Find New York’s Best Local Flavors at Fulton Stall Market
Phrases like “local” and “seasonal” are thrown into almost every menu these days but, for decades, farmers markets have embodied the true essence of the words, bringing fresh produce into city communities across the country.
Here in the Seaport District, Fulton Stall Market is in its fifth year, and the Sunday Outdoor Market is in full swing for the season at Pier 17 Square. Fulton Stall Market also brings fresh, local, seasonal goodness to the neighborhood every day of the week, via its Indoor Market and community activities including family cooking classes, a school program for students to meet local farmers, and workshops for small-business and minority entrepreneurs.
We spoke to Public Market Advisor Bob Lewis—who has been a pivotal force in the local food movement for more than 40 years—about what Fulton Stall Market brings to the Seaport District’s residents, workers and visitors.
First of all, what does “local” mean here in New York City?
For us, local means New York or adjacent states. Ohio is not local and Maine is not local, but New York state is local. We’re in it. New Jersey is local. Pennsylvania is just across the Delaware River, less than a hundred miles—that’s local. Connecticut—local. Massachusetts and Vermont are adjacent to New York. They’re local, too. The products that are in the Fulton Stall Market store are from those states, primarily New York state.
Why do we need farmers markets?
Markets are designed for the community— so the city has a secure source of healthy, fresh food. They’re for kids and families; they’re places to meet. That’s what civilization is about. When you go back to Greek democracy, it was built around markets. It’s important that we sustain small-scale farmers for many reasons—they produce remarkably good food that is picked at the peak of freshness. A small-scale farmer using organic or sustainable methods not far from the city is guaranteeing us with the highest quality, most flavorful food. And isn’t that what eating food is all about—flavor?
What’s new at the Outdoor Sunday Market this year?
The Sunday market is about people meeting the smaller producers. Our regulars include Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, Knoll Krest Farm, and Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider, just to name a few. We’ll also have several tasting events throughout the year, including the Ithaca Craft Beverage Festival on June 9, which will showcase the cider and artisanal food makers from Ithaca, New York. And on September 29, we’ll have Applepalooza!, with apples, cider-donuts, hard cider tastings and apple picking orchard information. There’s an agri-tourism component to what we do—educating New Yorkers about taking trips to the country to visit these farmers.
What products can we find in the Indoor Market on South Street?
The indoor farmers market has products from about a hundred farmers and producers that are all on consignment — everything from fresh basil to maple syrup and honey to meats and fish. It also offers prepared foods and snack items that are made in New York City by small-scale entrepreneurs, a lot of them women-owned businesses. Essentially, it’s a store with a sandwich and soup bar, where the sandwiches and the soups that you get are all made from products that are in the store. We have stews made from meats that are for sale here, vegan baked goods, salads from local veggies, sandwiches made with locally baked bread.
What are some quintessential New York items available at Fulton Stall Market?
Well, New York is the Big Apple, and we have fantastic apples—as well as baked goods made from those apples. We have award-winning New York hard apple cider from the Hudson Valley. We have cheeses here from New York and Vermont. And we have a great maple industry. Our grab-and-go menu always has local specialties. For example, today, there’s a beef chili made from New York state beef. We have white beans and fresh spinach from Rogowski Farm that’s just coming out of the fields now.
You also have a CSA Farm Share program How does that work?
Locals can sign up for a weekly share of vegetables and/or meats, poultry and fish—and they pick them up every Thursday night here at Fulton Stall Market. The shares include things like Hudson Valley spring vegetables, Catskills poultry and meats, Vermont cheese and Pennsylvania mushrooms. What you get rotates from week to week. If it’s seafood, it’s what’s on the boat. People do it because they want to support the local farmers, they like the community aspect of it and they like getting whatever is fresh that week. It’s an adventure in seasonality.
Visit Fulton Stall Market seven days a week at 91 South St., bet. Fulton & John Sts., from 11:30 am to 6:00. The Sunday Outdoor Market is held at Pier 17 Square every Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, April through November. For more information on the Fulton Stall Market CSA Farm Share and community workshops, visit http://fultonstallmarket.org.