GrowNYC Grains is a Program of GrowNYC

In this Issue
Upcoming Market Dates
Freekeh Update
Featuring: Barley
Recipe of the month

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

Grainstand Weekly Markets
 every  Wednesday & Saturday.
June Pop-up Markets

  • 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
July & August Pop-up Markets

We will be dropping all pop-ups for July and August except for those at GrowNYC's Inwood and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets. We will resume a regular schedule in September!

  • July 6: Inwood, Manhattan
  • July 13: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
  • August 3: Inwood, Manhattan
  • August 10: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
The Grainstand & Guests pop-up schedule through August is now available.

Pre-ordered bulk bags are available at GrowNYC's Union Square Greenmarket every Wednesday and Saturday, and 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
Freek(eh) out! Finally, a Freekeh Update!
An interview with Peter Martens of Martens Farm/ Lakeview Organic Grain
As you may have noticed, sourcing freekeh at the Grainstand in the last couple of years has been tricky. We sat down with Peter Martens of Martens Farm/ Lakeview Organic Grain to talk more about this illustrious, sought after grain.

Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens began growing spelt as a rotational crop, and their son Peter presumes that the freekeh experiment came about from a growing demand from restaurants. They took the harvested spelt and ran it through a soybean roaster. "And it worked," Peter says with a laugh.

Processing Freekeh
Producing freekeh is time and labor intensive. "The most labor intensive grain we grow," says Peter. They start with "20 tons of raw material (spelt), roast it at around 650 degrees, and steep it for 3-4 hours to make sure the heat reaches all the way to the center of the grain. The then 15 tons of roasted material goes through a de-huller and is eventually cleaned, to produce 6-7 tons of freekeh for sale.The whole thing takes about 12 hours and 2-3 people." This, Peter explains, is why freekeh tends to be at a higher price point than some of the other ancient grains.

Where has it been?
Peter describes the harrowing storage issues they dealt with while using a third party. All in all, they lost more than two years worth of freekeh due to pest problems caused by improper storage. However, resilience is the prevailing theme at Martens Farm, and they have learned from the disaster and have since built a temperature and humidity controlled warehouse so they are able to store all of their own grain on site in food grade conditions. They have also put in a grain cleaning facility to clean any impurities out of the harvests. This allows them to do everything themselves, and "takes all of the quality control back in house."

Resilience on Martens Farm
Regarding the loss they experienced during a devastating fire on the farm in 2017, or any loss at all, Peter reiterates Klaas's truism, "It doesn't matter what happens, it's how you react to it." That resilience and adaptability has been the common thread for Martens Farm. From transitioning to organic two decades ago to rebuilding after a devastating fire, it is clear that we can continue to expect new and groundbreaking work being done over in Penn Yan, NY. Now that the grain cleaning equipment and warehouse storage are up and running, look for freekeh at the Grainstand soon!
June Features: Barley

About Barley:

Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains on earth, dating back at least 10-12,000 years in the northern plains of Pakistan and India.

Due to its high genetic diversity, it is also grown in more varied climates than any other cereal, from the Great Plains of North America to the Arctic Circle and the tropics. Once varieties are adapted to a particular growing region, they really thrive.

Barley has to be de-hulled to be food grade (the hull is inedible). However, there are some varieties of barley that have been bred to be hulless, making it easier to process by removing the de-hulling step and allowing the grain to keep its full bran intact. More on that below...
Naked Barley in the Works
GrowNYC Grains is in our second year of a three-year USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant with Oregon State University and Cornell University (and project partners) to identify and market hull-less (a.k.a. naked) barley varieties for Northeast grain systems.

For hull-less barley, the hull falls free of the grain during harvest so that it is ready to eat without being de-hulled. All of the bran remains intact, producing a true whole grain.

The Grainstand currently carries pearled black barley from Maine Grains that is soft and delicious with a citrus flavor.

Look out for Buck, one of these hull-less varieties from Cornell which will be back at the Grainstand soon!

Go to for updates on the grant project.
Recipe of the Month-
Pearled Black Barley, Fennel, and Radish Salad
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
  • 2 cups pearled black barley, rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 10 ounces), 2 tablespoons fronds set aside, bulb cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus 1/2 cup dills prigs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 4 large radishes, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted, halved lengthwise

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place barley in a medium pot and add water to cover by 1 1/2 inches. Season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until barley is tender and water is absorbed, 20-25 minutes. Spread out barley on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool.
  2. While barley is cooking, toss fennel slices and 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread fennel slices out in a single layer on another rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fennel is crisp-tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 18 minutes. Let fennel cool on baking sheet.
  3. Whisk orange juice, lime juice, shallot, 2 Tbsp. dill, and zest in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/2 cup oil; season orange vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer barley to a large bowl; add roasted fennel, along with any accumulated juices on baking sheet. Add half of radishes, olives, and 1/4 cup dill sprigs. Drizzle 1/2 cup orange vinaigrette over and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Arrange salad on a large platter.
  5. Scatter remaining radishes, reserved fennel fronds, and remaining 1/4 cup dill sprigs over salad. Pass remaining orange vinaigrette alongside for drizzling over.

Photo from Maine Grains
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