"The chevre was saltier and firmer than your typical log from the grocery store, perhaps because the cheesemaker hand-ladles each chunk, so the curd remains well unified."
Only a block long, with some unfortunate scaffolding hiding the stands, the Carroll Gardens farmers' market is more of a neighborhood than a destination spot on Sundays. That means the farmers have time to chat with the customers, and shoppers can stop and smell the roses, strawberries, and arugula, without being trampled by swarms of locavores.
New to the market this year are DiPaolo's Turkey, Madura Mushrooms, and a rotating wine stand, which will house a different vendor each week. Last Sunday, it was Alie Shaper's Brooklyn Oenology, a Greenpoint-based winery that uses exclusively Long Island grapes. Former aerospace engineer Shaper started the company in 2006, and she currently makes six labels, including a Chardonnay served at the Four Seasons Restaurant and a Merlot served at Gramercy Tavern. The intensely local company also features work by Brooklyn artists on each peel-off label--good news if, like this reporter, you collect stickers in addition to vintages.
There were also some familiar faces, including Consider Bardwell Farm of Vermont and good ol' Milk Thistle, an organic dairy farm based in Ghent, New York. One of the "best American artisan cheese" makers according to our Serious Cheese columnist Jamie Forrest, Consider Bardwell makes both cow and goat's milk cheese. The fresh goat cheese is just back in season--unlike cows, goats don't naturally lactate in the winter. The chevre was saltier and firmer than your typical log from the grocery store, perhaps because the cheesemaker hand-ladles each chunk, so the curd remains well unified.
Rogowski Farms occupies the coveted corner spot, and has been a Greenmarket staple for years. A shiny green crate of garlic scapes gleamed from the stand, which the vendor recommended using to make pesto or in a broccoli and quinoa salad.
The scape is the firm, green sprout atop the bulb, and is also delicious sautéed with a bit of butter, salt, and red wine. Farmer Cheryl Rogowski has been a pioneer in various agricultural movements, and the farm's dried beans are the fruits of her work with migrant laborers. Processing the beans in the winter gives them consistent, year-round employment.
Finally, there's Fishkill Farms, a transitioning organic orchard with vegetables, chickens, stone fruits, and berries where this reporter lives and works. Disclaimer: I might be a little biased, but they have some of the world's most delicious eggs and greens this time of year. Spring through fall, the chickens are kept on fresh pasture, eating bugs and grass all day, so the yolks are a deep, rich orange. The mustard greens, tat soi, and arugula are crispy, peppery, and more flavorful than any salad dressing. And the staff very much wants all readers to join them for their re-opening event this Saturday, which will feature children's nature activities, local food samples, and live fiddlers.
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
On Carroll Street between Smith and Court Street, Brooklyn NY 11231 (map) Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.