Red Spring

PRODUCE LOVERS: What does your May taste like?

Probably mouth-watering pies, grilled vegetables and tangy salads – in whichcase, you’re in luck, because we’ve just gotten a barrelful of radishes (pink beauty, red ball and French breakfast) and luminous local rhubarb. (We also have new bunched spinach baby bok choy, baby sweet hakurei turnips, and lots of wild foraged ramps, but those are green – and green and red don’t go together in May.)

All these rubies are from Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, and go with the season – so we advise you to bet on red immediately!

Greene GrapeRed Spring
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It is said that a good writer never opens with the weather, but the heck with it: spring is here, even if it’s been dragged in one curmudgeonly blossom at a time.

Thusly, it’s our pleasure to introduce (with the consultation of our dynamo produce department) the first fresh greens of spring: organic, locally foraged fiddlehead ferns from D’artagnan, wild ramps and mustard greens from Lancaster Organics. (Which are flying off the shelves as we speak.) Get used to it – but first, enjoy it!

Greene GrapeSprung!
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Soul Kofa-ing

Can one say “vegan butcher”?

Come by Provisions this Friday night as we welcome Brooklyn’s faux-meat caterer extraordinaire Soul Kofa to the tasting arena, sampling his deliciously crispy meat-free chicken nuggets and tangy BBQ ribs. Drawing on African vegetarian tradition, they’re perfect slathered on a grilled cheese sandwich, between burger buns or tossed into a salad. He’ll be here from 6 to 8pm.

Greene GrapeSoul Kofa-ing
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No, the locally-grown, perfectly ripe, full-flavored tomatoes in our produce section this February are not a beneficial bi-product of global warning.  They are the ingenious brainchild of Shushan Valley Hydro Farm, a husband and wife farming team that needed a solution to the meager economics of a small dairy farm.  Their solution?  Hydroponically-grown, pesticide-free, natural stream-fed greenhouse tomatoes, an effort we are contributing to by being the first store in NYC to feature their products.

We hope you appreciate this ethical alternative to going tomato-less or buying blander, more well-traveled varieties. $5.99/lb and we will have them in stock until summer!

Greene GrapeWhy-droponic?
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A Note on California Produce

As you may have noticed, certain out-of-region items have gone up significantly in price over the past few weeks. We proudly source our broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli rabe and plenty of fruits from the central valley in California, which has experienced a serious freeze, significantly affecting crop production. What this means for us here at the Greene Grape is lower availability and higher prices. A reminder of how we fit into the natural world and are subject to mother nature’s whims, perhaps; to avoid these frustrations, we recommend shifting your dinner menu to include items that are grown locally this time of year. New York state is still supplying fabulous cabbages, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, winter squash, and much more! If you haven’t tried our local  aquaponic salad greens and hydroponic tomatoes, we do solemnly swear you’ll be impressed!


Greene GrapeA Note on California Produce
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Mama O’s Premium Kimchi Kit!

Are you looking for a way to spend some of that sweet Christmas dough from your Aunt?  You know you should pay your bills with it, but that’s not what Christmas money is for.  We suggest picking up one of Mama O’s Premium Kimchi Kits, now you can make yourself a big ol’ jar of kimchi for putting on just about anything.  The kit includes everything you need, minus the vegetables, to start fermenting your own Mama O’s.  Our good friend and founder of Mama O’s Kheedim has made a handy dandy instructional video to walk you through the steps for using your new kimchi kit!

Click here for the video! 

Greene GrapeMama O’s Premium Kimchi Kit!
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How to Tackle a Squash

Have you ever been intimidated to take home a huge, heavy, winter squash? Have you ever seriously hurt yourself trying to cut one open? Follow this fun tip from an old farmer friend, and you won’t be afraid to make the most dense squash yours (for those are the tastiest!). Instead of trying to saw open a 7 pound vegetable in your kitchen, put your heavy Hubbard, Red Kuri or other hard squash in a paper bag. Take it outside and toss the whole thing in the air so it falls on the ground. It will smash open in the bag, and you can scoop out the seeds. Save them to make pepitas if you like! With the rest of your squash, roast on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until it is soft enough to poke easily with a fork. Eat it plain, drizzle with oil or honey, spice it up with cinnamon, garlic, cumin or cayenne– the possibilities are truly endless. Chock full of nutrients and tasty to boot, what more could you want on a chilly fall day?

Greene GrapeHow to Tackle a Squash
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Food with Integrity

The ongoing “Organic vs Conventional” debate has resurfaced recently after a Stanford study released some ruffling results claiming that organic products were not really worth the price. There have been rebuttals and criticisms to the study, but over half a century of research seems to answer the important questions in these ways:

Is sustainable agriculture better for my body? Maybe. Most nutrients are at equal levels in organic and conventional produce, though some (notably vitamin C and phytochemicals) are found at higher levels in organics. Eating conventionally grown food could pose a risk of exposure to harmful pesiticides, but many studies show this is minimal even in the most risky crops, especially if you wash your produce. What really determines the health of your food is the quality of the soil in which it is grown (which often is much higher on organic farms) and the time that passes between harvest and consumption. The fresher it is, the more nutrients will be preserved!

Is sustainable agriculture better for the environment? Yes. Hugely. Many Organic farms show signs of improved soil chemistry, less polluted waterways, reduced erosion, healthier native pollinator populations…. on and on…..

Is sustainable agriculture better for farm workers? Definitely. If you are frightened of pesticide residue on conventional fruit and vegetables, imagine the kind of exposure farm workers receive when they apply those chemicals. Farming communities that use heavy sprays often have high levels of cancer, reproductive disorders and a myriad of other health complications. By supporting no chemical agriculture, you are helping to fight for farm worker rights and safety.

Can I be sure that an item that is USDA Certified Organic is really more healthy, sustainable, and fair than one that isn’t? Not necessarily. Gaining USDA certification is a long, difficult, tedious, expensive, and often unrealistic pursuit for many farmers, especially on small, family-run operations. Certification processes have lead to the exclusion of many of the most sustainable farms producing the highest quality food from becoming USDA certified. The consumer is frequently faced with the classic choice of whether to purchase an “Organic” item from a large farm across the country (one that is not at all fresh, from a farm that doesn’t use sustainable practices and treats its laborers poorly) or one grown locally, perhaps a bit more rugged looking, harvested at the peak of ripeness but not certified by the government.

Joel Salatin, a “Beyond Organic” farmer, once said: “You can’t regulate personal integrity with a government certification.” At the Greene Grape, we understand this, and seek out integrity in our products with a passion. We believe that the only real way to find products with integrity is to find a person with integrity who creates it. Whether we know the farmer on a personal basis (Brooklyn Grange, Feedback Farms, Project Eats, farmers in the Fingerlakes region) or have a personal liaison to the farms (GrowNYC Greenmarket, Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op), by connecting to the farms that grow our food, we can be sure that we are supporting sustainable agricultural practices and purchasing the tastiest, freshest product. When an item cannot be found in our region, we do rely on the USDA Organic Certification as a judge of integrity, but rank this kind of guidance as secondary to knowing the grower, seeing the farm, and resting assured that all components of their operation are soundly rooted in producing a healthier community. Please ask the staff at Greene Grape if you have questions about the origin of your fruit or vegetable- we are always happy to share our knowledge about the amazing produce we provide for you! Happy shopping.

Greene GrapeFood with Integrity
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Homegrown Tomatoes

Everyone can agree: the taste of a store-bought tomato will never come close to that of the one grown in your backyard, ripened on the vine by the hot summer sun. And it’s no wonder; most tomatoes are picked green and chemically treated to turn red as they travel long distances in a truck. Well, now at Provisions, you can have your tomato and eat it too. We are proud to supply beautiful, ripe, heirloom tomatoes (Green Zebras, Glaciers, Cosmonaut, Orange blossom, and the lovely irredescent Violet Jasper) from Feedback Farms on 4th ave and Boerum st, just a few blocks away! Feedback Farms

is a not-for-profit fiscally sponsored project by IOBY that takes vacant lots and, with the consent of private landowners or the city, transforms them into part of a distributed farm network and urban farming research and educational project, thus growing affordable, fresh, organic, vegetables for the community, while educating urbanites about local food and food systems. So stop by Provisions and indulge in that homegrown tomato taste, harvested just hours ago, hand delivered by the farmer herself, and still warm from the Brooklyn sun!

Greene GrapeHomegrown Tomatoes
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As Local as It Gets

Provisions is proud to stock its shelves with produce grown less than a mile from the store. The Brooklyn Grange Navy Yard Organic Rooftop Farm (just up the street!) covers 45,000 square feet of otherwise unused rooftop space, and – in addition to supporting vegetable production to supply numerous restaurants and a thriving CSA program – is a critical player in managing over one million gallons of the city’s storm water each year, which helps reduce stress on the city’s waste water system. Provisions carries a spectacular Bitter Salad Mix from the Brooklyn Grange – containing Mizuna, Ruby Streaks, Mustard Greens, Mixed Lettuces, Beet Greens and Tat Soi. Excellent with a light dressing, this could very well be the freshest, healthiest purchase you make all day!

Check out the Brooklyn Grange online, and stay posted for more local products coming to Provisions.


Greene GrapeAs Local as It Gets
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