Bohemia Blog by Agent Michael Bakkensen
By: Michael Bakkensen
You can find The Inwood Farmers Market nestled into a quiet corner of Manhattan where Isham street crests and dead-ends against the green expanse of Inwood Hill Park, with its baseball diamonds, salt marshes and swelling old growth forest.
Every Saturday of the year come rain, shine, sleet or snow, you will find stands brimming with locally harvested vegetables, fish freshly plucked from the Atlantic and Long Island Sound and cool, refreshing cider, local wines, milk and yes, honey.
Coming from the A or the 1 train at 207th street, you turn off of Broadway at Isham and walk past the Church of the Good Shepherd, with its gorgeous stone facade and 9/11 Memorial of twisted WTC steel. At the top of Isham, just down the hill from Isham park you'll find the urban oasis, where bio-dynamic farmers and artisan mingle with social and environmentally conscious local buyers.
First booth on your right will be John D Madura farms, selling root vegetables (garlic, onions, carrots) throughout the year and massive heads of lettuce, kale, and other greens in the summer. They also have a wonderful selection of mushrooms and multi-colored corn for popping. If you want an opinion on the Mets, the Jets or the state of the world say hello to Joseph who trucks the food in from the black dirt country of Pine Island, NY.
Dare to avoid the delicious aromas of cookies, scones rolls and loaves at Bread Alone, a world class organic bakery (whose wares you may see in more traditional supermarkets). I'm partial to the whole wheat sourdough miche.
Across from this bakery are table after table of delicious apples from Breezy Hill Orchard. Refreshing ciders, irresistible cookies, and fresh pastas round out the offerings.
Grab delightfully fresh eggs from Knoll Krest Farms.
And don't miss the bounty of the sea at the Seatuck Fish Company, based for 26 year out of Suffolk County, Long Island. For a real treat grab a few pounds of shiners when they're running in the fall and fry them up with batter in the fall. A splat bag of mussels and clams will do you well most times as well. Look for fresh striped bass in the spring.
The incredible Ronnybrook Dairy has such great milk, yogurt and cream that you've got to get there early or the most popular items are gone-- especially in the summer. Try their drinkable strawberry and blackberry yogurts or chocolate milk for a yummy treat.
And yes, where there's milk there's got to be honey as well. Find candles, beeswax and wonderful jars of honey at Nature's Way Apiary from Chemung County, NY.
Nearby you can add some sour to your sweets at the Devine Brine Pickles. You'll want to drink the brine right out of the jar.
In the growing season you'll be blown away by the bounty of Nolasco's Farms-- when tables are brimming with a variety of peppers, tomatoes and leafy greens.
If socially and environmentally sustainable practices appeal to you then support the farmer/revolutionaries of Hawthorne Valley Farms, a biodynamic cornucopia in Ghent, New York. These folks take sustainability seriously and every aspect of their operation complements the other. The result is exceptional produce, one of a kind cheeses, scrumptious granola and exciting jars full of sour kraut and kimchi as well as baked goods. They also have apprenticeships and sleepover opportunities if you ever wanted to return to the land and learn how to build a sustainable future.
Right in the heart of the Green Market is an information booth, where most Saturdays you can grab recipes crafted from the many products available that very day. Often a pan of food, flavorful and original, has been cobbled together and is on offer to passersby. WIC or foodstamps can be exchanged here for tokens redeemable at the booths.
And before you leave to enjoy a sunny afternoon in Inwood Hill Park (maybe even lounging beneath the same green canopy where Peter Minuit bought the island of Manhattan for 60 guilder as legend has it) you will invariably be drawn to the free grilled turkey sausage always on offer from DiPaolo Turkey Farms.
There may be wild turkeys roosting in the trees nearby at certain times of year, but these scrumptious sausages-- their savory scent lingering long in late winter mornings, will invite you back every week. Kind of like the Inwood Green Market itself: a hearty reminder that New York City is surrounded by nature, water, and wildlife and we depend on it for our survival. Check it out!