New York City Eats

Rooftop Farms: More than a Tree Grows in Brooklyn

kindergarten ’91, my first visit to a farm: Greenmeadow Farm

No need for molecular gastronomy.  The key to good cooking is to have seasonal fresh ingredients and many chefs are serving diners with the farm to table dining experience.  A few are legendary Alice Water Chez Panisse located in Berkeley California, Annemarie Ahearn Salt Water Farm in Lincolnville Maine, close to home is Dan Barber Blue Hill Farm in New York and let’s not forget the White House farm garden. With an endless list of concerns derived from our modern day food consumption, chefs are taking action by bringing healthy, nutritious, and a breath of freshness to the diner’s table and I am a fan of this movement leading me intrigued in agriculture.

Located in an isolated part of Greenpoint, Brooklyn is Rooftop Farms with a picturesque view of Manhattan skyline.  Founded by Annie Novak and Ben Flanner,  this cute little farm has an unexpected abundance of variety of organic produce from kale, radish, mesculan salad greens, to green onions, in addition to a bee farm and a chicken coop.  Who knew there would be so much more than a tree grows in Brooklyn.  For a beginner like myself, Rooftop Farms mission is more than a farm but a place that educate all levels with the interest in agriculture. With the Sundays volunteer and workshop days, these workshops include keeping your own bee farm, to the basic 101 tips to grow your own crops and in today’s workshop raising your own chickens in the city.  It is an oasis from the hustle and bustle metropolis. Rooftop Farms is planting and growing and educating the locals and by inspiring the locals to find the least conventional ways to spread the green thumb from one carbon fingerprint to the next.  (photos on flickr)


XV Slideluck Potshow

Fiddlehead Fern Salad

I encountered the most unusual vegetable over the weekend and coincidentally at it’s seasonal peak, Fiddlehead Ferns. The shape is exotic.  It curls into a coil or what looked like at its first glance a green snail.  I had my first Fiddlehead Fern served with freshly earthy mixed leafy greens salad at this past Saturday 15th Annual Slideluck Potshow, part of the NY Photo Festival in Dumbo, Brooklyn at the Tobacco Warehouse. The idea of having a potluck with complete strangers where everyone brings a dish and sample the dish is a fun communal affair. There were over 350 attendees (unfortunately, it did not make it to World Guinness Book of Record for the largest potluck gathering in which Arizona holds the title for 602) everyone had brought a dish and most had obeyed the rules to cook a dish and equally as many  had brought takeout from Wholefoods salad bar…yes, New Yorkers do not have time to cook and unfortunately I was one of them and opted for a box of almond cookies from the local Chinese bodega store, hey at least I got the “local” part.  There were over 350 various dishes to sample from until my taste palette can no longer differentiate sweet from sour.  It was gluttony and not at it’s best.  A few homemade dishes stood out : lemon bar, mandarin orange cous cous, a bacon wrapped date (well, everything taste better with bacon!).  Other homemade dishes were obviously experimental: ramen noodle salad?   The popular dish however that highlighted the event was from the professionals section, Waterfront Ale House was the beer hot dog.  The bun is made of soft pretzel with sauerkraut marinated in beer with an andouille hot dog and topped off with brown mustard seeds.  It’s an innovative gourmet take on hot dog and shouts German!