NEWS & NOTES
The San Francisco Chronicle reports this week on new measures that Whole Foods plans to take to increase its commitment to sustainable agriculture and local produce, including a requirement that all Whole Foods stores buy from at least four individual local farms, a pledge of $10 million a year in loans to small, local farms, and Sunday Farmers Markets in Whole Foods parking lots.
The Agriculture Department is proposing new legislation that would loosen the standards for what is classified as grass-fed, reports The New York Times. Under the proposed rule, it is possible that animals that were not raised on a pasture and were given antibiotics and hormones could still be considered grass-fed.
Gothamist provides tips on how to prepare and store lettuce, which they like to get from Gorzynski Organic Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket.
GET OUT OF TOWN
The New York Times has a series of articles this week on road trips to various farms, purveyors, and eateries in Columbia County, NY, Long Beach Island, NJ, Litchfield County, CT, and North Fork, NY. If you're looking for more ideas, several Greenmarket farms offer "pick-your-own" or "make-your-own" activities:
- You can pick-your-own fruit at Phillips Farms in Milford, NJ every day except for Tuesdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Go now and catch the tail end of the blueberry season. Peaches, raspberries, and blackberries are also ready to be picked (or will be shortly). Call 908.995.0022 for more information.
- Prospect Hill Orchards offers seasonal pick-your-own weekends (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Right now, peaches (donut, yellow, and white) are ripe and ready. Nectarines can be picked starting the second weekend of August. Come mid-September, apples, pears, and pumpkins will be available. Contact Steve, Judy, or Brad Clarke at 845.795.2383 for more information.
- Learn old-fashioned cheesemaking at Valley Shepherd Creamery in Long Valley, NJ. You'll get to make your own cheese wheel, which you leave in the Creamery's hillside aging cave and pick up when it's ready in 60 to 75 days. The next cheesemaking class is September 17th. It costs $129 and includes the cheese class, cheese tasting, a tour, luncheon, and the wheel of cheese. Call 908.876.3200 for more information.
WHAT'S IN, WHAT'S OUT
Baby organic carrots ($1.50/bunch) and hot peppers (6/$1.00) from HydroGarden Farm...hyssop tea ("licorice flavor, heals the lungs") and lemon verbena tea ($1.00) from Berried Treasures...cranberry beans ($3.00/lb.) and yellow plum tomatoes ($2.50/lb) at Migliorelli Farm...blackberries ($4.00/half pint) from Locust Grove and Breezy Hill Orchard...early red free apples ($1.50) from Oak Grove Plantation...more varieties of apples from Caradonna, including red delicious, pristine, golden delicious, empire, mutsu, and cameo ($.75 to $1.25/lb.)...cubanelles ($2.40/lb.) from Keith's.
Due to popular demand, Lynnhaven now has feta in brine (which gives it its characteristic saltiness). Feta crumbles not in brine are still available ($5.00).
Tamarack Hollow Farm is now taking orders for holiday ham, duck, goose, and suckling pig.
Rhubarb and fava beans are essentially gone...cherries are becoming less abundant...only tri-star strawberries are left.
FOCUS ON: Just Rugelach
Although the labels on their goods and the sign on their stand say "Just Rugelach," perhaps the name on their CENY placard - "Not Just Rugelach" - is more apt. In addition to the traditional Jewish treat, they sell a wide array of baked goods: everything from muffins, strudels, bread, and cookies to more uncommon items. Take the roast pork buns: Roselie Halik, who runs the company with her husband Tom, explains that when she was pregnant she was craving them and Tom developed the recipe for her. They liked it so much that they kept it around and sell it at market to this day. Both times I visited them at the Tribeca Greenmarket, numerous patrons came just for these doughy delicacies, which they sell for $1.00 each.
Tom Halik started the company in 1995 after attending culinary school in Paris and working at the 5th Avenue Epicure in New York (where he met Roselie). He has come to be known as "the rugelach man" in Kearny, NJ, where they are based. Everything is made from scratch, every day, and Tom is always working to improve his recipes: "constantly developing," Roselie says. She tries all the recipes as her husband works on them, offering advice how they might be tweaked before they are finalized. "I'm his biggest critic," she says with a laugh.
Despite the array of baked goods they sell, Roselie says that "people always come for the rugelach." Right now they offer four different flavors: walnut raison apricot, walnut raisin raspberry, chocolate hazelnut, and cinnamon raisin. She says they try to make seasonal varieties, but always keep their standbys, like the classic walnut raisin apricot. Their rugelach can be bought wholesale or through mail order and at any of their Greenmarket locations throughout the city (see FARMER INFORMATION). Rugelach is 50 cents a piece or $2.00/quarter pound.
- Berried Treasures, Cooks Falls, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Breezy Hill Orchard, Staatsburg, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays and the Orchard Street Market on Sundays (845.266.3979).
- Caradonna, at the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- Hydro Garden Farm, Yaphank, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (631.286.3423).
- Just Rugelach, Kearny, NJ. At the Tribeca Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays, Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket Tuesdays and Saturdays, UN Plaza Greenmarket on Wednesdays, Bowling Green Greenmarket on Thursdays, and 77th Street Greenmarket and Jackson Heights Greenmarket on Sundays (201.246.9211).
- Keith's Farm, Westtown, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays (845.856.4955).
- Locust Grove, Milton, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays (845.795.5194).
- Lynnhaven, Pine Bush, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesdays (845.744.6089).
- Migliorelli Farm, Tivoli, NY. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
- Oak Grove Plantation, at the Union Square Greenmarket Fridays and Saturdays.
- Phillips Farms, Milford, NJ. At the Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (908.995.0022).
- Prospect Hill Orchards, Milton, NY. At the Tribeca Greenmarket Saturdays (845.795.2383).
- Tamarack Hollow Farm, Corinth, VT. At the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesdays (802.439.5078)
- Valley Shepherd Creamery, Long Valley, NJ. At the Union Square Greenmarket Wednesdays and Saturdays and the Tribeca Greenmarket on Wednesdays (908.876.3200).