Sustainable NYC Living: Organic Farmers at NYC Farmers Markets

There’s something very relaxing about strolling through an outdoor farmers market, and NYC is home to many of these arrays of colorful produce and delicious aromas. On weekends and some weekdays, various corners of the city are filled with everything from vegetables, microgreens, and orchard fruits to grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and exotic cheeses from northern New York, western Pennsylvania, and as far south as Cumberland County, NJ. Activities such as recipe and book exchanges, cooking demonstrations, and live music all add to the magical feel of these displays.

While I’ve rounded up the markets around the city via Grow NYC that offer certified organic items, it’s worth noting that there are some farmers who are small enough to be exempt from certification and others who forgo the certification process even though they actually follow legitimate organic growing practices. With a good eye and a handful of questions, you can sort through farmers’ stands to get what you want. It’s also good to know that you can recycle food scraps and old clothes at many of these markets, too. Visit GrowNYC’s Compost Collection and GrowNYC’s Textile Recycling to double check the hours for your local farm market of choice.

Manhattan
Abingdon Square Greenmarket
Hudson and West 12th Streets [map]
Open Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–2 pm
This market has brought local farmers, with whom neighbors are on a first-name basis, to Greenwich Village since 1994. Early birds snap up classic and heirloom vegetables, fruit, fresh-caught fish, and farmstead goat and cow’s milk cheeses. Fresh cider and microbatch juices, organic baked goods, flowers, turkey, and pasture-raised eggs round out the offerings at this neighborhood institution. Be sure to visit the Bread Alone stand for artisan breads, mostly certified organic, and pastries from Ulster County, NY, as well as the Muddy River Farm stand which offers certified organic vegetables from Orange County, NY.

Columbia Greenmarket
Broadway between 114th & 116th Streets [map]
Open Thursdays, Sundays, year-round, 8 am–5 pm
Located along the west side of the Columbia campus and a block from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, this market serves a diverse population. While several of the farmers attend on both Thursday and Sunday, each day has its own distinct character. Thursday’’s market thrives on the bustle of the work and school-day schedule, while Sundays are more laid back, and neighbors come out to do serious shopping. Shoppers will find milk and yogurt, fruit, cider, baked goods, preserved fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, smoked meats, pickled vegetables, maple syrup, honey, fish, and focaccia topped with locally sourced fruit, vegetables, herbs and cheeses, a lunch-time favorite. Check out the Hawthorne Valley Farm stand with certified organic and biodynamic produce, meat, dairy, baked goods, and lacto-fermented vegetables from Columbia County, NY.

Stuyvesant Town Greenmarket
South end of Stuyvesant Town Oval, Manhattan [map]
near 14th Street Loop between 1st Avenue & Avenue A
Open Sundays, 5/17 to 11/22, 9:30 am–4 pm
This market brings fresh food from local farms straight to the doorsteps of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Choose from certified organic and specialty vegetables, orchard fruit and berries, farmstead European-style sheep and cows milk cheeses and yogurt, fresh-caught fish, pickles, preserves, chutneys, and organic artisanal baked goods. Regular cooking demonstrations and family friendly events make the Stuyvesant Town Greenmarket the place to be. Visit the St. Petersburg’s Family Farm stand which offers certified organic vegetables from Monmouth County, NJ.

Tompkins Square Greenmarket
Ave A and East 7th St, Manhattan [map]
Open Sundays, year-round, 9 am–6 pm
Located along the southwest corner of the East Village’s gathering ground, Tompkins Square Park, this year-round greenmarket brings local food to the neighborhood every Sunday. Specialty produce, orchard fruit and berries, live plants and flowers, eggs, glass bottled milk, farmstead cheese, meat, baked goods, honey, and maple syrup are all on offer.  Catch up with your neighbors, meet the folks who grow and raise your food, and enjoy free seasonal cooking demonstrations and events. You can find Norwich Meadows Farm’s certified organic vegetables from Chenango County, NY during the growing season.

Tribeca Greenmarket
Greenwich St between Chambers and Duane, Manhattan [map]
Open Wednesdays, Saturdays, year round, 8 am–3 pm
The loyal community of neighborhood residents who shop at the Tribeca Greenmarket show up each Wednesday and Saturday year-round to get their fix of locally grown produce, sustainably raised meat, seafood, sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt, orchard fruit and berries, herbs, live plants and cut flowers. Cooking demonstrations, raffles, and educational activities make the market a hands-on experience for shoppers of all ages.

Tucker Square Greenmarket
W 66th Street & Columbus Avenue, Manhattan [map]
Open Thursdays, Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–5 pm
Greenmarket’s gateway to the Upper West Side, the Tucker Square Greenmarket, offers locally grown produce just across the street from Lincoln Center. Seasonal vegetables range from fresh staples like corn and greens to delicacies like squash blossoms and fairtytale eggplant. Orchards boast sweet berries, stone fruit, and over 80 varieties of apples. Knowledgeable growers are at market to explain just how to care for their plants, flowers, and herb pots indoors and out. Impeccable farmstead cheeses, fresh seafood, grass-fed beef, duck and duck charcuterie, eggs, artisanal baked goods, and New York’’s only producer of both sorghum and maple syrup round out the offerings. During the growing season, stop by the Norwich Meadows Farm’s stand of certified organic vegetables from Chenango County, NY (Growing season only).  On Saturday, Oct. 31, from 12–2 pm, purchase a pumpkin from the market and decorate it for free at the information stand.

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Union Square Greenmarket
North and West sides of Union Square Park  [map]
Open Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday, and Saturday year-round, 8 am–6 pm
The world-famous Union Square Greenmarket has grown exponentially from just a few farmers in 1976; in peak season 140 regional farmers, fishers, and bakers sell their products to a dedicated legion of city dwellers. As Greenmarket’s flagship market, the seasonal bounty is unparalleled, with hundreds of varieties to choose from during any given season. From just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables, to heritage meats and award-winning farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, a profusion of cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup and much more. The atmosphere at Union Square on a market day is buzzing electric: 60,000 market shoppers shop and chat with farmers and watch cooking demonstrations by some of New York’s hottest local chefs. Download the free Union Square Greenmarket App to see a daily listing of which farmers are there.

Water Street Greenmarket at Coenties Slip
Water Street at Coenties Slip, Manhattan [map]
Open Thursdays, 7/2 to 11/19, 8 am–6 pm
After an overwhelmingly successful pop-up market in June and July 2014, GrowNYC and the Downtown Alliance brought a weekly farmers market to Coenties Slip. Just steps from the East River and around the corner from Whitehall Ferry Terminal, this seasonal market offers the residents and workers of lower Manhattan a wide selection of fresh, local vegetables, orchard fruit, breads and pastries, honey, hard cider, and wine. Stop by the manager’s tent for free recipes and taste samples of the weekly cooking demos.

57th Street Greenmarket
Ninth Ave between 57 & 56 Sts, Manhattan [map]
Wednesdays, Saturdays, 5/6 to 12/23, 8 am–5 pm
A long-time fixture of Balsley Park, the 57th Street Greenmarket serves Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown West the freshest seasonal food from local farms. Look for high quality and affordably priced vegetables, juicy seasonal fruit, and a rainbow of plants, flowers, and herbs for your windowsill or backyard garden. Farmstead cheese, fresh eggs, and plump baked goods round out the offerings.

79th Street Greenmarket
Columbus Avenue btwn 78th & 81st Streets, Manhattan [map]
Open Sundays, year-round, 9 am–5 pm
Just behind the American Museum of Natural History, on beautiful, tree-lined Columbus Avenue, shoppers will find grass-fed beef, New York’s freshest fish, duck, chicken, ostrich, goat cheese, fresh flowers, eggs, honey, baked goods, apple cider, and a large variety of fruit and vegetables.  Look for foraged greens like ramps in the spring, and an abundance of corn and berries come summer. In the winter a great selection of proteins, preserves, and storage crops keep the market and the neighborhood supplied until the summer’s bounty returns. Be sure to visit Monkshood Nursery’s stand for certified organic vegetables and plants from Columbia County, NY.

94th Street Greenmarket
1st Avenue btwn 94th and 96th Streets, Manhattan [map]
Open Sundays, 6/28 to 11/22, 9 am–5 pm
This seasonal Sunday market on the Upper East Side offers neighborhood residents a convenient location to shop for a selection of vegetables, fruits, baked goods, eggs, and locally-caught seafood. Community partners The Upper Green Side and Stanley Isaacs Houses help promote the benefits of eating fresh, locally grown food, and provide additional environmental information and activities at the market. Norwich Meadows Farm’s certified Organic vegetables can be found at this location, too.

175th Street Greenmarket
175th Street between Wadsworth & St Nicholas, Manhattan [map]
Open Thursdays, 6/25 to 11/19, 8 am to 5 pm
On Thursdays, the stretch of 175th Street between Wadsworth and Broadway is transformed into a bustling marketplace overflowing with fresh local fruits and vegetables. Neighbors show up in droves to mix and mingle with one another while purchasing produce, Mexican specialty products and bread, pies and scones made with local flour; school groups and other community organizations frequently visit the market which doubles as a classroom and social center.

Brooklyn
Bartel-Pritchard Square Greenmarket
Prospect Park West at 15th Street, Brooklyn [map]
Open Wednesdays, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
Nestled inside Prospect Park’s tree-shaded southwest corner, this much-loved weekday market is where South Slope and Windsor Terrace residents stock up on locally-grown staples. The offerings range from a selection of vegetables, fruits, baked goods, plants, and flowers, to fresh-caught fish and organic baked goods. Visit the market to take part in free cooking demonstrations, raffles, school tours, and family-friendly activities.

Brooklyn Borough Hall Saturday Greenmarket
On plaza at Court St and Montague St, Brooklyn [map]
Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–6 pm
The Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket has brought fresh, local produce to this thriving downtown location for over 25 years. Three days a week the market serves the diverse communities of Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, and Downtown Brooklyn by providing a bounty of fresh-picked fruits and vegetables, beautiful plants and flowers, grass-fed meat, just-caught Long Island fish, free-range eggs, and grass-fed dairy products.

Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
Carroll St, between Smith and Court Sts, Brooklyn [map]
Open Sundays, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
Located across the street from Carroll Park, this much-loved Brooklyn market is a destination for neighbors, families, and Sunday brunch-goers alike. During the spring and summer, fresh cut flowers and live plants lure passersby to the market that stretches along the sidewalk in front of PS58. Stock your larder with the incredible array of regionally grown produce, award-winning goat cheese, and grass-fed beef that are on offer each week. The W. Rogowski Farm offers certified naturally grown vegetables from Orange County, NY.

Cortelyou Greenmarket
Cortelyou Road btwn Argyle & Rugby, Brooklyn [map]
Open Sundays, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
In the heart of a thriving strip of restaurants and local establishments on lively Cortelyou Road, this south Brooklyn Greenmarket has been a Sunday morning community destination since 2003. Shoppers routinely fill their market bags and baskets with specialty Mexican produce and herbs, eggs, chicken, fresh pasta, orchard fruit and juice, seafood, mushrooms, grass-fed beef, goat cheese, and vegetables grown in the Black Dirt region of Orange County, NY.

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Fort Greene Park Greenmarket
Washington Park btwn DeKalb & Willoughby, Brooklyn [map]
Open Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–4 pm
Located outside the entrance of historic Fort Greene Park and surrounded by chestnut trees and centuries-old brownstones, this bustling market serves a diverse community of young, urban professionals and multi-generational Fort Greene families who gather every Saturday to mingle and shop for everything from microgreens to affordable staples like potatoes, onions, and vegetables grown in Orange County’’s famous black-dirt region. Fresh seafood, cheese, orchard fruit, baked goods, a variety of sustainably raised meat, and dairy products are available, as well as wine pressed from Long Island grapes. You can also find Lucky Dog Farm’s organic vegetables and small berries from Delaware County, NY, here. There’s live music by local artists every weekend, as well as family-friendly activities. Upcoming events include cooking demonstrations and recipe sampling by Stonefruit Espresso and Kitchen on September 26th, 10 am–12 pm; by Chef Bryan Lindsay on October 3rd, 10 am–12 pm; and by neighborhood restaurant Martha on October 10th, 10 am–12 pm.

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Prospect Park West & Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn [map]
Northwest corner of Prospect Park
Open Saturdays Year Round, 8 am–4 pm
Founded in 1989, Grand Army Plaza is Greenmarket’s flagship Brooklyn market, and the second largest market in the program, behind Union Square. Located at the northwest entrance to beautiful Prospect Park—, it is just steps from the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This community destination brings together a mix of shoppers from nearby neighborhoods. Runners, dog-walkers, families, singles, and foodies all converge to buy from the huge array of farm fresh products, and to participate in the programming and cooking demonstrations that take place every Saturday all year long.  Stop by Evolutionary Organics’ certified Naturally Grown vegetables from Ulster County, NY.

Greenpoint / McCarren Park Greenmarket
Union Ave btwn Driggs & N 12th Street, Brooklyn [map]
Open Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
Open since 1997, this much-loved market has adapted to the changing face of the neighborhood while staying true to its loyal customers. People line up ten deep to purchase bottles of fresh milk and yogurt; an array of meat including grass-fed beef, pork, chicken and rabbit draws its own crowd. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are piled high, and honey, preserves, baked goods, eggs, and juice keep the crowds pleased year-round. Don’t miss Garden of Eve’s certified organic produce from Suffolk County, NY. Upcoming events include Borscht Fest 2015 (Click here to volunteer) Sat., Oct. 10, 11 am–1 pm.

Queens

Forest Hills Greenmarket
South side of Queens Blvd at 70th Avenue, Queens [map]
Open Sunday, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
Located in front of the Forest Hills Post Office, this neighborhood market boasts a variety of locally grown, fresh products. Throughout the season, the market will offer free cooking demonstrations, kids activities, and the opportunity to mingle with neighbors, all while getting to know the regional farmers who grow your food. Come back each week to learn about the healthful and flavorful benefits of eating what is fresh and in season. You can find Bread Alone’s organic offerings here, as well as Garden of Eve’s. Also, during the growing season, you can buy B&Y Farms’ animal welfare-approved pork, lamb, poultry, eggs, and bison raised on certified organic feed and unsprayed hay and pasture, as well as flowers, yarn, and fleeces from Tioga County, New York.

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Inwood Greenmarket
Isham St. between Seaman Ave and Cooper St. [map]
Open Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
Located at Manhattan’s northernmost point, at the foot of Inwood Hill Park, one the city’s biggest and most beautiful parks, this market is a year-round neighborhood favorite. Even on the coldest, darkest winter Saturdays, loyal Inwood shoppers come out because they know they can’t get products like this anywhere else. A core group of farmers attend every week of the year, and during the peak of the season, a few more join to round out the offerings with the summer’s bounty. Hawthorne Valley Farm’s certified organic and biodynamic offerings can be found here as well.

Sunnyside Greenmarket
Skillman Ave btwn 42 & 43 Streets, Queens [map]
Open Saturdays, year-round, 8 am–3 pm
Set on a shady, tree-lined avenue near Lou Lodati Park, the Sunnyside Greenmarket is a thriving community center drawing an ethnically diverse mix of residents from the surrounding neighborhood. On hand are a fantastic selection of vegetables grown in the Black Dirt of Orange County, specialty Mexican produce and herbs, eggs, seasonal fruit, cider, baked goods and fresh-caught fish. Cheese, pickled vegetables, grass fed beef, and wine pressed from locally grown grapes entice shoppers with culinary possibilities. W. Rogowski Farm offers its certified naturally grown vegetables from Orange County, NY, here as well.

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Staten Island
Saint George Greenmarket
St. Mark’s Place and Hyatt St, Staten Island [map]
Open Saturdays, 5/2–12/26, 8 am–2 pm
Set on a hill overlooking New York Harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline, this market draws a dedicated following of neighborhood shoppers who line up each Saturday to get first dibs on the freshest seasonal fruit, produce, cheese, meat, seafood and baked goods. An array of plants, berries picked just as they have ripened, juice pressed from upstate orchard fruit, heirloom tomatoes and much more will entice you to keep checking back in on the market to see what’s new each week, and experience the change of the seasons through the food made available by these regional farmers. Don’t miss Rabbit Run Farm’s certified organic vegetables, goat cheese and meats from Bucks County, PA.

Nassau County
Port Washington Organic Farmers’ Market
Town Dock, Main St, Port Washington
Saturdays, May 31–Nov. 22, 8 am–12 pm
Although this one’s outside the city limits, I had to include it. The market, founded by Grassroots Environmental Education, is the only 100-percent organic farmers’ market in New York State. It features fresh organic produce from Long Island, goat cheese, honey, organic bread and baked goods, flowers, their famous “market muffins” and scones, as well as fantastic organic coffee (with organic milk and organic sucanat). Every Saturday, vendor tents line Main Street in Port Washington’s historic district, right on the Manhasset Bay. It’s well worth a trip before it closes in November.

The majority of the information provided here is courtesy of GrowNYC. Be sure to check out the website and search for individual stands for further information, including holiday schedules. A number of markets, even if they’re year-round, close around Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the meantime, all you need to do is grab your reusable bags and visit one of these markets to tote your farm-fresh bounty home.

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