April on the Farm. Spring planting of Glenn wheat between bright green rows of Danko winter rye (bright green) at Oechsner Farms in Newfield, NY. These alternating strips of growing and tilled land slow the movement of water across the slope to stem soil erosion. Photo by Rachel Lodder of Oecshner Farms, who says of the rye: "They are the first plants to 'green-up' after surviving the winter as spindly little sprouts... One of my favorite things about April."
GrowNYC Grains is a Program of GrowNYC

In this Issue
Upcoming market dates
Greenmarket Bakers go to 25% !
Interviews with Greenmarket bakers
Recipe of the month

Upcoming Market Dates
Come find locally grown grains at the following locations!

Grainstand Weekly Markets
 every  Wednesday & Saturday.
Grainstand Pop-up Markets
  • April 13: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
  • April 21: Jackson Heights, Queens
  • April 27: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
  • April 28: 79th St., Manhattan

  • May 4: Inwood, Manhattan
  • May 11: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
  • May 19: Jackson Heights, Queens
  • May 25: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
  • May 26: 79th St., Manhattan
  • June 1: Inwood, Manhattan
  • June 8: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
  • June 16: Jackson Heights, Queens
  • June 22: Fort Greene, Brooklyn
  • June 23: 79th St., Manhattan
  • June 29: McCarren Park, Brooklyn
  • June 30: Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
The Grainstand & Guests pop-up schedule is now available for April through June!

Pre-ordered bulk bags are available at the Union Square Greenmarket every Wednesday and Saturday, or at any of our pop-up location upon request. Check availability and pricing here

Wholesale orders of $250 or more can be delivered through Greenmarket Co. , GrowNYC's wholesale distribution program. 

For more information or to place an order, email us at grains@grownyc.org.
Greenmarket Bakers go to 25% !
Increasing the local grain requirement in all baked goods.

Since the inception of GrowNYC Grains in the early 2000's, Greenmarket bakers have been spearheading the use of regional grains in baked goods. Though some bakers were hesitant at first, insisting that local grains were not of a high enough quality to bake with, many experimented, tweaked recipes, and tested and retested until they found the local grains that worked for them.

Starting in 2009, all Greenmarket bakers were required to use at least 15% local grains in their recipes, in addition to many other local ingredients (milk, eggs, produce, etc.) Today, a decade later, most Greenmarket bakers are using much more than 15% local grains, many are using 30-40%, and a few are using 100% regional grains in their products.

Greenmarket bakers came together a few months ago and decided it was time to push the envelope again, to make sure that we are staying true to our mission and are constantly adapting to regional availability. Thus, a new standard was decided upon-- as of April 1, 2019, all Greenmarket bakers will use a minimum 25% local grains in their products.

We sat down with a few of those bakers--some who have been with Greenmarket for decades, others brand new--to talk about what the process of switching to local grain was like for them. Our bakers have proven the viability of using local grains on a larger scale. We can learn a lot from their triumphs, mistakes, and adjustments, and we will hopefully usher in a new standard for bakers around the country with their guidance.

Photo above: Thor Oechsner of Farmer Ground Flour, out standing in his field!
Greenmarket Baker Stats
14 = number of commercial bakeries at Greenmarket.

14 = number of farm-based bakeries at Greenmarket.

60,373 lbs = local grain and flour used by Greenmarket bakers monthly.

38% = average percentage of local grain used by our bakers.

2,309 lbs monthly = average local grain used per baker.

15,000 lbs monthly = highest amount used by a single Greenmarket bakery.
For Dave Williams , the busy owner of William's Fruit Farm , using 100% local flour in their apple cider donuts was an easy choice, simply out of convenience. "We just switched to Birkett Mills (Penn Yan, NY) because we didn't want to keep track of how much of each flour was used." You can find the coveted apple cider donuts at Grand Army Plaza every Saturday year-round, at Bartel-Pritchard Square Wednesdays year-round, as well at Bartel-Pritchard on Sundays from May-December.
Alex Bois of Lost Bread Co. provides us a unique example of a baker who not only learned how to bake using local grain, but whose idea of what it means to be a baker is tied to adaptability. Alex considers inconsistency a strength rather than a handicap. While learning how to bake with Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery, Alex remembers the first time he mixed the dough with a whole wheat flour from North Country Farms and noticed how different it was from other flours they used. "The white flours were so consistent, it was hard to get used to. It was an interesting learning curve, but variation was part of the beauty of it."

By the time Lost Bread Co. was founded (just about two years ago now), local flour was already a big part of the equation. Sourcing locally is key to the operation, as is milling in-house. This way, Bois found they could control a bit more of the variation that naturally occurs with regional wheat, but it also allows them to keep costs down. For Alex, the key to innovate, be adaptive, and find opportunity in inconsistencies is the scale of the operation: "Unless you make a point of actually deliberately staying away from consistency, the more you scale up the harder it is to ever change anything."

One product to watch out for: The beet and rye loaf, using local beets, and rye that they mill in house. "It gets people excited about rye, which is making a revival right now."
Find them at Union Square every Wednesday & Friday year-round.
Blaine Carvaggio of Off the Wheat Sweets and Eats , attended her first Greenmarket in July 2018, at the Forest Hills market in Queens. She noticed right away the difference between Greenmarket and other farmers markets she had attended. There was more foot traffic and higher visibility, and, more importantly, a direct connection to other producers. "I was using all local ingredients right away--eggs, butter, and cheese, and the Wild Hive cornmeal."

Off the Wheat features a variety of gluten free and keto baked goods, including cookies, cakes, brownies, and the popular 'cheese bombs'. After having used local cornmeal and polenta for her cakes, Blaine was introduced to Gianforte Farm's oats through Hudson Valley Harvest. "Oats are easy to work with, I use them for any crumb or streusel." Soon after, Blaine began using oat flour in a whole line of cookies. The oat cookies were so successful that when she was no longer able to order oat flour in bulk, she began milling the oats herself. "It comes out a little courser than before, but I haven't had any complaints, and cookie sales have definitely not gone down." Simple, high quality ingredients are crucial to Carvaggio's business. "The polenta and cornmeal and oats are a blank slate- the best ingredients that you can add to to make them unique."

One product to watch out for : The oat cookies, using oatmeal and oat flour, they are a best seller.
Find them at Forest Hills every Sunday year-round, and Union Square every Monday year-round.
Our Daily Bread has been a producer with Greenmarket for more than 20 years. Yoni Cohen has taken over the operation from his father, who was a "baker, schlepper, and driver." During the first transition to local grains in 2010, Yoni was just getting back into the fold while finishing up school, and his father's health was declining. "It was not an easy adjustment. We had a lot of catching up to do." As long-time members of the program, the Cohens leaned on Greenmarket to help them make connections and keep them in the loop on different varieties of wheat grown in the region that may work for them. One thing they noticed in the bakery, which made it difficult for the bakers to adjust to, was that the regional flour did not work well with their machinery. This meant an entirely new process had to be set in place.

Despite their early struggles in the bakery, the Cohen s are completely on board with the mission, and they see how the benefits of using regional flour go full circle, from the farm to the consumer: "We have learned throughout the years how important it is. We didn’t fully comprehend at first how important it was to establish a grain economy." They are primarily working with Farmer Ground Flour, using their pastry, whole wheat and bread flour. Consistent delivery was important to Yoni, with so many markets to stock, and Farmer Ground was able to provide them that consistency. Absorbing the extra cost has also been tricky for the bakery. At this point, Our Daily Bread is using about 45% local flour, and would like to use even more. They are hoping that as the movement expands and becomes more customer-driven, costs will go down and local flour will become more accessible to them. "We try to feature some products that are 100% local grain," Yoni says. "It's good for people to be able to hold a loaf in their hand and know that every ounce of that flour was grown regionally and produced regionally."

One product to watch out for: The beetroot sourdough. A beautiful, dark red bread, using not only local flours, but local beets, that are available year-round.
Find them at Union Square every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, year-round.

Recipe of the Month-
Yellow Pea Dip

Dried yellow peas from Maine Grains are this region's delicious, earthy, and sweet version of chick-peas. With a similar texture, they are perfect for processing into a creamy dip.
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ pound (about 1¼ cups) dry yellow split peas
  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sumac (optional)
  • Dash red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Optional toppings: Za'atar, fresh or dried oregano, chopped green onion tops, sun dried tomatoes, olives, lemon zest
  1. Soak the peas overnight, drain in the morning (or after at least 8 hours).
  2. Add 1 cups of peas to 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for about an hour until tender.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes, or until it's clear and soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the garlic is very fragrant.
  4. Transfer the garlic, onion, and peas to a food processor fitted with the S blade and add an additional tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, salt, cumin, sumac, and red pepper flakes, if using. Process until the dip retains some of its texture, but is fairly smooth (you can also continue blending until it's totally smooth, if you prefer a uniform texture that's similar to hummus). Add a few splashes of water or another tablespoon of olive oil if desired, to create a thinner dip.
  5. Top the dip with a drizzle of olive oil and any toppings of choice. Serve the dip warm, with pita chips, crackers, or veggies. Dip will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
GrowNYC's Annual Report
It's here! You can now read a digital copy of GrowNYC's 2018 Annual Report online.

We're proud to share what we accomplished in 2018.

Please take a few moments to explore how GrowNYC is helping New Yorkers live healthier and more sustainable lives
Host Your Event at Project Farmhouse
Project Farmhouse , GrowNYC’s sustainability center and events space, is available for rent.
Not only is the space gorgeous--with a projection wall and sound system (karaoke anyone?), a demo kitchen (as well as a separate catering kitchen), hydroponic living wall, and more--your rental fee will support public programming focused on the good food movement.

Encompassing 3,500 square feet, Project Farmhouse can host 240 people for a cocktail party or 100 people for a sit-down affair.
Click here  to book Project Farmhouse.
Donate to GrowNYC
GrowNYC is a 501(c)3 environmental nonprofit organization. Donate Today to support GrowNYC Grains, neighborhood Greenmarkets, community gardens, recycling and hands-on education programs for youth.  
GrowNYC/Greenmarket | 212-788-7900 | www.grownyc.org