I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published March 13th 2011
New Yorkers are spoiled. Over the past few decades, we have enjoyed extensive access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats—as well as homemade baked goods, jams, locally produced honey, milk, and cheese—courtesy of the nonprofit group GrowNYC and the network of green markets that appear throughout the five boroughs. These days, no matter where you are in New York, you are not far from a farmers' market and some of America's best-tasting produce.
Besides providing New Yorkers with fresh food all year around, the green markets are a lively community space. World-renowned chefs are often seen scouring the markets in the early morning hours in search of the finest vegetables, while everyday folks stop by to pick their daily fruit, to participate in local recycling efforts (the green markets are drop-off points for everything from used clothing for fabric recycling to fresh food waste for composting), or to grab free recipes. Visit the GrowNYC blog for more food ideas.
Green markets are also great places to buy fresh herbs, flowers, plants and small trees and bushes as well as evergreens during the winter holiday season. Potted edible plants and herbs are typically available during the spring and summer months, and both are eligible for purchase under the New York State EBT Food Stamp Program. To learn how to use your EBT benefit card for fresh food, visit the GrowNYC website. For information about the 2011 Plant Sale, click here.
Even if you're only passing through, farmers' markets are great places to sample new foods. Growers normally offer samples of fruits, jams, breads, and even meats, like grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and farm-raised fish. If you happen to be passing a green market on an empty stomach, stop by and whet your taste buds—though you'll probably end up buying a few items.
GrowNYC and the green markets' network has been helping to feed New Yorkers since 1976. They now run more than 50 markets throughout the five boroughs in cooperation with 230 family farms and fisherman. In addition, GrowNYC is educating young people about eating healthier, fresher foods as well as teaching them farming techniques, which provides jobs. Green markets enhance the city's neighborhoods and provide a place for people to meet for a common purpose. Below is a list of year-around green markets located in Manhattan and their days and hours of operation.