Celebrating Summer at the 125th Street Farmers' Market

Plums and peaches

The 125th Street Farmers' Market is one of the best places to be this time of year. The summer growing season peaks in late July into August, so the market is bursting with the vibrant colors and aromas of produce like tomatoes, peaches, eggplant, beans, plums, and corn. The market also features all kinds of treats including grass-fed meats, hard cider, free-range eggs, jewelry, natural body products, fresh breads, and informational tents for alternative energy sources. There's also fantastic live music courtesy of Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny's Supper Club, and Harlem Community Development Corporation.

There's a whole lotta goodness in this slice of Harlem!

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Farmers' markets are fantastic because they offer such unique produce. Sure, you can purchase your typical apples and carrots, but interesting plants like cranberry beans (above), green plums, or yellow string beans (below) are also available at a fair price.

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The 125th Street Farmers' Market is a project of Governor Cuomo's FreshConnect initiative to bring fresh food from New York farms to underserved communities throughout New York. Almost 1.5 million New Yorkers live in an area with limited grocery store access, also known as "food deserts." FreshConnect aims to combat this problem through the "FreshConnect Checks" program. The project provides a $2 rebate check for every $5 in SNAP benefits (formerly known as "Food Stamps") spent at the market. This means that everyone can have access to local, sustainably-grown, delicious food.

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What we love here at Marcus Samuelsson Group about farmers' markets is how they connect us to nature. We live in New York City  surrounded by concrete instead of soil, skyscrapers instead of trees. Sometimes we forget there's a whole natural world out there! Farmers' markets connect us to the environment in a very tangible and delicious way. We're reminded of how scrumptious seasonal produce can be.

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We hope to see you at the 125th Street Farmers' Market on Tuesdays through November 25, 2104 from 10 am to 7 pm, rain or shine on the corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd.!

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What's in Season, Right Now: 10 Recipes

seasonal, summer, farmers market, Red Rooster Harlem

With the first day of Autumn coming up soon, we actually still have an abundance of summer produce late into the month of September. This month, farmers markets are still packed to the rim with summer produce and to hold onto the taste of summer a little longer, there are plenty of recipes to be treasured. In the month of September apples, blueberries, corn, cucumbers, grapes, peppers, plums, pears, raspberries, and tomatoes are all in season, and the menu at Red Rooster Harlem highlights several of these ingredients with Chili Cucumbers, Sweet Corn Soup, and Summer Pasta with crushed tomatoes. If you can't make it to Red Rooster this week, you can still enjoy eating seasonally with these 10 recipes to make with what's in season right now. 

A Labor Day Seafood Boil at Red Rooster

Labor Day, holiday, seafood, crab boil, Red Rooster, Harlem, restaurant

The countdown has began for the last few days of summer. While we dread the cold weather that awaits us, there are still a few warm days ahead and a few meals thats we can savor in the mean time. One of my favorite ways to wish summer a fair well and have a great Labor Day weekend, is with a seafood boil. A large pot heavily seasoned, full of the best that summer has to offer, including seafood, is a great way to close out the season. A seafood boil is also a great way to roll up your sleeves and have a good time with friends and family over a perfect meal. The Harlem Chowder for 2 at Red Rooster Harlem is a great way to also enjoy a end of summer seafood boil, without cooking. But how do you create a successful seafood boil? Here are a few tips for the perfect end of summer feast! 

Flavor Profiles: 

Although food is at its best when it is fresh and in season, and seafood has great flavor of its own, the cooking liquid for a seafood boil is essential. The cooking liquid has to be overly seasoned and heavily flavorful, due to the fact that it needs to cook a lot of seafood and vegetables that will essentially water down the initial flavor. You want the flavoring liquid to permeate and season all of your ingredients. A classic crab boil seasoning, or Old Bay seasoning, is always a great flavoring when making a seafood boil. Other flavor add-ins can include beer, wine, spices such as bay leaves, chili flakes and peppercorns, and also flavored salts.

Photo: ethan.john

Ingredient Checklist: 

A end of summer seafood boil is a great way to use up all of your farmers market produce. Fresh corn, potatoes, a head of garlic and smoked sausage are the stars in a classic crab boil. What's great about a seafood boil is that there are no set ingredients or options, and variations should always be encouraged. Whether clams and white shrimp are on sale, you have some extra baby red potatoes laying around, or you just purchased a fresh mound of corn at your local farmers market, a seafood boil doesn't have to be costly, and everyone can get something that they enjoy eating.

Cook it up! Pour it Out!:

When preparing a seafood boil, a little chef expertise comes into play. Timing is everything and knowing when to add certain ingredients in your pot will help create the perfect balance of cooked seafood and cooked vegetables. Once your cooking liquid is flavored and seasoned, you want to add the things that will take the longest to cook first. As your layering your ingredients, the potatoes should be one of the first things to begin cooking. After that, corn and sausage, followed by shellfish, lobsters and/or crabs, and finally shrimp. Adding your shrimp at the very end will assure that your shrimp cook through in the hot liquid, but will not overcook them and become mushy by being trapped on the bottom of your pot. Adding shellfish second and third will assure that the shells from the mussels and clams open fully and any lobster or crabs that will be added will be cooked as well. Typically, a seafood boil is served on a table, family style with no bowls or utensils--eating with your hands is all the fun. Place old newspaper on your table before pouring the seafood out onto the table. The newspaper will become another protective layer and will help catch all of the juices and shells.

And if it's Still Too Much Work?

Head to Red Rooster on Tuesday, September 3rd for a fantastic extended summer Crab Boil featuring Harlem Legend Crab Man Mike.

$18 -- 3 crabs and 2 sides
$30 -- 6 crabs and 3 sides
Sides Include:
 Mexican Street Corn
Potato salad
Mac and Greens
Buttermilk Mash
Blue cheese Slaw
Old Bay Spiked French Fries
Collard Greens
Bourbon mustard pole beans
$5 pints of Radeberger Beer and individual crabs will be available for $3 a pop.
It will take place upstairs on the patio and we will have New Orleans musicians providing the entertainment.

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The Best Seasonal Recipes for August

Before the summer is over, dive into a refreshing salad like this tomato watermelon one. The heat wave has come to an end, but it is still summer for a few more weeks. When it's hot out you really don't want to cook, but when the weather cools down, you have a chance to cook great summer-inspired meals. With the farmers market in full bloom, the month of August brings some of summers best offerings. Right now is the best time to eat the following items because they are in their prime season. And there really isn't anything better than enjoying food that's in season. A look at the 21 best recipes to enjoy this month.

Tomatoes -  Tomato and Watermelon Salad      Yellow Tomato and Papaya Gazpacho 

Blackberries -  Vegan Blackberry Ice Cream    Creamy Blackberry Mango Shake 

Raspberries - Raspberry Jam Torte   Raspberry Bellini's 

Peaches - Jerk Chicken Tacos   Baked Peach Pudding with Buttermilk Ice Cream 

Watermelon - Watermelon Basil Salad   Vegan Radish, Watermelon and Bulgar Wheat Salad 

Celery - Braised Celery    Celery Salt 

Cantaloupe - Grilled Cantaloupe with Mint Syrup    Classic Cantaloupe with Prosciutto 

Garlic - Garlic Fried Tofu    Tostones with Parsley Garlic Sauce 

Plums - Vegan Plum Muffins 

Potatoes - New Potato and Egg Crostini      Mayo Free Vegetarian Potato Salad 

Tomatillos - Oaxacan Green Mole Stew    Tomatillo, Onion and Black Bean Salad 

 

Now Available By Prescription: Fruits and Vegetables

stone fruit In a new program to increase access to healthy foods and improve nutrition, doctors will be able to prescribe vouchers for fruits and vegetables to low-income, high-risk patients who need to change their diet for their health.

As reported by Gothamist, the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is in its pilot stage, launching at Harlem Hospital and the Bronx's Lincoln Medical Center.

Conceived by Michel Nischan and his incredible Wholesome Wave team, the patients receive the equivalent in coupons of a dollar per day for each person in their family for at least four months. In addition to receiving nutrition counseling, the participants' weight and body mass index will also be monitored by their doctors.

Apples from Migliorelli Farms

The 'Healthy Bucks' are valid at 142 farmers' markets across the city.

The new program helps more than just the patients. For doctors, it means being able to influence the nutrition of their patients in a more positive, effective way than suggesting changes. For patients and their families, the chance to afford fresh, seasonal produce. For farmers, it means more business, and continually increasing business as patients bring along their families. If the 140 pilot patients successfully lower their obesity after four months, the city will look to expand the program to other low-income neighborhoods throughout Manhattan.

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It's just another step in the right direction to assist those who might not have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables and this program proves every step counts.

For more stories about Farmers' Markets, click here.