freshkills_park_logo(Please read if you’re coming with us to Staten Island on April 25th!)

Check out this great blog compiled by members of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation team working to develop FreshKills Park. 

Fresh Kills is an NYC park of the future.  At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park will be almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in over 100 years. The transformation of what was formerly the world’s largest landfill into a productive and beautiful cultural destination will make the park a symbol of renewal and an expression of how our society can restore balance to its landscape. fkp_vision

In addition to providing a wide range of recreational opportunities, including many uncommon in the city, the park’s design, ecological restoration and cultural and educational programming will emphasize environmental sustainability and a renewed public concern for our human impact on the earth.

While the full build–out will continue in phases for the next 30 years, development over the next several years will focus on providing public access to the interior of the site and showcasing its unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty. While nearly 45 percent of the site was once used for landfill operations, the remainder of the site is currently composed of wetlands, open waterways, and unfilled lowland areas. The tops of the landfill mounds themselves offer spectacular vistas of the expansive site, as well as views of downtown Manhattan.




Eli’s Vinegar Factory: Rooftop Greenhouse

(Please read if you’re coming with us on April 24th!)

Atop his Vinegar Factory on the Upper East Side, Eli Zabar maintains half an acre of custom rooftop greenhouse gardens.  The Zabar’s company grows fruits and vegetables in the greenhouses, and then sells the food in the market below.  Food miles = zero.  The structures weren’t cheap, as Zabar’s was forced to build a steel superstructure on top of the Vinegar Factory building to support the greenhouse, but the efficiency of such food production, and the benefits of rooftop growing, are gaining presence in the movement for sustainable agriculture.  Different methods are at work, however.  Eli grows in soil  in raised beds (hence the need for a steel superstructure to support his gardens), while firms like BrightFarm Systems recommend hydroponic rooftop food production, and visionaries like Dickson Despommier imagine vertical farms as the way of the future.  Check out this article to read about a trip to Eli’s just like ours will be!   And know that rooftop growing doesn’t need to be too complicated or expensive – some food may be grown this summer on a rooftop in Brooklyn, under the care of yours truly!



Stony Brook Farm, Wrighteous Organics, and Nichols Meat Processing

(More will be posted after the trip!  We ran out of time to write!  For now, read Bob’s Blog!)  

Stony Brook Farm: A Blog by Farmer Bob Comis.




(Please read if you’re coming with us on April 11th!)

Kathy and Tom Hester built their own Alan Scott masonry wood-fired oven in the basement of their house in Columbia, New Jersey just three years ago.  Having owned and operated a custom catering business for several years, Kathy knew what it meant to be in business for herself, but had only just been introduced to the practice of artisan bread-making.  After several months of education and experimentation and bread-making in clay ovens known as cloches, the oven was complete, and she dubbed the business Bakehouse!

Kathy works with the King Arthur Organic line of flour, and as many organic grains, seeds, herbs and zests as possible.  She uses a sourdough starter that she’s developed (and fed daily) over time.  The starter contains natural yeast strains and good bacteria that ferment together to create the unique flavor of her bread.  From start to finish, it takes between 24 and 30 hours to produce a loaf of bread.  The Bakehouse website includes more information about and many photos of Kathy and Tim, the construction of the oven, the types of breads offered, and the locations where the bread is sold.



New Fulton LogoSeaToTable - Connecting Fishermen with Chefs

The New Fulton Fish Market

(Please read if you’re joining us on April 9th!)

The New Fulton Fish Market is located in Hunts Point, in the Bronx.  It is the second largest wholesale seafood market in the world (second to Tokyo’s Tsukiji).  The New Fulton Fish Market Cooperative, the largest consortium of seafood wholesalers in the country, relocated its operations to the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center (to an indoor fully refrigerated HAACP facility) in 2005, where the new market houses 37 seafood wholesale businesses. These businesses offer a fresh and diverse, competitively priced selection of seafood throughout the year.  The original Fulton Fish Market operated for 180 years at South Street in Downtown Manhattan, making it the America’s oldest fish market.  Their website has more information about the market’s seafood, services, location, and history.

In 1996, Michael Dimin and his family visited the village of Charlotteville on the island of Tobago, where a vibrant fishing community lacked an external market wherein to sell their abundance of fish.  Six years later, Michael and his sons developed the partnerships and friendships that became Sea2Table.  Still owned and operated by the Dimin family, Sea2Table seeks out locally and sustainably managed fisheries needing better access to direct markets, and provides a direct connection between fishermen and chefs.  Their three guiding principles are Wild, Sustainable, & Direct.  The Sea2Table website has more information about the restaurants and retailers they serve,  the fishermen they support, and the fish species they offer.

Esca is a Mario Batali restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen that “does for Southern Italian seafood what Le Bernardin has done for French.”  Dubbed a “fish whisperer” by the New York Times, part-owner and Chef Dave Pasternack knows not just the kitchen but “the waters and weathers in which certain fish prosper; the vendors, large and small, with the quality of fish he demands. He’

s an honest-to-God fisherman, in love with the ocean.”  The restaurant is located at 402 West 43rd Street.  Their website has more information about the owners and the menus.



Gustiamo, Inc.

(Please read if you’re joining us on March 13th!)

Gustiamo is a Bronx-based importer of high quality, gourmet food products from Italy.  The company was founded by native Italians who were “spoiled by the cooking of [their] mothers and grandmothers,” and has recently launched a blog with information about where they buy, what they do NOT like, their recipes, people, friends, and posts about their recent events and excursions.  

In way of explanation for this trip’s departure from our regular (locally-based) sort of destination, I (Annie) met Gustiamo’s co-owner, Martina, at New Amsterdam Market’s recent event Founded on Oyster Shells.  She knows my mother, likes Brooklyn, supports the New Amsterdam Market project, appreciates The City Cook, and is devoted to providing her community with high quality foods.  When it comes down to it, these are all things we have in common.  I think her company is worth checking out!



navigationlogoMadani Halal Slaughterhouse & Dickson’s Farmstand Meats

(Please Read If You’re Joining Us

on November 21st!)

When Riaz Uddin opened Madani Halal in 1996, it was but a small poultry market selling only chicken.  Its product line has since grown to cover a wide range of all natural chickens and birds (such as Broilers, Roasters, Rhode Island Fowl, Red Cockerals, Cornish Hens, Layers, Pheasants, Quail, Squab, Chuckers, Guinea Hens, Black and White Turkeys, Muscovey Ducks, and Water Ducks).  Madani also specializes in top quality Suffolk and Dorset Lamb, Boer Goat, and the fancier “Show Goat”.  For the past 12 years, Madani has continued to cater to the demand for purely Halal goods for muslims in the local area.  In 2003, Riaz’s son, Imran decided to take over and continue his fathers business, providing superior Halal products for Muslims, treated humanely, and slaughtered according to strict Islamic Law. Imran’s experience is documented in the documentary “A Son’s Sacrifice”

, which won best short film at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, and was aired in late 2007 on PBS.  Click here for Madani’s definition of HALAL, as well as a description of the products sold at the slaughterhouse.

Just about a year ago, having absolutely no background in agriculture or the meat industry, and with just a little culinary training under his belt, Jake Dickson set out to learn, hands-on, the best practices in the meat industry from farm to plate. Over the last year, he worked on multiple farms, in a butcher shop and at a small slaughterhouse outside Albany.  This Spring, he officially started his own business, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats.  Jake sources from five small-scale family farms in New York State, uses two meat processors (slaughterhouses) in Altamont, NY and Troy, PA, and sells at two markets in New York City, in Morningside Park on Saturday and Park Slope on Sunday.  Check out his website for more information!  Click here for a profile of Jake’s business written (by yours truly) for the New Amsterdam Market this summer.




Saxelby Cheesemongers, Alleva Dairy, and Murray’s Cheese

(Please Read if You’re Joining Us on November 8th!)

Alleva Dairy is located in Little Italy, on the corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets.  The original store was established in 1892 by Pina Alleva, shortly after she emigrated to New York City from Benevento, Italy.  Saxelby Cheesemongers sells Alleva’s homemade mozzarella.

Saxelby Cheesemongers is located in the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market, on the corner of Essex and Delancey Streets.  Anne Saxelby opened the shop in May 2006, and has focused her mongering on American Farmstead Cheeses, primarily from the Northeast (particularly from small producers in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine).  Check out her website, to see a MAP of their farms, a LIST of the cheeses she sells, and a CALENDAR of tastings and trips!

 Murray’s Cheese is located in the West Village on Bleecker Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  Although the shop has changed locations a few times, and grown exponentially, it has been around in one form or another ever since 1940.  Murray’s is well-known in the city for it’s amazing selection of cheeses!


East New York Farms!

(Please Read If You’re Joining Us on October 4th!)

East New York Farms! is a collaborative project whose mission is to organize youth and adult residents of East New York, Brooklyn to address food issues in their community by promoting local and regional sustainable agriculture and community-based economic development.  Local residents together grow food for the community, engage youth in hands-on agricultural learning and leadership training, develop economic opportunities for regional farmers, local gardeners, and other small entrepreneurs through a neighborhood farmers’ market, preserve community gardens as open space, and educate residents about healthy food and healthy environments.  East New York Farms! organizes a Farmers MarketYouth Internship program, Urban Agriculture and Gardener Organizing, and a Community Supported Agriculture.  

ENY Farms! began in 1995 as a vision of a community-based food production, economic development and greening initiative. Several local and citywide organizations came together to assess the opportunities for community development strategies in East New York, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that is plagued by poor access to fresh produce, employment, open space and meaningful programs for youth.  In 1997, the project partners (including United Community Centers, Genesis Homes/Help USA, the Local Development Corporation of East NY, Cornell Cooperative Extension-NYC and the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development) received funding to build a market gardening program that draws on the extensive system of neighborhood community gardens to grow food for sale to the local population at affordable prices.  The East New York Farmers Market was established in 1998, and recently celebrated it’s 10th anniversary!    

About Sprint (find out more on their website)

 We are one of the largest private paper recycling carters in Manhattan. Sprint is committed to keeping the cost of waste removal to a minimum.

We’ve been servicing the commercial real estate industry for over 30 years and each year we have committed ourselves to making sure that our services are the best they can be. In designing our services, our first consideration is to meet the needs of our customers. We make sure that our recycling programs work for the tenants and cleaning staff. We are committed to finding waste solutions for a better environment!

This year we have focused our energies on the paper recycling program. Maximizing the value of the recyclable waste stream through our recycling program will increase your bottom line and is environmentally sensitive. Sprint knows that recyclables are a commodity and a resource. We know that you can’t keep throwing everything away. Every day we are looking into new ways to make your “throw away materials” into something useful. Sprint strives for that one day that everything we pick up is recyclable!

Sprint is a member of NYSAR3 (New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling,) ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Association,) BRANY (Buy Recycled Alliance of New York) and BOMA (Building Owner and Managers Association of Greater New York.) We also participate in CRAB (Citywide Recycling Association Board) meetings on a regular basis. Each of these organizations keeps us current and involved in our industry, to help us serve you, our customers, to the best of our ability. 

Added Value

Added Value’s Red Hook Community Farm

(Please Read If You’re Joining Us on September 20th!)

Added Value is a non-profit organization promoting the sustainable development of Red Hook by nurturing a new generation of young leaders.  They work towards this goal by creating opportunities for the youth of South Brooklyn to expand their knowledge base, develop new skills and positively engage with their community through the operation of a socially responsible urban farming enterprise. Added Value was founded in 2000 by it’s current director, Ian Marvy, and Michael Hurwitz, who is now the Director of NYC’s Greenmarket Program.  The Red Hook Community Farm was established in 2003.  Added Value runs several education programs and employs youth from the neighborhood on the farm.  The farm’s produce serves two farmers markets (run by Added Value) as well as two restaurants, and the farmers run an on-site Community Supported Agriculture of about 75 members. In 2005, Jill Slater wrote an article about the farm, A Farm in the Asphalt Heart of Brooklyn, for the Seasonal Chef website.  The same site also has a profile of Added Value co-founder Ian Marvy. Please check out the linked websites for more detailed information! In addition, I (Annie) completed a research project on Urban Agriculture and City Planning this Spring.  The resulting final report, Vitalizing the Vacant, addresses Red Hook Community Farm specifically, on pages 24-27, as well as in the conclusion.  You might also read the introduction of the report, to get a (rather understated) idea of why I and others consider urban farming something we very much want to support in our cities!  The report can be downloaded here: Vitalizing the Vacant.


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