Farm-fresh fare is special regardless of where you live, but it's a particularly covetable concept in the city. Walk through any farmer's market — be it the Grand Army Plaza Green Market or Union Square's bustling network of stalls, and you'll be hard pressed not to indulge in at least one of their offerings. Since New Yorkers are normally nowhere near nature, farm-grown food gives us an appreciation for earthly delights that we don't have to commute on the Metro North to feel. It encourages us to slow down for a few seconds to enjoy something simple — it also makes salads bearable.
And places like Brooklyn Grange are bridging urbanites and the outlying allure of fresh produce. Being one of the most successful ventures in urban farming, they are proving that vegetables can be grown right in the city.
Created in 2010, the first farm was erected in two weeks, using over 1.2 million pounds of soil. Assembled on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, the space operates sustainably on top of a series of padding and drainage systems. Though it was built in the most unlikely area, it saw success early and became profitable within its third year. Between the flagship Queens location and a second site on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the farms grow 50,000 pounds of produce per year, which are supplied at eateries around the city. The combined two and a half acres of urban farmland are also home to egg-laying hens and an apiary with buzzing ecosystem-sustaining bees.
Over a nine month growing period, they produce leafy green veggies, peppers, eggplants, herbs and tomatoes with a city-wide reputation. They also make make a mean hot sauce — something I learned completely by accident when I ended up purchasing a bottle at Brooklyn boutique Heatonist.
In addition to bringing delicious locally-grown veggies to the masses, they host tours, teach farm-focused workshops and offer the space up for events or weddings. They also have an educational non-profit partner named City Growers, which educates New York City youth about agriculture via tours and workshops.
More information can be found on their website — check it out and show some support of you fancy the idea of fresh produce sprouting out over the top of the city.