STATEN ISLAND, NY – While the St. George Greenmarket is open year-round, April is when the food magic really starts to happen. Regionally, Mother Nature determines local production based on the bounty of the season – tender greens, lettuce, herbs, eggs and flowers – and the goods finally hit the market.
The St. George Greenmarket is open rain or shine on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Hyatt Street and St. Mark’s Place behind the St. George Theatre. The Staten Island Mall Greenmarket is scheduled to open on Saturday, June 11.
One of the long-time producers in St. George is cheesemaker Dan Torrison of Rabbit farm. He reflects on the new season.
Speaking on behalf of fellow grower and soap maker Laurie Churchill, their farm dogs, barn cats and other organic farm critters, Torrison says, “I recently thought about the beginning of spring and noticed that it is a fierce time, a struggle between cold and warm, between dormancy and hibernation and renewal and growth. There is nothing soft, calm or pastel about the beginning of spring.
He notes, “Daffodils, crocuses and forsythias all explode in vibrant yellows and purples. Vernal ponds are noisy at night with the crackling, croaking, and screeching of frogs, toad skinks, and newts as they emerge from hibernation and seek mates.
Regarding the early March cold snap, he said: “The spring/winter back and forth is nothing new, but maybe it’s the original April Fool’s joke, with magnolia buds opening in March.”
And the cold won’t affect Rabbits Run’s greenhouse production. He says: “We currently have spinach and we will have baby lettuce for the market on Saturday April 2.
Now on the move in St. George on Saturdays through April, in addition to Rabbit Run, are American Pride Seafood with wild fish and shellfish from Suffolk County, NY; Francesca’s Bakery with breads and pastries from Passaic County, NJ; Jersey Farm Products with early season vegetables, herbs, orchard and berries from Hunterdon County, NJ; Rabbit farm with certified organic vegetables, greens, herbs, goat cheese and meats from Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Stony Mountain Ranch with grass-fed Piedmontese beef from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Grow NYC is the city’s administrative arm for the Big Apple’s Greenmarkets. It sponsors citywide grants on a rolling schedule as follows: All In Neighborhood Grant, NYSAR Green School Grant Program, Karma 4 Cara, Herman’s Garden Seed Donation Program; Ioby Crowdfund Matching; Future Farmers of America Grants; Monarch Watch Free Milkweed; and EcoRise grants.
Pamela Silvestri is editor-in-chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].