Howto:Find and Shop at your local farmer’s market

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NYC howto: Melting pot or salad bowl, "cook up" your neighborhood with this tasty civic recipe

Courtesy of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket

Greenmarket was founded in 1976 with a two-fold mission: to promote regional agriculture by providing small family farms the opportunity to sell their locally grown, caught, foraged and baked products directly to consumers, and to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, most nutritious locally grown food the region has to offer.

What began over three decades ago with 12 farmers in a parking lot on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan has now grown to become the largest and most diverse outdoor urban farmers market network in the country, nearly doubling in eight years from 28 locations in 2002 to over 50 in 2010, with over 200 family farms and fishermen participating, and over 30,000 acres of farmland protected from development.

This unique relationship between farmers and city residents has not only changed the face of regional agriculture; it has revitalized rural communities and urban spaces, improved consumer health, provided fresh and nutritious food to those most in need, encouraged crop diversity, educated school children and city residents about the importance of regional agriculture, inspired new culinary trends, and influenced chefs and eaters in one of the culinary capitals in the world.

Contents

What you’ll need:

  • Your own reusable canvas or plastic shopping bags
  • A shopping list

Instructions

1. Find a farmer's market near you

There are farmer’s markets in every borough and many are open year round. Please see the list below to find a farmer’s market new you.

Open Year Round in Manhattan:

Open Year Round in Brooklyn:

Open Year Round in Queens:

Open in the Spring through the Fall. Click on the link to get exact dates:

2. Gather your canvas or plastic bag

Though some vendors in the farmer’s market will provide plastic bags, it’s always advisable to bring your own and reuse bags that you’ve accumulated from shopping at other venues.

3. Put together a shopping list

Shopping at the farmer’s market isn’t like going to a grocery store. Vendors will normally only stock what is in season and what can only be grown or raised locally, so don’t expect to find strawberries in November. However the products you find there will always be fresh and locally grown. To find out what is currently in season, visit this site: http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/whatsavailable

4. Allocate extra time for exploring

Attending the farmer’s market isn’t just about the shopping, but an opportunity to taste new foods, speak to purveyors, participate in cooking demonstrations and learn about local agriculture.

5. Now you're ready to shop!

Conclusion

Farmer’s markets are as diverse as the city itself. No matter where you are in NYC, you can find a bustling space filled with neighbors, families, office workers and chefs all shopping side-by-side for the freshest of products. Regardless of their size, each market is an anchor to its community providing not only fresh, locally-grown food, but also a gathering place were neighbors can come together, share recipes and support local farmers and businesses.

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