R.I.P. Greenpoint Food Market, For Now.

Dear Friends and Fans of Greenpoint Food Market,

We regrettably announce the sad and unfortunate death of Greenpoint Food Market. The tumultuous shitshow of a ride we’ve experienced over the last couple of months have dealt us quite a blow and we marketeers and vendors are working out the kinks to potentially resurrect the market come September.

The most pressing challenge is for all the homemakers to find and pay for a certified kitchen to produce their food. There are  two available rental kitchens in the area and both are none the cheap. Under new participating requirements vendors are not only required to produce from a certified kitchen but would need to be incorporated and insuranced to use the facility. This on top of permits and certificates from the city health dept makes it one knotty intimidating venture, especially considering vendors rarely break even at GFM. It’s really all beside the point. GFM functions first and foremost out of a love and support for folks to share food, foster and cultivate a community, and secondly function as a nesting ground for artisanal food entrepreneurs to strengthen their wings and fly off to a bigger and wider world of opportunities and dreams fulfilled.

In the next couple months we will focus mainly on opening an incubator kitchen in Greenpoint. Right now we are fine tuning budgets, non-profit/for-profit legal structures, location searching, and researching all available resources from small business economic organizations and federal grants and private foundations and whathaveyou. If you are reading this and can lend a hand in any shape or form, we’ll hold it and kiss it and appreciate it. The next couple months will also give vendors time to inquire within and make some serious decisions as to whether or not their foodventure is worth making legit and if it’ll really take them somewhere. It’s a serious risk but what the hell is the point of living if you don’t take some risks eh?!

So without further ado, Greenpoint Food Market thanks ALL vendors and ALL friends and ALL fans for all the love and support you’ve shown us so far. We hope to get all our shit together very soon and rise from the dead stronger, healthier, tastier, and just plain kickass.

Think Tank Potluck Recap

Dear Beloved Fans of GFM,

We hope you are staying cool and tanned in this ridiculously heated weather!

We’d like send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended THINK TANK POTLUCK on June 26th. It was a house full of curious and inquisitive supporters from unlicensed vendors to GFM enthusiasts, food businesses to economic development organizations. Many topics were covered, including going over existing regulations and the possibilities of making amendments as well as the most pressing issue of opening an incubator kitchen for vendors to produce their goods. The fact alone that we were able to bring the NYC Dept of Health, NYS Agriculture & Markets, Council Member Steve Levin and other panelists together in one room alongside the mass of vendors was groundbreaking and we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to initiate conversation. There were no clear solutions to challenges that all small batch food producers face and it’s only the beginning of a long bumpy ride towards amending policies, opening an incubator kitchen, and doing all we can to provide necessary resources for small food businesses to start and flourish.

The most pressing issue discussed at the conference was the requirement that all food produced and sold be made in a certified commercial kitchen. This creates a major challenge as majority of the vendors at GFM are first time sellers and the market functions as a testing ground, sharing products with the community and receiving feedback in order to determine whether or not the vendors have a viable product that they can potentially consider starting a small batch food business with. Considering the majority are neither established nor licensed it is very difficult to find a certified kitchen to rent when insurance, dba, and licenses must be acquired before using the facility. Profit margins in participating at the market come no where near overhead costs, especially considering it is upwards of $200 for a single shift in a rental kitchen.

There are multiple temporary solutions that vendors and the market can go about in order to participate and share their products. Vendors can give away samples and not sell, find others to share a day working in a rental kitchen and split costs, find a local church whose kitchen is up to code and donate funds to produce in there, and collaborate with a restaurant to use their facilities during off hours. One thing vendors are learning is that it certainly isn’t FREE to participate and grow as a business. The most difficult part about GFM itself opening its doors is that a majority of the vendors are not ready to legitimize their product and requiring them to do so kills the market’s mission of supporting locally made, HOMEMADE food products that are shared with the community.

This then comes down to one sad and sobering fact. Although we’ve set a tentative date to open the market July 24th where vendors must follow requirements in order to participate, there is little chance that we’ll have more than a dozen vendors who are willing and able to put up with the overhead costs of producing in a kitchen. We will know better in the next couple days if we can accumulate enough vendors to set up shop this month, if not, GFM will most likely close its doors until further notice.

This goes on to the next fact, which is more promising and not as sad. At the conference we discussed the possibilities of opening a non-profit/for-profit cooperative incubator kitchen here in Greenpoint, a facility that will allow any number of vendors to produce their goods in and pay a low membership fee in exchange for teaching classes and workshops and helping maintain the front of the house daily market. The market will be stocked up with shelf upon shelf, table upon table of goodies produced in house by these vendors who are also more than welcome to produce to sell at other sites. Consumers would also be able pay membership fees to receive discounts on items and classes. This model is a complicated business venture but something that is greatly supported by the city and is very much in need by all the small batch food start ups running rampant throughout Brooklyn alone. With the help of some local funding, federal and foundation grants, and EVERYONE’s unconditional love and support we will be able to open this cooperative kitchen and thrive as a small and cozy community of self-sustaining small businesses.

From here on, there will be much contact behind the scenes and we will provide as much updates as it comes along. As of now, the next GFM is very tentative and we can only pray that vendors get their paperwork together to sell at GFM. If NOT, then we will let the market rest in peace and hibernate until it transmutates into a beautiful new community-supporting medium.

Below are the resource documents we had for vendors which we quickly ran out of.

Mi Kitchen Es Su Kitchen Resource

Creative Marketing Workshops Resource

Greenpoint Food Market Resources

Below is audio recording of the conference in 3 parts for those who missed the potluck. Courtesy Goddamn Cobras.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Also check out our flickr page for more photos, also courtesy Goddamn Cobras.

June 26th: Think Tank Potluck

Dear Greenpoint Food Market Fans,

We hope this finds you well. We have some sober news, the next market which was slated for June 26th has been cancelled. In it’s stead we will present Think Tank Potluck. Here is why:

Since in inception last fall Greenpoint Food Market has been functioning a bit underground, accentuating the neighborly and community based, specially focusing on food that is literally homemade by individuals interested in perfecting their special recipes and sharing it with everyone. A couple weeks ago there was an article in New York Times that put GFM on a much wider map and inevitably, put us on radar with the officials. Since then we have gone back and forth with the city trying to find a solution to how the market can keep its mission while adhering to rules and regulations.

The market will never be the same. It will expand to a much wider audience (we received fan mail from Canada, Brazil, and even Iceland!), all food will now be produced from a certified commercial kitchen and each vendor will be food protection certified and permitted for each participating market. This requires not only time to make visits to city hall every month but money to find a kitchen to make the food. In order to give all our vendors the opportunity to figure out all the paperwork we will host Think Tank Potluck to address the much wider issue all this presents and open it to the public so that everyone might have the opportunity to not only be familiar with the struggles small food businesses are facing but to help us as we make an effort to request changes in legislation and potentially open our very own incubator kitchen.

Please join us June 26th, 1pm at the Church of Messiah as we commence for Think Tank Potluck. It will be an open discussion where vendors can meet the public, questions can be asked, changes can be requested, and food can be shared. We would love to see everyone walk in with a very delicious dish. More than anything, we need EVERYONE’s support and attendance to exemplify how pivotal the food movement is within a failing economy, what business opportunities it offers, and how the lack of resources hinder individuals from pursuing their food dreams. We hope to see you there, hungry and curious. Please do RSVP to greenpointfoodmarket@gmail.com so we have a general headcount.

Topics to discuss include:
- How you know when you’ve got a viable product to start a small food business with.
- How to figure out city codes and regulations.
- How to tap into available commercial kitchen resources.
- What changes need to be made in legislation to make it more accessible to food start ups with high overhead and low profit margins.
- How possible it would be to run a non-profit incubator kitchen funded and supported by local gov that all vendors can use and can host GFM (long term project).

Speakers in the panel include:
- A rep from Dept of Health
- Council member Stephen Levin

- Harry and Taylor of Brooklyn Kitchen

- Rich Awn of Mombucha
- Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance
- Terry Frishman of Creative Marketing Workshops

- Jessamyn Waldman of Hot Bread Kitchen

- Joshua Kace of Slantshack Jerky
- Allison Robicelli of Robicelli’s
- Shamus Jones of Brooklyn Brine
- Danielle Gould of Brooklyn Food Coalition

Thank you for all the love and support you’ve shown Greenpoint Food Market so far. It brings tears to our eyes, seriously.

Please also join our facebook group for more updates and announcements!

Best regards,
Greenpoint Food Market

Vendor Blender: Masala Loca

Happy Monday GFMers!

The week has flown by quickly and ferociously and we’re relieved to soak in the cool and breezy sunshine. We’re getting more and more excited for the upcoming market June 26th which will be themed Summer Heat. Prepare for all things spicy and cool: ice creams and popsicles of all varieties, hotness infused cupcakes and rice balls, and sexy rooftop grown vegetables to impress your tastebuds. Mark your calendar and see you there!

Til then please do welcome Masala Loca!

what is masala loca?

Masala Loca is a mixture of Indian and Mexican food.  We sell Indian tacos:

Masala Loca started as an Indian-Mexican supper club hosted by myself and my good friend Sabra.  This is us after our first one:

We serve a four course meal in Sabra’s dining room in Bed-Stuy.  The dinners usually have about 16 people – that’s all the chairs we have:) and each person pays for their meal and brings a bottle of wine.  Here are some pics from our dinners:

Indian Enchiladas

Curry Tamales

Mexican Papri Chaat

We’re starting to get friends to perform between courses too which is fun and looking to feature others at upcoming dinners.

how did the inspiration for it come about?

I write a cooking blog called the ABCD’s of Cooking (ABCD = American Born Confused Desi) where I share my vegetarian recipes, which are rooted in Indian cooking – mostly what I have learned from my parents, but that incorporate influences and ingredients from living in the US and traveling abroad.

Bringing Indian and Mexican flavors has been on my mind for some time.  Growing up, when my family went out to eat, the most popular choices were either Indian or Mexican (I’m sure other Indian kids know what I mean:) The flavors, ingredients and the heat are reminiscent of each other.

The opportunity to create dishes that mixed the two influences came about when Sabra asked if I’d like to start a supper club with her.  I was really excited because I’ve always admired and enjoyed her cooking and was a big fan of her previous supper club that she ran.  When I suggested we serve Indian-Mexican food, she was all for it.  We’ve had a great time collaborating ever since and our theme makes sense for us as I’m Indian and Sabra is half-Mexican.  Sabra is also very gifted at creating beautiful spaces and our dinners have a really nice cozy feel to them thanks to her aesthetic sense:

where do you source your ingredients?

All over the place really – Indian stores (mostly in Curry Hill), corner stores, farmer’s markets, CSAs.

can you share a recipe?

Of course! For the last market, we had a shahi paneer taco which is Indian cheese in a cashew sauce served with guacamole and a mixture of homemade yogurt and sour cream in a corn tortilla.  We are gonna share the recipe for shahi paneer. This is what homemade paneer looks like:

Shahi Paneer

Ingredients:
1 14oz. package fried paneer (you can also use homemade or fresh and fry it up a bit before putting it in the curry)
3/4 cup cashews
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 onion, grated or chopped fine
1 cup tomato puree or sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 inch piece grated ginger
2 small Indian green chilis, finely chopped
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 cup water
salt and sugar to taste
cilantro for garnishing

Method:
Soak the cashews in milk for about 30 minutes. Blend the cashews and milk until it is smooth.

Heat oil in a pan under medium high heat. Put in the cardamom pods and bay leaf and stir once and then add the onions. Fry the onions until they start to dry out.

Next add the ginger, garlic and chilis and cook for three minutes.

Add the tomato puree/sauce and mix.

When the oil starts to separate out, add coriander powder, turmeric, cumin powder and garam masala. Mix everything up well.

Next add cashew/milk mixture and stir well, making sure there are no lumps.

Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.

Add in the paneer pieces and mix once. (Try not to mix the curry after you have added the paneer because the cheese breaks up easily.) Once the paneer pieces are soft, turn off the heat.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

what do you do when you’re not masala loca-ing?

Chitra – Writing the ABCD’s blog, cooking for friends, traveling to find new recipes and ingredients (Portugal in July!) and coming up, I’ll be preparing food for a Converse for a Cure event. Oh yeah and I love to visit the planetarium and watch way too many episodes of the Golden Girls!

Sabra – Lately I’ve been mostly cooking, using food as art material (absurd inedible food), drawing, writing, making music with friends…I am also a sometimes yoga teacher, love to ride my bike about, and go on adventures as much as possible. My main concern is to remember to play every day!

why the decision to share at GFM?
I was first introduced to GFM by Sabra. I went to visit her there when she was helping her friend Amelia sell Sugarbuilt cookies. I really liked how vendors were offering original and creative foods and that people coming to the market were really open to trying them.  The market has a nice feeling of community and all of the vendors are so friendly.

Also, since Sabra and I are not able to have as many people at our dinners, GFM was a good way for us to share our food with a larger audience.

We were so excited to be at GFM – thanks for having us! xoSabra&Chitra

Vendor Blender: Red Cook

Greetings fans of GFM!

We’re a couple days behind with the Vendor Blender this week, Memorial Day put us in perpetual food coma for a couple days.

We hope you had a chance to check out today’s NY Times, we’re featured in an article AND a video. We’re super stoked to receive such mass media support and would like to send a big WELCOME to all our newest fans. See you June 26th!

Til then, please welcome Red Cook!

What is Red Cook?
The name Red Cook was inspired by a traditional Chinese cooking technique for braising meats, fish or tofu with soy sauce, garlic, rice wine and spices. My most popular dish, and the one that I sell at the Greenpoint Food Market, is Red Cooked Pork.
Red Cook is the name I use for my culinary endeavors, which include blogging, teaching and catering. On my blog, I share recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques along with the cultural and historical background of Chinese cooking. I teach classes on dumpling making and creating Chinese banquets. These one-session classes are open to the public and are offered through the recreational division of the Institute of Culinary Education. I also cater and give private Chinese cooking lessons. I recently customized a lesson of Taiwanese home cooking for a couple adopting children from Taiwan. I cater for all occasions specializing in creating private dining experience of multi-course Chinese meal.

How did the inspiration for it come about?
Cooking has always been my passion and I love to share it. I love to entertain and create meals with seasonal ingredients and innovative approaches. After cooking for so many years I was finally convinced by a friend to start writing about my cooking. That’s when I started my blog Red Cook. Then I started receiving request to cater and cook for private functions. One thing let to another and I was invited to teach as well. Somehow my writing has generated interests in my authentic way of Chinese cooking.

Kung Pao Frog

Where do you source your ingredients?
I source my ingredients in the Flushing and Manhattan Chinatowns. I enjoy shopping in Chinatown where there are specialized vendors for meat, seafood, dry goods, produce and fruits. Because of their specialization, each vendor can offer a wide variety of the freshest products.

Red Cooked Pork with Steamed Buns

Can you share a recipe?
Yes, here is my Red Cooked Pork recipe…

Red Cooked Pork

1 1/2 lb. pork belly meat
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves of garlic peeled
2 scallions cut into 2-inch long pieces
3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (老抽)
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (紹興料酒)
1 1/2 cups clear stock (or the liquid from the par-boiling step) or water

Put the pork belly in a wok containing enough boiling water to cover the meat completely. Continuously skim off the scum as it forms on top of the boiling water. Boil for about 20 minutes then drain the pork belly and place on a plate to cool. The boiling liquid can be reused for braising after filtering through a fine sieve. When the pork belly is cool to touch cut it into pieces of about 1.5 inches cubes.
Melt the sugar and the vegetable oil in a wok over medium high heat. Continue heating until the sugar is slightly brown. About 3 minutes. Add the cubed pork belly and brown it with the caramelized sugar. About 8 minutes.
Put the garlic, scallion, star anise, dark soy sauce, rice wine and clear stock into the pot. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat. Cook for about 40 minutes. Stir the meat every 10 minutes to make sure the pork at the bottom of the pot does not get burnt. Remove the cover and turn the heat to medium high. Cook the meat for another 10 minutes until the sauce reduces to a smooth consistency.
You can serve this dish right away or keep overnight and reheat the next day before serving. Plate it in a shallow bowl and garnish with shredded scallion and sprigs of cilantro.

Steamed Dill and Crabmeat Dumplings

What do you do when you’re not Red Cook-ing?
My other interests aside from cooking are traveling and gardening. I travel to Asia quite often and love to sample all kinds of food during my trips. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to visit the local markets. Unfortunately I often get frustrated by seeing beautiful products in the market but not having a kitchen to cook them. As for gardening I can’t really do very much being an apartment dweller. But I do grow herbs and lettuces near my sunny windows.

Kian teaching ICE

Why the decision to share at GFM?
GFM is an event that attracts serious foodies and is the only market in which I participate. I love sharing my passion for cooking authentic Chinese food with people who can really appreciate it. It’s also great to sample the high quality foods created by all the other vendors. I’m thrilled by the interest shown in the food I make and look forward to continuing to share my passion.

Picnic in the Park Recap

Hi!

Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOO much to all the folks who came out on Saturday for the “Picnic in the Park” edition of  Greenpoint Food Market. And huge big ups to all the 47 vendors cramped together behind the tables bearing (baring?) the insanity and heat, selling their orgasmic food wares. We are so grateful to see the market gradually growing month by month, garnering the support and gaining an ever irresistible gastronomic versatility. Thank you, we love you.

Saturday was pretty awesome, it was a beautiful day to sample and “take out” a mix of sweet and savory goods. The heat was a bit flustering and a major newspaper’s attendance interviewing everyone made us pee our pants a little. If you missed what was a near perfect day here’s a highlight of what you could have treated yourself to. Also look out for the next market June 26th when the craziness happens all over again!

Customized chocolate bars from Chocri. A constellation of sweet sweet flavors abound.

Assorted blends of Mombucha.

Ice cream float with ice cream by Milkmade and soda by P&H Soda and Syrup.

Aviation Pickled Pears by Anarchy in a Jar.

Veggies from Rooftop Farms.

Nutella Crumb loaves from Canary Yellow Kitchen.

Quesadillas con Arroz y Frijoles from Rapscallion Cultured Vegetables.

Korean BBQ Bulgogi flavored jerky by Kings County Jerky Co.

Spicy Baby Tomato Pizzette by Electric Blue Baking.

Boiled peanuts by Dixie Spanish.

Indian taco spread by Masala Loca.

Mini rhubarb tart by Small Scale Foods.

Empanadas by Empanadas dpm

Cupcakes by Robicelli’s.

Raccoon Fighter

Check out more pics on our flickr page. See you JUNE 26th!

Vendor Blender: Skimkim

Happy End of Monday folks! We’re a bit late in the Vendor Blender game but when you’re starring at trees upstate taking a much needed break from the awesome craziness that was this past Saturday then you’ll forgive us as we do nothing but lay around and watch this gigantic turtle creep on by from one point of the backyard forest to the other.

We hope you were able to stop by and get all gluttonous, it sure was a feast for us. We’ll follow up with a recap of the madness shortly. Til then, we are very proud to present the one and only, major kickass foodstordinare Skimkim!

What is Skimkim?
Skimkim makes quality food using fresh, seasonal ingredients with flavors from all over the world: The South, Korea, Scotland, and Ireland. It’s in our blood! Our packaged goods range from inventive kimchees and vinaigrettes to spicy kettle popcorn and homemade flavored butters. In addition to our packaged goods, we also focus on the lifestyle associated with fine food and drink. Through strategic web-based placement, the art of food writing comes to life with Skimkim. We are honest, experienced, and educated in our art and endeavor to spread the word, one bite at a time.

How did the inspiration for it come about?
I hated my life as an art director. I have been cooking since I was a little girl and it just sort of happened. We started out as a catering company and it’s evolved into putting me (the half korean scotch irish redneck) and my favorite flavors into a jar.

Where do you source your ingredients?

I get most of my ingredients from the local markets. I’ve been growing herbs at home lately which I’m so stoked about. I did a cocktail party last weekend with all my own herbs!


What is your favorite and can you share a recipe?

I came up with Kimchee Butter a while ago but it still kills anything out there that I’ve tried. Here’s my fav application: grilled cheddar cheese sammy with candied bacon and heirloom tomato. I did it for an event when we were doing catering and it blew everyone away. These things are my weakness.

What do your goods go well with? What does it NOT go well with?

EVERYTHING. The butters make eggs a drool worthy meal, not just, eh. I like searing meats with the butters, too. And just smearing them on quality baguette. Nothing better. Butter is the goddamned best ingredient ever. The Asian Green Goddess can be used as a marinade or a salad dressing. I throw hanger steak in that stuff overnight and grill it the next day. It’s ridick.

What do you when you’re not skimkim-ing?

Ha. I’m never not Skimkimming. Everything I do, I do with my brand in mind. For the future. I am sous chef at a restaurant in the city, Tablespoon. I Dj at least twice a week. I write my blog, and contribute to others: M.I.S.S., Blac Renderings. I cater private parties, both food and drink (I’m a genius at alcohol, too). I’ve been producing some music, as of late. And I watch Lost and kiss Elijah Craig The Dog, my little Homey Mini-Daschund.

Why the decision to share at GFM?
I sold Skimkim at other markets and I knew that GFM would be the right demographic for us. The people that stroll through the church are looking for innovation, quality and thoughtfulness. No one just does strawberry jam. All of the vendors really go all out to make lasting impressions on the potential customers. I consider them peers and I’m grateful for them.