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Upstate 'Yiddish Farm' Aims to Sell to Brooklyn's Kosher Restaurants

By Sonja Sharp | January 2, 2014 9:32am
 Language-institute-turned-organic-farm Yiddish Farm hopes to begin selling its produce to local kosher restaurants in Brooklyn. 
Yiddish Farm to Start Selling Produce in Brooklyn
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PROSPECT HEIGHTS — An upstate farm is eyeing a new market — the hipster-inspired kosher restaurants that are popping up in Brooklyn.

Yiddish Farm, a former Chabad bungalow colony in Goshen, N.Y. that became a working farm a year and a half ago, hopes its organic produce will grace the tables of Brooklyn's hottest kosher eateries, including Boerum Hill's Pardes and Mason and Mug in Prospect Heights.

"You’re not just buying garlic — you’re buying the entire experience of young Jewish farmers going to the land and raising this food and trying to make a living doing so. You could say it's romantic," said Yisroel Bass, manager of Yiddish Farm, who recently began approaching local restaurants about the farm's upcoming spring crop, which includes organic garlic and basil among other items. 

"From the food perspective, especially in Brooklyn, there’s a lot more consciousness developing around local sourcing of food and also organic sourcing, and being able to get it from a Jewish farmer is an added bonus," Bass said.

Yiddish Farm sold some of its produce at farmers markets in New York City last summer but is now aiming to sell directly to restaurants, starting with the kosher eateries in Brooklyn that have become increasingly interested in the provenance of their food.

"Our products are going to be on that level — they’re going to be appealing to that crowd," Bass said.

Unlike meat, which must come from a kosher animal that has been slaughtered according to Jewish law to be considered kosher, fruit and vegetables are kosher no matter where or how they're grown.

Though some kosher chefs have shied away from organic produce because it takes more time and care to clean, Bass said the Yiddish Farm team has already had some encouraging early responses. 

"We did correspond about possibly buying some stuff," said chef Itta Werdiger Roth of Prospect Heights' new Mason and Mug, a Washington Avenue beer and wine bar offering kosher small plate dining.

"I would like to sell their handmade matzo here in our retail section before Pesach [Passover] and produce once it hits spring time and they have more stuff."