What a Difference a Year Makes: The Carroll Gardens Farmers’ Market

I know it might seem crazy to write about food with all this election madness going on, but I can’t help it. I just got back from voting, I’m too jittery to sit still, and I can’t bring myself to watch any election coverage just yet. So, in an effort to calm myself down while hoping for the best, I thought I’d write a post about a subject I’ve had on my mind for the past few months: my local farmers’ market.

As some of you already know, last year Carroll Gardens finally got its own farmers’ market. Starting in July 2007, a few tables of vegetables and fruit lined a short stretch of Carroll Street between Court and Smith Streets every Sunday through last November. While I lamented the lack of cheese, meat, and fish vendors, I remained optimistic for these changes in the future. I figured that once the market became more established, perhaps we would see more vendors on the block.

Well, it pays to think positively, because our little market has expanded quite a bit in just one year. Now when I make my weekly visit to Carroll Street, I bring two bags and indulge in a variety of local food products.

Similar to my shopping pattern from last year, I begin by stocking up on fruit from Fishkill Farms. While over the summer I focused on fresh plums and peaches, in October I scooped up apples and pears. My next move is usually towards the piles of fresh greens and other vegetables from Alex Farm as I supplement my CSA shipment with whatever other produce I might need for the week. Jim seems to prefer the vegetables from W. Rogowski Farm, so in the end we actually wind up supporting several stands at the market. I can’t forget my weekly chocolate croissant from Amy’s Bread, although sometimes I try to be healthy and buy a loaf of whole-grain bread as well.

But in addition to all of the wonderful produce and baked goods, we can now peruse products from various local meat, fish, dairy, and cheese vendors. About a month ago, Jim and I bought grass-fed, spicy Angus sausages from Grazin’ Angus Acres for the first time. We broiled them, sliced them up, and cooked them on top of one of our homemade pizzas. Raised without antibiotics or hormones, this beef was happily enjoyed with less guilt than usual. Grazin’ Acres’s sausages were so earthy and full-flavored that Jim and I went back for one of their grass-fed chickens a few weeks later.

I’ve yet to buy fish from Seatuck Fish Company, or pasture-raised eggs from Fishkill Farms, but both are on my list. Once in a while I’ll pick up some goat cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm, and a few weeks ago local honey was for sale. There are so many options, I find it’s impossible to try them all at once.

On another note, I’ve also enjoyed seeing how our farmers’ market has increased its role in the community. Every Sunday the lines seem to stretch longer and longer at each stand. A few months ago a chef from the soon-to-open restaurant Buttermilk Channel prepared a fresh vegetable pickle for the market’s shoppers. On this past Sunday, piles of mussels from Seatuck Fish Company were being prepared at one of the stands, encouraging people to linger and enjoy the day with each other.

So as you can see, our little farmers’ market has grown quite a bit in a year. I may not have tried the wares from every stand, but it’s not a problem; I have something new to look forward to every week. I just hope I can get through the rest of election day…

The Carroll Gardens Farmers Market, located on Carroll Street between Smith and Court. It runs on Sundays from July through November.

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Hey! I just saw this post, after I wrote on a more recent one. I go to this Farmer’s Market too! I haven’t gotten Chicken at Grazin’ Angus (thought their sign said they were fresh out due to predators, you should try the Russian Sausage), but have purchased Chicken and Eggs from the Farm that sets up farthest from Smith St. (Fishkill?). So juicy and delicious. Anyway, exciting to see that we’re neighbors!

  2. 2

    Christina said,

    EIB-So glad we’re neighbors too! I don’t think Grazin’ Acres has chickens all the time; the first time I tried to buy one the vendor told me the birds hadn’t made weight that week. The next week Jim got the last one. The vendor did say we could always call the farm directly to see if they’d have chickens that week. I’ll have the try the birds and eggs from Fishkill soon….

  3. 3

    Clare said,

    Christina, Brad and I are bummed that we’re missing out on the Carroll Gardens market! Though London has better outdoor food markets than any place I’ve ever lived — I’d love to take you to Borough Market some time (http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/ — it’s been there for 2000 years!)

    I love this blog and stalk it often for updates — it feels a little dishonest to voraciously read something without commenting every once in a while. LOVE YOUR WORK!

  4. 4

    Christina said,

    Clare-Your comment just made my day, thanks so much. I’m so glad that you have been enjoying the blog. I’ll look forward to a trip to your London market soon! And please keep stalking the blog. Send my hello’s to Brad.

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