Greenmarket Brings Farm Fresh Food to Midtown

By Jill Colvin on July 29, 2011 7:37am 

Andrew's Local Honey handed out free samples of their special whipped honey.
Andrew's Local Honey handed out free samples of their special whipped honey.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

MIDTOWN — The popular Rockefeller Center Greenmarket is back, making fresh local peaches, juicy plums, home-baked cookies and honey harvested from hives across Manhattan only a lunch break away.

The market features a rotating group of local farmers who flock from Upstate New York and surrounding states.

“Oh, is that good!” exclaimed Stephanie Scarlata, 45, after tasting a dollop of Andrew’s Local Honey’s unique whipped honey, passed out by producer Andrew Cote on white spoons.

The honey is locally made, with some jars harvested from hives placed on rooftops as close as 14th Street and Second Avenue and the Upper West Side.

“How nice is it that this area’s able to support all of this?” said Scarlata, a local food aficionado who works on Sixth Avenue and said she’s been frequenting the market, which launched in 2002, for years.  

Millport Dairy Farm’s John Smucker, 58, who’s been selling at the market for the past two years, said local office workers stuck inside all day have been thrilled to see the market reappear on their doorstep.

“It’s awesome. It’s a great place," said Smucker, as he cut into a big block of cheddar cheese produced in Lancaster County, Pa., and sliced samples for customers.

“Everyone’s really happy to get fresh, local produce,”  said The Orchards of Concklin’s Marianne Petrino, 28, a long-time participant in the market who traveled from Pomona, N.Y. with a load of heirloom tomatoes, white and yellow peaches, apple cider donuts and fresh-baked peanut butter chocolate-chip cookies.

Upstate New York’s Mark VanGlad, 25, gave shoppers a reason to start their happy-hours early with samples of his “Tundra Brewery” home-brewed beer from Stamford, N.Y., where he also grows his own barley and hops.

Donna Wessel, 22, was selling maple syrup from Wood Homestead farm, which is run by VanGlad's family. As Mark’s girlfriend, Wessel said she was personally sent out into the woods in five-foot-deep snow to collect the sap from trees.

Plums were in season Thursday at the greenmarket.
Plums were in season Thursday at the greenmarket.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

The efforts were appreciated by customers like Long Island's Paul Bua, 69, who works at NBC and said he looks forward to the greenmarket, which is a welcome change for a neighborhood with little fresh, affordable fare.

“[Usually] you have to go downtown or you have to go to the East Side or all the way to the West Side,” he said, touting a bag brimming with fresh corn, broccolini and arugula.

The Rockefeller Center Greenmarket on Rockefeller Place at 50th Street, is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 2. A full schedule of farmers attending is available here.

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