Farm Table Opens amid Urban Farm Fields
Riverpark Restaurant, a tony new restaurant off the FDR Drive in Midtown Manhattan, added a new twist to urban farming when it unveiled a novel outdoor growing operation that surprised even the most jaded New Yorkers. Peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and a multitude of other crops grew in thousands of double-stacked milk crates, the urban equivalent of farm fields.
Now diners can enjoy those fields close up. Riverpark Restaurant set up an outdoor “Farm Table,” which customers can reserve for family-style lunch and dinner celebrations. The restaurant can host up to 12 people at the outdoor table. There’s a minimum charge of $1,800 for dinner events. For lunch, it’s $1,400. (more…)
Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Heritage Farm had planned it for years. Last month, it finally happened. A one-acre field was tilled and covered with winter rye, hairy vetch and field peas and oats, marking the farm’s first official planting.
It was probably the longest-planned — or rather longest-delayed — planting ever, but Gus Jones, the farm’s newly hired full-time farm manager, wasn’t at all surprised.
The land was last used for agriculture 50 years ago, when cows grazed there, Jones explained. The forest had to be cleared, trees chopped and tree stumps removed. And compost — 1,000 cubic yards of it — had to be brought in. (more…)
The urban agriculture movement in New York City has made enormous progress this year. New legislation favoring urban farming was introduced. New farms opened. There’s even a new farm school. It all happened within the last nine months, all of it summarized here. (more…)
CSA Stands Strong Post-Irene
Tropical Storm Irene has tested the will of even the sturdiest farmers. In an interview with NPR, Cheryl Rogowski, owner of W. Rogowski Farm in Orange County, N.Y., talks about the considerable storm damage to her 150-acre farm. She lost 80 to 90% of her crops with most of the farm underwater at the time of the interview.
Rogowski’s farm is one of 15 CSA farms supplying New York City that suffered severe damage, said Jacquie Berger, executive director of the advocacy nonprofit Just Food, in the interview.
Irene may have knocked out half the city’s CSA farms (31 farms run CSA programs in the city) for the season, but it did little to diminish support for the concept of CSA (community supported agriculture). The tropical storm put CSA to the ultimate test, as CSA customers — shareholders in farm harvests — bore crop losses along with their farmers. (more…)
The temporary one-acre urban farm that opened in April at the Battery is not so temporary anymore. It will shift to a new location in the park when a planned bike path comes through in 2012, said Warrie Price, founder of the Battery Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing the Battery at the tip of Manhattan.
“It’s been too much of a great positive thing for the neighborhood and for us as an organization,” she said as she made her rounds amid rows of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans and a riot of other crops on Saturday.
Since it opened, the farm has received a great deal of media attention with Inhabitat New York City naming it one of the city’s top five urban farms. It’s been a hit with neighborhood school children, Lower Manhattan residents and local community groups who “adopted” or planted half of the 100-plus vegetable beds. It also drew hundreds of volunteers eager to help the Battery run the operation.
“This is a dream come true,” said the farm’s manager Camilla Hammer, as a bevy of volunteers swirled around her with shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows. (more…)
© Photos by Margarida Correia. See captions at bottom of post.
Though bad weather destroyed most of their heirloom tomatoes, Eckerton Hill Farm still drew significant crowds to its stand at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday. The Pennsylvania-based farm had plenty of hot peppers — its second most popular crop — to compensate for the missing tomatoes, and an unusual seasonal show stopper: the jelly melon cucumber.
The oval-shaped cucumbers with protruding horn-like spines caught everyone’s attention.
“What,” most people asked, “IS that?” (more…)
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine yesterday released the first installment in state funding for farms damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. The initial allocation of $5 million will provide funding for farmers to restore damaged farmland and prevent further damage in the future. It is part of the conservation component of the $15 million Agricultural and Community Recovery Fund. (more…)