Hunger is still a big issue in New York and in the United States in general, even though we are a prosperous country with so many resources to draw upon. City Harvest is one of the organizations in this city who strive to address this need and to try to get food to the people who need it the most. Yesterday, in Brooklyn Bridge Park under azure skies, they held their second annual Brooklyn Local festival, showcasing food artisans, restaurants, and beverage purveyors from the borough.
The glorious fall weather contributed to the lively, bright atmosphere. In some ways it felt very much like a large, small town community fundraiser with the vendors stopping by each others’ stands to chat, swap samples, and just to catch up on the latest news. Tables were loaded with samples as well as prepared dishes to eat there and packaged food products to take home to enjoy later. I even saw Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz touring the market at one point during the afternoon. I had so much fun just going around and talking to the vendors and nibbling on their wares, saying hello to folks whom I know from the local food scene.
It’s hard to pick the highlights of this event, but there were a few things that I’d definitely go back and eat again if we had the chance to re-run the day. Scott Bridi of Brooklyn Cured cooked up one of his hotdogs with his housemade mustard for me to enjoy. I’m not normally a hotdog fan, not even at a baseball game, but if all of them were this delicious, I could be converted to liking them. What I am a big fan of, however, is steamed buns, especially if they are as tasty and satisfyingly full of flavor as the ones that Bite Size Kitchen makes. I missed out on their pork belly ones, which seemed to sell out in a flash, but I did get one of the hearty braised duck and one of the fragrant chicken curry.
Another terrific-tasting item that I discovered yesterday was Free Bread Inc.‘s creations. Karen Freer has a line of gluten-free croutons, too, that will also be available online as well as a recipe for stuffing on the back of the bag, to help you get ready to celebrate the upcoming holidays. One of her soft, pillowy, cheddar-jalapeno rolls, the Jalaa, came home with me as today’s breakfast. As a delicious treat, I picked up the The Blue-berry from the lovely ladies at The Jam Stand to have on hand. Summer might be over, but this berry-licious, bourbon-tinged jam will let me hang onto some of its flavors for a while to come.
It wouldn’t have been possible for me to leave this market without a few desserts to take away, in addition to all the great things that I sampled when I was there. I fed my Robicelli’s fix with a whoopie pie and a brownie. Liddabit Sweets might have my new favorite candy, their Apricot-Chili Caramel. Sweet with a nice kick of heat that just makes you keep wanting to eat more and more of them. I also picked up a jar of Spoonable Caramel‘s lightly-perfumed, luscious Lavender Caramel. All of Michelle Lewis’ caramel varieties are smooth and rich with a terrific balance of sweetness, dairy, and flavorings. When she asked me how I’d eaten the jar of the fantastic salty-sweet Brooklyn Butterscotch that I’d obtained the last time I saw her, I sheepishly said, “With a spoon, dipped into the jar, and then put in my mouth.” “That’s the best way,” she validated.
The Brooklyn Local put on by City Harvest was a thoroughly enjoyable event that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for next year, too. It was so nice to see the support in the local food community for this organization. Even today, on Twitter and in person, folks I encountered were talking about it, exchanging greetings with the food vendors whom they met and commenting on all the great things that they had to eat there, always a good indication of a great gathering. There were so many fantastic food folks there that I couldn’t fit them all into just one post so I put together a little slideshow of yesterday’s happenings, including plenty of pictures of lots of foodstuffs.
Thank you very much to Rubenstein Public Relations for arranging for me to have a press pass to attend this event.