New York: New Amsterdam Market

As you read this, Mr. Oyster and I are in Italy, and I’m having no fun whatsoever.  It’s just research, research research, struggling to come up with ideas to write about (just kidding).  In the meantime, Christine from Fresh Local Best, a very talented writer and photographer (as evidenced here) graciously and generously offered to write something about what makes New York special.  She elected to feature the New Amsterdam Market in New York.  If you have not checked out Christine’s blog, I encourage you to do so.  She is a true bi-coastal person having lived in San Francisco but now spends most of her time in New York City.  She still manages to get back to San Francisco and get some research in.  I had a virtual vacation with her earlier this year on her truffle adventure across parts of France, and let me tell you it was amazing.

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These things often start in abandoned parking lots. Hard working people congregate early in the morning with packs of wooden crates, unhinging them with crow bars. Fold-out tables are set up to offer the real prize, fresh farm grown produce, and pretty soon it becomes an exchange. And what was formerly an empty parking lot over time becomes a lively center of commerce.

Hello, my name is Christine and I am the blogger behind Fresh Local, and Best, which is a blog focused on farmer’s markets. In New York City alone there at least 28 farmer’s markets, scattered across our small dense urban island. Some range from minute gatherings of as little as four stalls to the biggest one, the Union Square Farmer’s Market, which is held four times a week all year round. One particular market that has garnered impressive support and enthusiasm is the New Amsterdam Market. The market holds its weekly gathering under the FDR freeway on the parking lot of the original Fulton Fish Market in the South Sea Port and in one of the oldest neighborhoods of the nation

If you’ve ever visited Borough Market in London, New Amsterdam holds a strong resemblance in style. Local vendors sell their bounty of artisan products in a bare surrounding, bringing together a good balance of prepared foods, fresh meats and produce, which is in contrast to the Union Square Farmer’s Market where fresh produce is the primary focus.

And the prepared foods can be amazing! Some of the busiest local restaurants in New York sell their signature dishes out of narrow stalls, providing visitors with some of the best bites of Manhattan. From succulent lobster rolls by Luke’s Lobster to slow-roasted tender porchetta sandwiches from Porchetta, and shredded braised beef sandwiches with crème fraîche on brioche from Jimmy’s No.43, it’s a sure bet that you’ll find something that will suit your mood.

Local artisan products are the highlight of the market. Every week there are unique high-quality items made by passionate food creators such as kimchi by Mother’s-In-Law Kimchi, naturally fermented pickled vegetables by Rick’s Pick, a variety of chocolate bars from Mast Brother’s Chocolates and fruit-packed popsicles made from locally grown produce from People’s Pop.

There are also plenty of novel items such as chocolate covered bacon and beet chips from up and coming foodie entrepreneurs. And if you are still not enticed by the aforementioned, there are plenty of locally made cheeses from New York and New Jersey farms and fresh baked breads from Nordic Breads and Sullivan Street Bakery.

In the produce section, in addition to featuring seasonal produce, one of the more exotic vendors of the bunch includes the Wild Food Gatherer’s Guild that collects interesting and colorful wild mushrooms varieties, such as Hen of the Woods and Chicken of the Woods, Lobster mushrooms, and Yellow Foot Chanterelles. Although the guild does not make it every week, each offering at the market offers plenty of intrigue.

Now for Some History about Apples on the East Coast

As we head further into autumn the markets are priming for apple season, a time when many East coasters get excited about the prospects of apple-picking at local farms, a tradition which is a deeply embedded here. Although a visit to the farmer’s market more than makes up with abundant variety for those who can’t leave the city offering.

With all of those apples, everyone gets very busy churning out sauces and the oh-so-cherished apple pies. Apple pie is a well-integrated part of New England history and culture. In fact, during the turn of 19th and 20th century, apple pie became the symbol of American prosperity, leading to the birth of several expressions, “American as apple pie,” and “Upper crust.” If you’re confused by how the latter expression “Upper crust” came about, in early America, lard and flour were expensive and often reserved to make only a bottom crust. The more affluent families could afford to add a top layer over the pie, so those families became known as “the upper crust.”

The sheer breadth of apple varieties makes this season an interesting experience. Some of the popular apple varieties in New York that I’ve had an opportunity to try are:

Braeburn: Crisp light texture, juicy sweet and tangy with yellow flesh. This variety is great for sauces.

Cameo: This is an interesting bright red striped apple that has a creamy yellow orange flesh. Cameos are sweet, tart and crispy.

Honeycrisp: One of the crispest apple varieties on the market, dense and firm in texture, sweet with a hint of tartness; yellow flesh. This is a great snacking variety and is my favorite.

Macoun: This apple has a beautiful glossy red skin that sometimes is splashed against a bright lime green color. Macouns are a cross breed between the McIntosh and Jersey black varieties. Crisp, juicy lighter in density and sweet with snow white flesh, this is one of the most popular eating apples.

Paula Red: This variety is tart, juicy with a crisp light flesh. This is a good eating variety.

Red Rome: This is perhaps the most beautiful apples for their deep crimson red skin. Red Rome is a mildly tart variety with tender white flesh. This is variety is great for baking.

This year, like many of the previous years, will be another good apple harvest. We’ll be looking forward to all the wonderful apple creations this fall. Thanks for coming along with me to the New Amsterdam Farmer’s Market, and learning a bit about the local food out here in New York.

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28 comments for “New York: New Amsterdam Market

  1. October 16, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Thank you LouAnn for your kinds words. It is an honor to be able to guest post on Oyster Culture.

  2. October 16, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Love all the apples mentioned but do not know cameo… must search it out. (And honeycrisp is beloved here of course because it was developed at the U of MN).

  3. EL
    October 16, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    This is a wonderful post! I love the fall colors and the market looks incredibly vibrant. It’s interesting to know how the “upper crust” came into being. I had no idea the term was pie-related. As an aside, I have a sore throat right now and that popsicle looks especially good. Beautiful article. Well-written and gorgeous photos.

  4. October 17, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    i hope you still have some fun in Italy because it is worth it !!! Ciao !!pierre

  5. sepideh
    October 17, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    woman – how come you’re not having fun?? would you like me to join you there 😉

  6. October 17, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    This is a great guest post. The picture of the chanterelles really put me over the edge. I love them and they are so big. Thanks for sharing although I’ll be anxious to see what LouAnn has to say about all of her er, research.

  7. October 18, 2010 at 6:22 AM

    Oh my gosh! You’re in Italy and what a guest post this is! Can’t wait for your posts when you come back!

  8. October 18, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    I saw the post in Christine’s blog!!!This is a wonderful place….! Have a great trip :0

  9. October 18, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Wow Italy! Have fun. Lovely guest post and I am drooling over all the variety of apples that never make it to our shores.

  10. October 18, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Great guest post Christine and lovely photos :)
    LouAnn, I hope you find the time to have some fun and relax…could help with inspiration, just sayin’ :)

  11. October 19, 2010 at 3:21 AM

    Hey Louann, I was thinking you might be in Italy right now! We are headed to Rome and Campania in November. We will have to swap stories and I would love some tips of little gems you found!

    Great post. Makes me nostalgic for NYC.

  12. October 19, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Sounds like a fabulous market! I’m loving all the apples that are suddenly available right now. Braeburns might be my favorite.

  13. October 19, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    love Christines blog and her Farmers market posts are the best

  14. October 20, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    Great pictures Christine and delicious food, what else you can ask?
    Hope you’ll have a useful trip there and at least some fun.

    Cheers,

    Gera

  15. October 20, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Enjoy your time in Italy…the pictures are awesome! Never seen macoun, red rome and paula red apples…must look for them :-)

  16. October 20, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    First let me say those chanterelles made me stop in my tracks. Then let me commend you on a through and well researched and well written post. Exactly the sort of thing I come here for. GREG

  17. October 21, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    What a great guest post!! I loved reading this,..so informative & so many lovely pics too!

  18. October 21, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    This is just like another LouAnn’s post! Very informative and I enjoyed learning about apples! Great job, Christine! :)

  19. October 22, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    Lovely guest post and photos. It makes me very happy that tomorrow is Saturday – farmers’ markets galore!

    Best of luck with all that difficult research.

  20. October 23, 2010 at 6:41 AM

    Christine always has such compelling posts surrounding her culinary adventures–which can lead anywhere! Thanks to her for leading me to this wonderful site—what an amalgam of global food love and lore. My best, Nancy

  21. October 27, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    great post, I love christine’s blog…so many great apples featured, i will have to keep a look out for Paula Reds

    sweetlife

  22. October 28, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    I am definitely crossing the bridge for this one-particularly excited about the Wild Food Gatherers’ Guild. Wow. Enjoy Italy!

  23. October 28, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    I wish I could just grab those artisan bread out of the screen!

  24. admin
    October 29, 2010 at 6:07 AM

    Christine – Thank you again for your incredible contriubtion. Like everyone else, I want to jump on a plane to NY and same all the bounties that the New Amsterdam market has to offer.

    Claudia – We were introduced to the honeycrisp on a trip back to MN, and all I can say is that you guys have it good!

    Pierre – The trip to Italy was fantastic – more to come, thanks!

    Sepideh – Too much fun is more like it, an incredible trip.

    Ruth – Would love to have connected with you, but we were on a short focused trip outside of your area. Next time to be sure. I would love to chance to meet such an inspiring cook, mother, adventurer =)

    Erica – Thanks much!

    Wizzy – Had a blast!

    Magic – Christine’s post is wonderful and I had a great and inspiring time in Italy.

    Brenda – I’ve got some good tips in progress. Would love to share ideas.

  25. admin
    October 29, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Lisa, I too love to explore the differences in the apple kingdom.

    Rebecca – Agree 100%

    Gera – Christine offered up some great info indeed, and no worries, we had an incredible time.

    Juliana – I’m with you, i want to run to the market and sample these taste treats.

    Sippity – I know those chantrelles looked simply stunning.

    Sophie – It is awesome

    Emiko – =)

    Lynn – I feel someone has to do it =)

    Nancy – Agree!

    Sweetlife – Same here, which was why I was so excited when she offered!

    Claiborne – Lucky you to be so close.

    Angie – me too!

  26. November 3, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Have a wonderful time in Italy and take lots of photos! Great post as always!

  27. November 14, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Wow what a market! I couldn’t stop buying and tasting foods there if I had a chance to go. I love the designs of artisan bread. They look like a piece of art. And I’m sure those apples have a very natural flavor, not like the ones at supermarkets. I would have them as they are. And yes, no need to say that this is a wonderful guest post.

  28. OysterCulture
    November 15, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    Azita- I wish I could claim credit for the stellar quality of this post, but Christine put together this outstanding contribution, after hearing my pleas for help.

    Zerrin – I’m tempted by this market myself, what a treat to try all these tasty goodies, and to buy them from the local purveyors as opposed to the super markets – I completely agree.

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