Much has changed in the food world since the city's first greenmarket was established, in 1976, in a parking lot on 59th Street. Today, the five boroughs boast 50+ greenmarkets under the GrowNYC program, with others operating independently and more opening seemingly every season. The goal of every greenmarket remains the same: to allow farmers to sell their flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other products directly to consumers. Below are our favorites in each borough. By Jessica Allen.
Spanning two rooftops in Brooklyn and Queens, Brooklyn Grange produces more than 50,000 pounds of vegetables every year and maintains more than 30 bee hives. The flagship farm, in Long Island City, rests atop a building that was once home to a car parts manufacturer. On Saturdays from May through October, you can visit the farm, meet the chickens and staff, and buy tons of fresh produce and other good stuff at the market. Ticketed tours are also available on select Thursdays ($10 per person).
In 1985, Enzo Gerardi began selling fresh produce from a folding table on Richmond Terrace, in Staten Island. Today, the market that bears his name runs seven days a week, selling a variety of fruits, vegetables, honey and plants -- many of which are grown on his family's two farms in nearby New Jersey. Indeed, Enzo still roams around the place, encouraging folks to taste and try new things. The staff at the garden center will help you pick out the ideal shrub, fruit tree, or some other type of flora for your house or apartment, and even offers landscaping services.
A great market in a great location, the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket sits in the shadow of Grand Army Plaza, steps away from Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library. It takes place year-round, rain or shine, on Saturdays, from 8 am to 4 pm. In addition to such vendors as Bad Seed Cider, Ronnybrook Farm (the best milk we've ever had!), DiPaola Turkeys, Blue Moon Fish, and Tree-Licious Orchard & Bakery, the market offers a slew of fun events, including cooking demos, story time for the kids, book signings and pooch portrait days.
If you can name it, and you can likely find it at Union Square Greenmarket Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Seriously. Lobster, candles, honey from bees in the Bronx, flowers, scallops, duck eggs, pretzels, sheep's wool, cotton candy made with maple syrup, cheese, jellies and jams, cinnamon rolls, cider donuts, pickles, apple lemonade, and so very much more. During peak season, more than 140 bakers, farmers, florists and fisheries sell here. Overwhelmed by the options? Download the free Union Square Greenmarket App.
The city's only open-air wholesale greenmarket takes place Tuesdays through Saturdays from April through December in Hunts Point. Much of what you can buy—including herbs, plants, veggies, fruits, and flowers—has been harvested less than 24 hours before being trucked into the city from farms upstate and elsewhere in the Tri-state area. Here's where to go if you need pounds of items, rather than ounces. You can chat with the farmers and growers themselves, making meaningful friendships in the process of supporting the local economy. Win-win!
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