Volume 76, Number 4 | June 14 - 20 2006

Real Food Markets take root in Greenmarket’s turf

By Janet Kwon

It’s not Green, it’s Real — Real Food Markets, that is. While similar, they’re not quite the same. But what they do share in common is that they provide fresh regional food to New Yorkers.

Two Real Food Markets are sprouting up in two locations — one in the South Village on Sixth Ave. between Bleecker and Houston Sts. and one in Petrosino Square on Lafayette St. between Kenmare and Spring Sts. The markets will run on Saturdays from June 17 to Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Customers can expect approximately seven to eight stalls every market day, featuring meats, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, honey and juices. Everything sold in the markets is regional, coming from the Northeast.

This may sound like an echo of the Greenmarkets that already exist throughout the city, but there are several differences between the two.

The Real Food Markets allow farmer co-ops, where several farmers work together to market and sell their products. Greenmarkets or farmers’ markets, on the other hand, do not allow co-ops to sell in their markets.

“As we understand it, a co-op could easily cross the line into a broker,” said Gabrielle Longholtz, a Greenmarket spokesperson. “If you have brokers, it becomes a similar model to what you have at a grocery store, and we know that our customers really value meeting the person who grows the food.”

Also, Real Food Markets allow purveyors — who sell products that they don’t grow themselves. For example, the regional markets will have dairy purveyors who will sell cheese, milk and other products that they didn’t grow, but bought from a regional farmer, said Nina Planck, who spearheads the Real Food Markets. Planck’s markets will also feature food artisans who make baked goods and pickled items — which the Greenmarkets provide as well.

Planck, who was the director of the Greenmarkets in 2003, said that customers can expect in-season produce, such as strawberries, rhubarbs and green salad leaves on opening day, and possibly plants and flowers as well.

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