HP in NYC: New Amsterdam Market

What better to do on a Sunday morning than go to a local artisan market? We visited the New Amsterdam Market at South Street Seaport to sample local foods and buy a variety of treats for lunch: gourmet grilled cheeses, a lobster roll, and an Indian combo platter.

Each vendor’s sign listed their home location, and while some where coming from a few hours away (I think Pittsfield, MA was the farthest I saw), most were from close by, or within the city.

The food was excellent, and we had a pretty nice view to lunch by:

The New Amsterdam Market is open from 11am-4pm Sundays. Vendor information can be found on their website.

HP in NYC: Notable Food Experience #1

Hello from New York! I am here for a weekend of eating and drinking, with big plans for deliciousness; but today’s a regular work day, so I needed to grab a quick lunch to bring back to my desk.

I’m staying waaay downtown, between the Financial District and Battery Park, so there are lots of quickie lunch options catering to the buzzy workers and the bumbling tourists. A popular restaurant trend here (everywhere? big cities? for some reason, not C’ville) is the build-a-salad joint. I’ve eaten at a bunch here and in other cities, but I don’t recall ever seeing the word “local” used in signage, until today. That’s what drew me into Flavors.

Here are some descriptions from their website:

Healthy, fresh, natural

Organic where we can. Fresh & natural all the time.

Nothing about local. Googling doesn’t tell me anything about their local claim. Hmm.

It was a good salad, though.


Random happy-farming news

I have a zillion articles waiting to be read! Here are a few blurbs I’ve enjoyed as I work through my pile of mail:

urban farming trend

From Heifer International‘s WorldArk magazine: Urban farming, in the form of windowbox gardens and backyard chickens, is on the rise in the US.

Also in WorldArk, scientists are experimenting with growing meat from stem cells, hoping for a cleaner process for mass-producing meat.

Gotham Greens

From the JW Townsend, a landscape contractor in Charlottesville, VA, newsletter, a blurb about Gotham Greens. Gotham Greens grows produce in rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn, and supplies NYC markets and restaurants with local, sustainable food.

Switch to grass-fed beef

From Reader’s Digest, Feb 2012: an article called “The 20 Tips Health Pros Beg You Not to Skip.” Number 19, from a psychiatrist, is “switch to grass-fed beef,” for the health benefits.

Hyatt commits to cage-free eggs

From Mary Jane’s Farm, Aug-Sept 2011 issue, good news that Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is switching to cage-free eggs. That’s 2.4 million eggs fewer per year coming from battery cages.

Facebook CEO's Food Challenge

And finally, from the same Mary Janes Farm issue (yes, a bit outdated, but still an interesting read), a paragraph about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s personal mission to learn more about sustainable farming and meat animals. The only meat he ate last year was from animals he killed himself.

That was the easy stuff. I have a stack of Foreign Affairs magazines staring me down. I’m halfway through The Globalization of Animal Welfare; comments to come soon!

NYC Coffee Break

Our friends took us to Jack’s Coffee near their apartment to get fueled up for a day of exploring. What a lovely surprise to be greeted by this sign!

Jack's Stir Brewed Coffee local milk

My delicious latte was made with milk from family farms in the Hudson Valley. Love this quote from the site:

Hudson Valley Fresh is indebted to Jack’s Coffee. Jack’s was the first coffee shop in New York City to serve our milk and promote our mission of high quality and sustainable dairy farming. Jack has shown his conviction by bringing his baristas to the farm and educating his customers. He is passionate about sustainability and continues to be our best advocate by encouraging customers and competitors to use our milk.
– Dr. Sam Simon, President of Hudson Valley Fresh

Jack's Stir Brew Coffee

Kudos to Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee! It really was a delightful latte. Must have been the fresh, local milk. If you’re in NYC and see a Jack’s, go there!


Spotted a couple interesting things today while on a run downtown (not counting the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge).

Thing 1:

An urban farm in Battery Park! The goals of the Battery Conservancy include education, providing local, organic food, and bringing the community together. The farm seems like an active place during the warmer months, but alas, it was empty and quiet today.

Thing b:

I passed a shoe store window, and a sign for Alden shoes caught my attention. Can you guess why?

The Alden web site describes the superior Shell Cordovan leather of which their shoes are made, with no mention of horses. Hmm. Here‘s some interesting info on the use of horse leather in the US: the leather must come from horses that died from natural causes; horse hide makes strong, durable, waterproof leather; all horse leather produced in the US comes from a single company, Horween.

On a non-HP-related note, the memorial at the World Trade Center site looks like it’ll be amazing, whenever it’s finally finished. I hadn’t really followed the plan, but two giant reflecting pools with waterfalls will sit in the original footprints of the two towers. See details here.

Brooklyn Commune

Tired of dealing with Christmas lists and wrappings (bah humbug), I took a lunch break and turned on Chopped. One of the contestants on this episode is the co-owner and executive chef of Brooklyn Commune, Chris Scott. My ears perked up as Chef Chris described what his restaurant/market/catering operation is all about: connecting people with local, sustainable food. Clips of the chef working in an urban garden were shown while he talked about how he’d put the $10,000 prize money back into the local food scene. How could I not root for Chef Chris?

Spoiler alert: he didn’t win. But I googled around to learn more about his enterprise, and found some impressive stuff about Brooklyn Commune and about local produce in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Commune’s mission is “to help develop a personal connection between people and the food they eat.” They support local farms, CSAs, bakers, cheesemakers, and other local businesses in their quest to spread the gospel of sustainability, teach classes, and they even have plans to host field trips. (Maybe they already do, it’s an old article!) They serve as a pickup point for a couple CSAs, and right now they’re hosting a Charlie Brown Christmas tree sale. Love it! The activity on their Facebook page is a good illustration of their interest in their local community, and their importance to their neighborhood.

I was also interested to read about Prospect Farm in Brooklyn, an urban farm on a formerly vacant lot.¬† Their objectives are “diversity in food production and membership… [and] creating healthy¬†soil through our community composting project and farm without chemical¬†fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.” Members and Friends can purchase food from the farm: members commit 52 hours of work and $25 per year, and get a 50% discount on farm food; Friends donate $100 a year for the ability to purchase farm food at regular prices.

Brooklynites are lucky to have resources like Brooklyn Commune and Prospect Farm providing local products. Please try to do business with local food sources like these! We’re lucky to have citizens among us who care enough to make livelihoods out of producing local foods, and the best way to pay them back is to patronize the establishments they support.