Vegetables

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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Heirloom Vegetables

All kinds of unique heirloom varietals are making their way into the produce aisle to remind us that summer is in full swing! Cool off with a sweet and juicy LEMON CUCUMBER – looks like a lemon, tastes like a cucumber – or grill up some WHITE EGGPLANTS – totally white, with the most hearty flavor. ZEBRA heirloom tomatoes add stripy color to any salad or sandwich, and EIGHTBALL SQUASH bring all the inspiration of a zucchini in the form of a perfect sphere. All are grown on small organic farms in Lancaster County, PA, and by purchasing these heirloom products you are promoting the protection of seed, pollinator, and ecosystem biodiversity! Yum.

Greene GrapeHeirloom Vegetables
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Can’t Beet ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Beets are taking center stage this week in the produce aisle at Provisions. With three heirloom varieties available- Bulls Blood, Gold, and Chioggia (or “Candy-Stripe”, pictured)- your meals are sure to show some color. Beets are easy to prepare- roast them on a baking sheet with a bit of oil, salt, and rosemary, then slice them onto a bed of greens and pair with a fresh feta. Save the tops: they pack a load of nutrients and make a wonderful addition to a chopped salad or a stir-fry.

Greene GrapeCan’t Beet ‘Em, Join ‘Em
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Produce Report: Totally Local Salad

 

Though local items are always featured in the produce section at Provisions, the warmer weather brings us more variety and fresh options to the store and to your table!  Fix up a totally local salad with Escarole from Windy Hollow Organic Farm, shaved carrots from Sunrise Ridge Organic Farm, roasted candystripe beets from Green Valley Organic Farm, a sliced heirloom tomato from Riverview Organic Farm and top it off with a diced garlic scape from Pine Hill Organic Farm.  All farms are certified organic and are located within a 250 mile radius of our store.  No better way to support local small farms and munch on something cool on these dog days of summer.

Greene GrapeProduce Report: Totally Local Salad
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Local Frozen Fare, Finally!

If you’re a frequenter of the frozen section at Greene Grape Provisions, you may already have noticed a few new items. While Phin & Phebes continues their run as the favorite newcomer in local ice cream, we’ve got a brand new line of local frozen vegetables from Hudson Valley Harvest. Beginning their operation just last year, these guys have teamed up with numerous family owned farms throughout upstate New York to offer the freshest of frozen meats and produce. Their flash freezing process allows all of their vegetables to retain the nutrients they were picked with, giving you the best possible taste and nutritional value.

In the case right now we’ve got three new frozen vegetable offerings: sweet corn from Gill’s Farm in Hurley, green beans from Amba Farms in Bedford Hills, and a vibrant heirloom tomato puree by Evolution Organics in New Paltz. On every package is listed the location where the veggies were grown, how far they traveled after being picked, and where they were frozen and packaged, giving you a detailed, transparent route from farm to freezer. SO, if you’re in the market to get your vegetables the chilly way, be sure to support local agriculture and check out what Hudson Valley Harvest has to offer.

 

P.S. In case all of this veggie talk agitates your sweet tooth, make sure to keep your eyes open for a new line of gourmet ice cream sandwiches coming soon…

Greene GrapeLocal Frozen Fare, Finally!
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We’re Rolling in Dough!

You wanted the best. You got the best!

The most delicious FRESH PIZZA DOUGH in Fort Greene, and beyond!

Made with organic ingredients, and super easy to use, no stone required… just stretch out onto a sprayed cookie sheet, top to your heart’s delight, and bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is puffy and browned.

Can’t imagine what you’d top it with? Housemade Fresh Mozzarella, of course, or Buffalo Mozzarella, or Maplebrook Burrata, or Fontina maybe?  We’ve also got slicing Pepperoni and Prosciutto, or see what fresh sausages the butchers have this week, or even a dollop of our new Bacon Jam. Lots of fresh vegetables and herbs, tomato sauces, olives, pesto… whatever you can imagine!

Greene GrapeWe’re Rolling in Dough!
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Spring is RAMP-ing up

Produce reports that ramps are in season and in stock in the produce case.

Ramps are wild onions, sometimes called wild leeks. Their appearance in forests is a harbringer of spring in the countryside and their appearance in our produce case is the city equivalent. In the picture at left you can see that the bulbs are similar to those of scallions but ramps are distinguished by their large, flat broad leaves.

Both the bulbs and leaves of ramps are edible. The flavor of ramps is something in between onion and garlic with the leaves having lighter more gentle flavor than the bulbs. They can be used as a substitute in any recipe that calls for leek or scallion. A classic dish is scrambled eggs with ramps. Simply sauté the diced bulbs and stems of approximately 15 ramps in butter or oil until tender then add chopped ramp leaves and saute until slightly wilted. Add four whisked eggs and scramble in your normal fashion. We’ve also added asparagus – steamed and chopped or just chopped and sauteed longer – at the same time as the ramp greens. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate spring.

Greene GrapeSpring is RAMP-ing up
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All Hail Kale

Our  New York Naturals’s kale chips were featured in the NY Times today as “snack-worthy and packed with nutrients.”  Kale, which we also have fresh in produce, has more nutrients per calorie than almost any other food.  Kale chips are dehydrated kale dusted them with a combination of cashews, sunflower seeds, red bell peppers, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and sea salt.  New York magazine has called these ‘Doritos for health nuts’.

Greene GrapeAll Hail Kale
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