Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Union Square Farmers Market

Today, I bought as much as I could carry at the Union Square Farmers Market. I love this place and pass through whenever I can, but, I have to admit, it's a very rare albeit very special occasion that I can go through leisurely and talk to a few of the farmers. To have the time to not only talk but to stock up on some good local treats is indeed a luxury. (And, something that I must do more often.)

I picked up some honey comb, a few pounds of meats, a few veggies, some berries and some tasty looking pantry items -- local dried red beans and local corn meal.

I discovered an amazing new tool over at the GREENMARKET'S website that shows what farmers at Union Square, when they are there and what they are selling. Click here , go to the right side of the page and open the PDF labeled "Producers at Union Square, by day and by product". It's a 2009 document so totally up-to-date --- I'll be sure to put it in a safe place -- thanks Greenmarket!!!

First I talked to Andrew Cote of Silvermine Apiary home of "Andrew's Taste-Bud Bursting Local Wildflower Honey", honey comb, whipped honey, health and beauty products, bee pollan (and royal jelly - in season) and good friend of Just Food. It was fun to watch the busy bees in the glass display at his table at the market. Trying to guess how many bees were in his bee case, we surmised there were over 2,000 buzzing in and out of the approximately 14 x 20 inch beeswax comb/bee frame.

I mentioned to Andrew that I was considering learning more about raising bees in Southampton. He suggested I visit the New York City Beekeepers Association site. Here's what it says about Andrew:
Andrew has been keeping bees since he was a child, along with his father, Norm. He is the Founding Director of Bees Without Borders, a philanthropic endeavor to help alleviate poverty through beekeeping. A full-time college professor for the State of Connecticut, Andrew also manages a family business, Silvermine Apiary, which produces Andrew's Local Honey (sold in NYC at various Greenmarkets) and manages more colonies of honeybees in Connecticut and New York than he can remember. He divides his time between a tiny 130 year old house in Connecticut and various digs in New York, and a few months each year in remote parts of the world like southern Uganda, the Niger Delta, Mayan villages, or Iraqi mountains, where he teaches beekeeping for Bees Without Borders. He never sleeps.
I want to learn more about Andrew and his local (NYC and CT) and international beekeeping efforts -- without the bees there would be no fruit, no vegetables and no flowers. With Andrew, the world's a better place for locavores and foodies alike.

Union Square, NYC, Greenwich, CT and Westport, CT Farmers Markets

Then, I stopped by Arcadian Pastures and talked to Laurent Danthine, a native of Belgium -- where the Van de Walle's are from -- and a relatively new but quite competent livestock farmer located in Sloansville, NY (upstate and west of Albany). Arcadian is a small family farm and they raise only heritage breeds of pork, beef, lamb and chicken.

Laurent and I talked about the challenges in New York State due to the relatively few number of slaughterhouses for large animals such as cattle but that he processes rabbits and chickens at the farm, how to cook grass-fed beef, and also selling via community supported agriculture and farmers markets.

I bought a Top Round steak (from a Belted Galloway cow), large piece of pork tenderloin and 4 rib lamb chops. Laurant mentioned that he and his wife, who runs the farm with him, decided to raise animals for their healthy meat -- all of their livestock are raised using not only sustainable farming methods, including rotationally and grass-fed cattle, and certified organic grain for the other animals.

I look forward to trying his products over the weekend with my carnivore husband and sharing my recipes! I will visit Laurent and Arcadian again as I had my eye on some of the sausage and bacon products.

Arcadian Pastures
Debra and Laurent Danthine
591 Saddlemire Hill Road
Sloansville NY 12160
(518) 868-4378.

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