Dear Local Gourmands,
Three years ago a quest for heirloom watermelon changed my life. I was doing research as a fact checker at Saveur, and my editor was hot on the trail for heirloom varieties of the seedy fruit she remembered from growing up in the south. She scrawled down Gabrielle Langholtz’s number at Greenmarket (who was then in charge of handling the organization’s press), and the race to meet my deadline was on. Gabrielle rattled off a list of local farmers who I might try, but it was late in the season and no one had the melons I was after. One call lead to another, and pretty soon I was dialing Seed Savers in Iowa, then farmers out in Midwestern fields that I could hardly picture from my desk in New York’s Korea town. Eventually I found a farmer who could ship some moon and stars and jubilee watermelon to our office. Their flesh was sweet, but the stories of the farmers I’d encountered along the way were what really had me hooked. In great part that was due to Gabrielle’s contagious enthusiasm. I met her in person for the first time just a few days after that initial call, and she toured me around Union Square, introducing me to vendors and helping me pick a perfectly ripe pear. Adam Gopnik’s article about locavorism in the city in the Food Issue of the New Yorker had just come out, and it opened with his own introduction to Gabrielle. As I read his story, I knew I’d found a niche in New York’s local food scene. A few months later I started to pen this newsletter, and not long after I began to write articles about local food for various publications.
This Monday I was up early, shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket, pleased as punch to see that Bill Maxwell’s tomatillos had come in. I’ve been a fan of Maxwell’s for years, not to mention the extended Greenmarket crew that I’ve gotten to know thanks to my regular market-going routine and research for writing assignments. Last week I started my new job as Greenmarket’s publicity and special projects coordinator. I couldn’t be more thrilled by the fact that checking in on the tomatillo’s arrival is now part of my job description. Instead of sending this note out on Monday night I was in my kitchen making salsa verde, so I apologize for the delay, but I must say I’m very much enjoying the taste of this new phase.
Wednesday, July 14, 7:30pm
Eat This Film!
200 Hudson St.
The second installment of Eat This Film!, a summer screening and discussion series held at 92Y Tribeca, showcases Slovakian film director Peter Kerekes’ film Cooking History on the silver screen. Army vet and butcher from the Gansevoort Meat Market Ray DeStefano and renowned author and food historian Betty Fussell lead a discussion following the film.
” Who knew that the common thread linking victory over the Nazis in World War II, the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, the French-Algerian conflict and the dissolution of Josep Tito’s regime was nothing more than a pinch of salt? Military cuisine takes an unlikely, central role in a vast spectrum of crucial events in this perceptive, persuasive and hilariously droll documentary, which delves into the regional foods that powered history via the cooks that prepared them. Conflict never looked so appetizing.”
Thursday, July 15, 6pm
Green Screen Film Series: Our Daily Bread
Horticultural Society of New York
148 West 37th Street
Tickets, $5 HSNY members, $10 public
“Welcome to the world of industrial food production and high-tech farming, to the rhythm of conveyor belts and immense machines. Our Daily Breadlooks, without commenting, into the places where food is produced in Europe: monumental spaces, surreal landscapes and bizarre sounds—a cold, industrial environment which leaves little space for individualism. People, animals, crops and machines play a supporting role in the logistics of this system which provides our society’s standard of living.
Our Daily Bread is a wide-screen tableau of a feast which isn’t always easy to digest – and in which we all take part. A pure, meticulous and high-end film experience that enables the audience to form their own ideas.”
Saturday, July 17, 9am-3pm
Crop Mob: Brooklyn Grange
The ever-helpful Crop Mob invites you to join Farmer Flanner in a day’s work out on the city’s largest rooftop farm, Brooklyn Grange. RSVP to sign up and help harvest super spicy arugula and squash blossoms or steak tomatoes all the while catching a killer view of the city from one of its proudest urban ag endeavors.
Sunday, July 18, 2-3pm
Growing in Unusual Places
Eagle St. Rooftop Farm
Bright Farms Systems teaches a workshop on how to make the most of your window boxes by filling them up with mini farm plots. Spend time volunteering on Annie Novak’s rooftop farm, then take pause at 2pm for this workshop on how to bring your ag skills home to even the smallest space.
Sunday, July 18, 5-10pm
Diner Journal: The Summer Party
St. Cecilia’s School Gymnasium
24 North Henry Street
The food-lit journal produced by the good folks at Diner throws a summer party with sounds from their Brooklyn neighborhood like Naked Heroes, Midnight Massive and Night Jazz plus special guests and drinks. If it’s too hot to eat, you might as well dance.
Of note a few weeks down the road…
Wednesday, July 28, 4-8pm
Good Beer at BAM
Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Ave.
In the culmination of Good Beer month, suds supporters of the highest order will flock to BAM where 12-15 New York State and regional breweries will be topping off July with their fine brews. A list of participating breweries and restaurants follows:
Beers by: Brooklyn Brewery, Stella Artois, American Beer Distributors, Southampton Publick House, Fire Island Beer Company, Peak Organic, Kelso of Brooklyn, Palm, Brooklyn Brew Shop, Sixpoint Craft Ales, Sierra Nevada, Flying Dog, Blue Point Brewing Company, Ommegang, Heartland Brewery, Abita, Magic Hat
Food by: Esca, Sammy’s Roumanian Steak House, Sigmund’s Pretzels, Luke’s Lobster, Northern Spy, Jimmy’s 43, Gramercy Tavern, Fette Sau, Cafe Glechik, Lucy’s Whey, Organic Valley, Back Forty, Orwasher’s, Co., The Good Fork, Umi Nom, Brooklyn Greenmarkets, Whole Foods Market.