Last weekend I spent most of my time racing against raindrops, trying to schedule outdoor activities amid the ever-present threat of extreme downpours. On Sunday Jim and I managed to explore the New Amsterdam Market at South Street Seaport before another round of thunderstorms arrived later in the day.
This was the third gathering of local farmers, purveyors, distributors, bakers, and chefs. The New Amsterdam Public Market Association’s goal is to permanently dedicate both the New Market Building and the adjacent Tin Building to a sustainably-produced, regional food market. The two buildings have been vacant since the Fulton Fish Market relocated in 2005.
Sunday’s food gathering was held in front of the Market Building, where the vendors displayed an amazing variety of products. It’s impossible to talk about all of the participants, so I’ll just highlight some of our favorite stops along the way.
We first visited the Ronnybrook Farm stand, where I tried their sweet and creamy Peach Yogurt drink. A few rows over, Hudson Valley Fresh treated us to their cool and flavorful whole and chocolate milks. They supply Ronnybrook Farm with their milk, which I took as an encouraging example of a local and sustainable relationship between two food producers. I didn’t try much cheese at the market—it was just so hot that I didn’t feel like it—but it was certainly well represented by purveyors such as Saxelby Cheesemongers.
Moving on from the dairy-based products, I tried some fresh gazpacho from McEnroe Organic Farm and tasted some beautiful, textural loaves of bread at the extensive bread pavilion. Later I topped it all off with a blue-straw-berry lavender sorbet from The Bent Spoon, and a summery bite of strawberry shortcake from the chefs at Centovini.
Although fresh fruits and vegetables were represented at the market, Jim and I were surprised by the focus on artisanal foodstuffs and purveyors. The New Amsterdam Market’s website makes some interesting points on the importance of purveyors such as Marlow & Sons and their relationships with producers and consumers. Just as creating a food product is a crucial aspect of the market system, so is having the knowledge of sourcing, preparing, and selling food.
I didn’t buy any meat from the vendors at the market, although the free tote bag from Bo Bo Chicken helped me carry all the free publications I collected during my tour, as well as a container of Health Shoppe’s organic popcorn, a bottle of Swarmbustin’ honey, and a box of sweet cherries. From the crowds I saw on Sunday, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm for this market. I’m just glad I didn’t eat lunch beforehand.