Friday, June 1, 2012

Sustainable Saturday Friday Edition - Fairway Red Hook

I am posting my Sustainable Saturday post on Friday, to make room for the first post of the Author Blog Challenge on June 2.

Sustainability isn't just about food.  It is also about neighborhoods - urban neighborhoods.

Tourists generally do not visit New York City supermarkets.   In general, it is well that they don't.  They would be so disappointed by the cramped, dirty, and unimaginative markets city residents, too many times, are stuck with.  I wonder why this lack of quality is tolerated by a population that expects, and gets, the best in music, the arts, and other aspects of urban life.

Now, let's consider the former industrial and maritime neighborhood of Brooklyn called Red Hook.  Red Hook has fallen on some mighty hard times, thanks in part to crack cocaine. Since the 1950's, it has lost over half its population.

Slowly but surely, Red Hook is rising from the ruins although many historic buildings remain endangered.  One major success story is the New York City supermarket chain, Fairway, locating one of its stores in Red Hook. (another one is located in Harlem, a neighborhood non-New Yorkers may have heard more about than Red Hook.)

Some might call Fairway "yuppie" (OK, who uses that term anymore? So 1980's) but visit one and you will see a true melting pot of people of many ethnicities, all having a good time.  The Statue of Liberty is visible from Fairway's back patio, adding to the symbolism.

Fairway's Red Hook store is located in a former warehouse built in 1869.  Fairway was a perfect fit for the warehouse, as this supermarket chain is a firm believer (according to their advertising) in sustainable agriculture.

(Front entrance - and yes, there is plenty of parking, by Brooklyn standards.)
The pride of a Fairway market is its Wall of Produce.  Outside the front entrance are, displayed on a wall at a slant, boxes and boxes of produce.  Some (not all) organic.  Fairway tries to use specialty farmers (usually family run) when possible.

(If the prices seemed a little high, I am showing specialty produce - and, it was winter.)
Fairway features a lot of what you might all "New York City Food". (full disclosure, this picture above and the next picture were taken in Fairway's newest store, in Douglaston, Queens.) Here are barrels of loose pickles. The half sours, at the top left, are my personal favorite.

Salmon, sturgeon, sable, smoked it gourmet.  But at the same counter, Fairway sells a direct set cream cheese from a Manhattan company called Ben's, at a reasonable price.  Ben's doesn't even pack its cream cheese into consumer sized containers - the retailer has to do that.    What could be more local in New York City than  Ben's Cream Cheese?.
Another local (well, local to me, here in upstate NY) product sold at Fairway?  This liquid gold.

 More and more, supermarkets are seeking out local producers.  And when the supermarket is combined with an urban renewal project - what can be more sustainable than that?

Have you ever experienced New York City food "off the beaten track"?  Or a New York City farmers market? (Yes, I've done that, too.)

1 comment:

  1. I've only visited NYC twice, briefly. However, I really enjoyed this taste of the city. I would hope some tourists would want to savour local culture. I always tell visitors to Toronto the one place they must see is Kensington Market. Supermarket chains in Canada have not really got the hint about sustainability though. It's sad when Canadian asparagus costs as much or more than Mexican.


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