing up.  Now of course, she wishes New Yorkers would take more pride in the food produced in their State.  She is sure the farmers and producers in the state would rally, if there might be a consortium with a place, a Market of sorts, where the economy could thrive and the community might gain strength.

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The season has changed, and the Seaport story has progressed.  Last December, as the cheese-grilling minion of the Saxelby table, I became one with the New Amsterdam Market.  My unsuspecting frozen fingers flew round the knives and boards and cheese and pickles with a contagious rhythm, a pulse of energy I’d caught from the stands, the purveyors, the foods, and the crowd.  We, together, were a Market, with a life of our own.

 

Yesterday, we the Market, hoping for the embrace of a City, took a leap, within the wonderful, invigorating process of courting New York.  The rhythm pulsed as before, and again, coaxed the City to dance.  The bell rang, and we knew it was time. 

 

We demonstrated our love!

The bakers borrowed knives and cutting boards to fill their baskets of samples in time; the cheesemongers welcomed assistance as gurus and gluttons piled round their tables; the farmers rattled off the retellings of their stories, explaining once again the locations of their farms, by the Finger Lakes, or the Appalachians, or the ocean to the East.  The popsicle makers dished out frozen cups of rhubarb, and strawberries, giggling in their green-striped shirts; and the caterers gracefully demonstrated their enviable experience with crowds.  Your strolling bellies began to bustle and jostle for tastes, and to fill with sliced loaves as they rounded the bakers dozen: a peasant bread of hearty grains and sea salt played neighbor to a soft dough filled with pistachios and rhubarb, offered next over from a country round encased in thick crust, embedded with olives.  Watering mouths quickly emptied little cups and bowls,vessels of frittata slices with greens, mussels and broth, white beans with chunks of chorizo.  The youthful smiles over the Bent Spoon coolers passed down the joys of ice creams, of sweet basil and goat cheese, blueberry maple syrup, strawberry crème fraiche, and sweet, cinnamon-ripe ricotta.  Homemade sodas and strong, iced coffee relieved the humid, sticky limbs that piled into the square, filing past the skyscrapers on foot or wheel, rushing ‘cross the river by boat or bridge.  Hunger surrendered, to Jimmy’s $3 toasts with guinea hen, radishes, and walnuts; to flats of foccaccia from Hot Bread Kitchen; to lavender cookies, and quiches, and honey straight from Queens.  Dry ice melted as St. Brigid’s women sold veal chops, John passed out sausages, and Anita butchered her Bo Bo chickens before the City’s eyes.  Frank served razor clam ceviche, elegantly scooped with a razor clam from a copper bowl larger than my fridge at home, and Tom offered up his Ronnybrook butters and yogurts to the masses of grateful, devoted devourers.  Nova and Les emptied their baskets of gathered, glorious goods, and Darren Pettigrew sold perfect, pearly oysters.  Barbara Mensch signed her books of photographs, her captured moments of the fabled Fish Market before it left our hoped-for buildings vacant.

 

The rhythm of the Market only quickened with the pounding of the rain on the highway ‘bove our heads.  The energy within us, the Market, proved how very much we need, beyond Greenhorns stickers and pretty pamphlets, an authentic, permanent place to share, and nurture, our healthy, pulsing passion.  It is our rhythm – one of health, community, and hard-working pride – that will strengthen the heartbeat of the New York public.  We need the City.  We are devoted to your land, your river, your bridges and highways, and to the jolts of our bicycles in the gaps between your Seaport cobblestones.  We need you more than once a season.  We need a permanent home, where you might learn, and dance to, our evolving, perpetual rhythm.

 

New York, we are yours.  Ask to have the Market back!  And we will come to stay forever.   

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The ongoing effort to establish a public, indoor, year-round market in Manhattan is alive and well, and this Sunday will gather a merry medley of regional food producers, purveyors, distributors, and supporters.  Butchers and cheesemongers, bakers and foragers, chefs and farmers, picklers and ice cream makers will come together to celebrate the abundance of our region, the bounty of early summer.  Arriving from a region extending from Quebec to the Fingerlakes to Southern Virginia, they will offer meats and cheeses, honey and fresh produce, preserves, foraged mushrooms, and their finest attempt at “the perfect loaf.”  Organizations working to support sustainable agriculture will be represented and joined by photographers, filmmakers, and the most eager young advocates of our nation’s rising agricultural movement. 

 

The Market will take place

Sunday, June 29th from 11am to 4pm at the New Market Square.

Everyone: Come!  The more the merrier!

 

Check out some recent press about the Market, and the Seaport:

Slow Food USA: New Amsterdam Market Returns

Daily Candy: What to Do This Weekend

NYTimes: New Look Planned For Pier at South Street Seaport

Letter: The South Street Seaport’s Heritage

Showdown on South Street

Trying to Find the Right Balance for the Seaport

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