Weekly Greenmarket Preview: Bon Voyage to Summer

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and that means one thing and one thing only (if you’re particularly fixated on fresh produce, at least): the NYBG Greenmarket! From what the calendar tells me, we’re looking at the last official summer Greenmarket before we move on toward autumn’s bushels and baskets–spicy apple cider and the like–so you might want to think about hoofing it up here while we’re still savoring the flip-flop weather. It’s been pleasantly cool out until now, but some trees are already coloring for fall; it’s going to be scarves and pea coats before you can say “fare thee well peaches.”

Last week’s tasty loot came in the form of apple-cranberry pies, concord grapes, San Marzano tomatoes, jalapenos, bosc pears, and so much more. But along with the fruits, vegetables, and baked goods, I noticed something else: the Greenmarket staffers work really hard. They’re out there each week, trucking away to keep market events moving smoothly, and striving to get the word out to New Yorkers in all the boroughs. Beyond that, they’re holding events within events, like last week’s cooking demonstration. I’m only disappointed that I missed out on the omelettes!

By coming to the Greenmarket, you’re not only supporting your health and an admirable dinner spread, but the farmers and market staff that make all of this possible. Not that you have to be here by tomorrow; the NYBG Greenmarket will stick around on Wednesdays through November 21. In the meantime, below is a recipe tossing together some of the ingredients we’ve been seeing lately, including escarole, fresh beans, and those ripe San Marzano tomatoes.

Weekly Walking Club – Meets every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. by the NYBG information table

Join Public Education staff for an invigorating 1.5 mile loop around the Garden. Wear your walking shoes and bring a bottle of water for a walk that makes a great part of a healthy lifestyle.

Blood Pressure Screenings and Health Education – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Montefiore Office of Community Health and Wellness staff provide free blood pressure screenings and advice on healthy habits for staying well.

Fitness and the Food Plate – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

St. Barnabas Hospital health educators focus on fitness and the food plate; free blood pressure and body mass index screenings are also offered.

Escarole with Cannellini Beans
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce Dennis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008)

Ingredients (serves 6 to 8)

1 lb. dried cannellini beans or Great Northern beans
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 yellow onions, quartered
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, 4 left whole, 4 minced
2 fresh sage sprigs
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 oz. pancetta or unsmoked bacon, chopped (optional)
2 heads escarole, about 2 lb. total, cut crosswise into strips 2 inches wide
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Rinse beans under cold running water, place in large bowl, cover with cold water by at least 2 inches and let stand overnight.
  2. For a quick soak, put beans in a large pot, add water to cover by at least 2 inches and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, combine beans, broth, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add cold water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches. Add onions, carrots, whole garlic cloves and sage. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, partially cover and simmer gently until the beans are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove onions, garlic cloves and sage and discard.
  4. About 30 minutes before the beans are done, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Add minced garlic, red pepper flakes and pancetta, sauté until fragrant–about 30 seconds. Add the escarole and sauté until leaves begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until leaves have softened and mixture is reduced to about one-third, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. When beans are done, add escarole mixture and stir, breaking up some of the beans with the back of the spoon to thicken the mixture. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with remaining olive oil as condiment. Serves 6 to 8.

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on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 at 4:27 pm and is filed under Programs and Events.
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Weekly Greenmarket Preview: Plum Delicious

Don’t fold up your handkerchief just yet! You’re going to need something to keep your hands dry this Wednesday, because August may still be National Peach Month, but the fuzzy fruit’s friends–the juiciest plums and pears–are sliding right into their summer harvests. That means Bartletts, Seckels, and more Italian plums than you can stuff in your reusable bag, all waiting to make the trip from this week’s Greenmarket stalls to your own personal dining room still life. You do have a fruit bowl at home, right?

Whether it’s that first, tangy-sweet bite of a plum you’re craving, or an afternoon spent snacking on pear slices in the last of the hammock weather, you’ll find ripe fruits, vegetables, baked goods and more stacked high for Wednesday’s NYBG Greenmarket. It runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and as always, parking and Garden grounds admission are completely free. As with many of the greenmarkets around NYC, attending growers also accept EBT, WIC, FNMP and NYC Health Bucks.

The weather’s been all kinds of forgiving over the past few days (whether it’s an early teaser for fall, or a complete fluke, I’m not complaining), so make a point of coming out to do your shopping while it’s comfortable! In the meantime, head below for a touch of kitchen inspiration that’ll turn these summer picnic handfruits into unmissable culinary creations.

Weekly Walking Club – Meets every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. by the NYBG information table.

Join Public Education staff for an invigorating 1.5 mile loop around the Garden. Wear your walking shoes and bring a bottle of water for a walk that makes a great part of a healthy lifestyle.


Tawny Port and Pear Butter

By Leda Meredith, NYBG instructor and author of The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget

Ingredients (yields 2 half-pint jars)
2 lbs. ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped into approximately 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup tawny port
1/3 cup honey
Juice and grated zest of one lemon


  1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 4-5 hours, until pears are soft.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a blender. Puree, adding just enough of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker to get a thick, spreadable consistency.
  3. Transfer to clean half- or quarter-pint canning jars, leaving half-inch head space. Screw on 2-piece canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Chilled Red Plum Soup

From the Viking Culinary Center

Ingredients (serves 8)
2 1/2 pounds red plums, pitted and chopped
1 quart apple juice
Spice sachet, with 1 large slice fresh ginger, 1 whole allspice berry, and 1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup honey
Fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons almonds, slivered and toasted


  1. Combine plums, apple juice, sachet, and honey in a soup pot over medium heat. Bring to simmer and cook until plums are tender; about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the sachet.
  2. Puree soup until very smooth. Season to taste with lemon juice, then return the soup to the pot.
  3. Place the pot in an ice bath and stir occasionally until cool, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator for another 2 to 3 hours to chill.
  4. Serve in chilled bowls, with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of almonds.

This entry was posted
on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 1:41 pm and is filed under Around the Garden, Programs and Events.
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Farmers Sue for Roundup Poisonings

A group of farmers from Argentina have sued Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, for “knowingly” allowing them to be poisoned while using the weed killer and other pesticides.

Citing “devastating birth defects,” the lawsuit filed in a Delaware court also names significant players in the tobacco industry, including the Altria Group, Philip Morris Cos., Philip Morris USA, Carolina Leaf Tobacco, and the Universal Corporation.

“Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers . . . lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup,” the complaint states.

“What is more, at all relevant times Tabacos Norte, the Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants did not recommend protective measures to farmers and their families in Misiones. In fact, aforementioned defendants actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides.

“At all relevant times, defendants were on direct and explicit notice that fruits, vegetables and farm animals designated for family consumption would be contaminated with pesticides including Roundup if contract farmers followed the defendants’ aggressive chemical application specifications for tobacco cultivation.”

For additional details, click here: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/10/45469.htm

This case in Delaware comes on the heels of a February decision by a French court that found Monsanto guilty of poisoning a farmer with a weed killer known as alachlor: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/monsanto-guilty-paul-francois_n_1274326.html

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