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GAP farmer's market

Ok...it's been a while since i've been to the farmer's market ... tend to shop at co-op/fairway/etc. i went today on a gloriously sunny saturday morning and was dismayed to find out that there are very few resources for organic fruits and veggies there. if you really want to buy overwhelmingly organic produce, it would be pretty difficult there. in fact, i don't think i saw a single organic apple around (may have missed something but i thought i looked at everything.)
i did decide, however, to take a chance on a depaulo's (sp?) turkey for this year's tgiving. people on this board said it's good and i'm hoping it's a notch up from a murray's turkey (which i can get at staubitz and/or union market.) the farmer's market turkey is pricing at $2.20/lb while union says that they are selling the murray's turkeys for $1.79lb.
i took a flyer on the pork guy and had a long talk with him then took 4 pork chops but was stunned to find out it was almost $20! eek. i did buy them and man, they better be really good. but i think that may be a bit too dear for the future.
lastly, i did love the fish people. really fresh fish and good prices.

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  1. Where exactly is the GAP farmers market???

    1. At Grand Army Plaza (Park Slope, Brooklyn)

      1. I hear you on the price of porkchops, Redgirl. I find now that I'm a pickier shopper, trying to stick to organically/sustainably/whatever raised meats, I can only afford a fraction of what meat I used to buy. I think economics is helping me eat healthier in a way! The "specialness" of it also serves as a reminder that the consumption of flesh is (literally!) a sacrifice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: The Engineer

          i agree and since we started buying about 70% organic we've really been observant about what we can buy/eat. less meat..or sometimes organic turkey meat sauce over a pork loin since it's less expensive. nothing most people don't deal with on a daily basis but buying organic is expensive.
          i noticed (sorry to go sideways here) that in the beginning, fairway put murray's chickens on special price but not for over 6 weeks now (i check weekly.) a sort of 'lure you in' but then no more specials. wahh. we just bought a freezer with the idea that i'll troll the specials for organic (or, like murray's - essentially organic) and then buy a few portions of it for the freezer. i do this at union market. this month (drives me nuts that they don't have weekly specials) is natural bone-in leg-of-lamb and i went and got a beautiful one that is now extremely frozen and waiting for a special dinner in the winter.

        2. Everything I've had from the fish stand and the pork stand and the organic egg stand at GAP has been great . . . smoked organic ham hocks, about $3-$4, are a million times better than supermarket ones. Bet your pork chops will be worth it too.

          That's interesting about the general lack of organics tho - I go to the Coop so I hadn't noticed so much. At the Coop our local apples are "minimally treated" - the same might be true for some of the GAP farmers. Maybe it's not worth the certification process.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pitu

            "Maybe not worth the certification process"... excellent point, pitu. That's why its great to buy at places like GAP farmers market, where you can find out from the source how the stuff was grown.

            I'll take a "minimally treated" apple from a farm I can visit or a farmer I know over a bag of certified organic spinach any day!

          2. FWIW The Organinic section at FAIRWAY gets larger every week.

            1. which pork guy did you go to, flying pigs or ray (the guy with the organic produce, eggs, chickens, and pork)? ray's pork chops are very expensive, but they are also the best pork chops i have had in years and years. worth the money, but certainly not something i can afford to do every day.

              Haven't tried flying pigs, so can't comment on theirs.

              2 Replies
              1. re: missmasala

                yes, it was ray. we're saving them for a special dinner!

                1. re: missmasala

                  Flying Pigs for the gorgeous smocked hocks
                  I haven't tried the other guy.

                  cheers Engineer : )

                2. I love the fish at the Farmer's market. If you are looking for a great turkey thou.. the CO-OP is having Heritage Turkeys this year, I had one 2 years ago, and its amazing. As to Organic, the Evoloution Organics lady is Fantastic,,As for Apples, even the coop cant seem to get their hands on them either in any great numbers

                  1. Ray Bradley (Bradley Farms) is terrific and all of his produce is VERY naturally raised (I don't know if he's certified organic or not but as I understand it some of the Federal regs make it very hard for small farmers to get the certification even if their practices are more earth-friendly than things that some of the bigger operations, e.g. Earthbound, do. Ray is absolutely one of the good guys).

                    Evolutionary Organics tends to have a pretty big selection and their stuff is great as well.

                    I don't know if they're there every weekend but Flying Pigs pork is a revelation and yes, it's considerably more expensive than the average but their meat has raised pork to the top of my favorite-meats list (former ranking was top-to-bottom: lamb, duck, beef, chicken...pork wasn't even on there). The thing about it is you have to eat the fat, which is hard to fathom at first but I now do not trim the pork chops at all, cook them to a pinky medium rare and make sure I get a morsel of fat with every bite - they feed the pigs a highly varied diet and the fat seems to store the flavors. Just try it. Trimming those chops of their fat is a crime. And once you start eating the fat instead of throwing it away, the per-chop price feels lower. Mike and Jen are also very interested in humane husbandry and preserving rare breeds, which is a nice bonus on top of their sublime meats. I haven't tried their lamb yet, but their chickens are also top-notch.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: GDSwamp

                      My experience with the Farmers Market vendors is that they are under huge pressure from their clientele (us) to use minimal pesticides and that is what they do. An organic certification is not going to be cost-effective for small farmers like these who generally only sell person to person rather than into wholesale channels.

                    2. Flying Pigs is not organic at all. The meat is exquisite, but generally the Farmer's Markets around the City are simply local farmers with no middle wholesalers, not organic.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BMartin

                        I think that's a gross overstatement. Flying Pigs is not Federally Certified Organic. I won't claim to know their exact policies about use of chemical fertilizers,etc. but would refer anyone interested to their website (www.flyingpigsfarm.com) where they write in some (not exhaustive) detail about the pigs' diet ("Our pigs eat grains, vegetables and fruits. The pigs also snack on grass and other plants that grow on the land...."), their use of antibiotics (only for ill animals, no sub-therapeutic dosing), free-range practices, etc. I went to their annual farm-party a few years ago and poked around extensively - they're not hiding any chemical silos.

                        Related to what I wrote in my earlier post and what jen kalb wrote above, the organic-foods movement has been around a lot longer than federal certification, and a lot of the longtime players in that movement had far less influence on the codification of federal organic standards than did big growers. Federal Certification is a useful thing, but it is not the last or only word on what is or is not - in the long-standing sense of the term - "organic." If the OP is interested in meat that is humanely raised with minimal use of chemicals and maximum care for the health of the pigs and the farm environment, I don't think (s)he could do better than Flying Pigs.

                      2. For the record, apples are extremely difficult to grow organically so unless you want apples with worms in them, you have to buy regular apples locally. Local farmers don't really know how the big growers in Washington manage to produce large harvests of organic apples but it generally isn't worth the trouble for them. That being said, I challenge you to try a regular apple from a local vendor and compare it to an organic apple from Washington state and I'll pretty much guarantee the local apple is sweeter and tastier.

                        Also, fwiw, organic farming doesn't mean no pesticides, it just means they use natural pesticides. It is not really well understood if organic pesticides are really safer to consume than chemical pesticides. I have a friend that works on an organic farm in Vermont and he says when they spray the organic pesticides it practically starts raining dead insects. I think local should almost always trump organic. (If you can get both, that's all the better.)

                        1. I'm curious, why is it especially difficult to grow apples organically? I agree that local apples are always superior to West coast apples shipped here.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: laguera

                            My neighbor does it, he has two multi-variety apple trees. He uses a wax-based "wash" to keep the bugs and worms away. The problem is that you have to be religious about total coverage, and you can't miss an application (weekly I think,) or all your work is for nothing.

                            1. re: laguera

                              This article from the Times a few months ago explains why one farmer had difficulty growing apples organically. I have no doubt that it is managable if you only have a few trees like the poster above describes, but I think it is extremely difficult to manage a grove of hundreds of trees and probably not worth the extra cost to the farmer.

                              http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/27/opi...

                            2. The farmers market is not just about organic food or about lower cost food. I always shopped at the farmers market because I like to know where my food comes from. Keeping my food purchases as local as possible. The ability to talk with a farmer or his/her respresentative about the food. Knowing how old the pig/goat/lamb was when slaughtered. Maybe even seeing a photo of what we are going to eat. Not just seeing a nice apple in the store - but being able to talk to the farmer about how the season is going, if the crop is going to be large vs. small, etc....

                              Wasn't it large agro-organic spinach that part of the recall last month? We never stopped eating spinach - we got to see where it came from and knew it was safe.

                              1. I support an effort to eat organically. But if you have the choice of minimally-treated local produce, or organic produce that has been flown in (think jet fuel) from Chile, local food has less impact on the environment. Plus it's great to support local farmers and eat food that's been grown close by.

                                Of course, you may be able to tell that I am a disciple of local eating after having read The Omnivore's Dilemma, and who can resist the fun of a farmer's market?!

                                Join a CSA!!!

                                1. Here's a good reason to buy at the Farmer's Market: The stuff tastes really really really really good. If you need proof, try a food you think you know, like broccoli.