Farm-to-table dining is considered de rigueur whether you’re eating in a quaint restaurant on Bleecker Street in the Village or the hottest restaurant in Bushwick. But with all New York restaurants forced to turn to delivery and takeout—if they’re even open—farmers and other distributors have stepped up to help those of us cooking more these days. Consider it farm-to-apartment.
From milk and mackerel to eggs and escarole, farmers are shipping their best products to our homes these days. Many of these farms are hurting financially with restaurants no longer placing orders. But in a time of social distancing, even hitting up the grocery store can feel risky at times. While our city’s farmers markets are still open, not everyone has easy access to them (though it’s worth noting that GrowNYC—which oversees the city’s farmers market, such as the one in Union Square—has put together an online database, where you can find vendors that are offering delivery). As Lee Jones, the farmer behind The Chef’s Garden, shares with Time Out New York: “I feel so urgent to convey that we have been a part of the NYC food scene for awhile. Yet, now, none of that means anything, and we are just trying somehow, some way, to keep things afloat like everyone. We have product ready, people need healthy food and as long as we can keep going, we’re going to keep sending veggies to families.”
Below are some sources to take advantage of the bounty in the comforts of your own home.
“We are heartbroken to see the restaurants who've been the backbone of our farm program close, but we are excited to provide high quality produce to home cooks,” says Anastasia Cole Plakias, co-founder of the rooftop farms in Brooklyn and Queens. “If there were ever a time to support local farming and regional economies, this is it.” CSA shares will be delivered to apartment buildings—if you can organize 10 or more shares for a drop off—starting in May through October.
Ordering from Farm to People is like going to a greenmarket without having to wait in lines or worrying about social distancing as you look for the best head of lettuce or dig through a bin of apples. You may miss meeting the purveyors face-to-face, but rest assured: they work directly with farmers, all produce can be sourced to its origins and there's a focus on small farms. The result is seasonal products that look like you've just picked them yourself—all without leaving your home.
Since debuting 35 years ago, D’Artagnan has specialized in offering sustainably and ethically-raised meats for home delivery (some of the local farms include Hudson Valley Duck Farm and Griggstown Quail Farm in New Jersey). “Without farmers, nobody can survive,” says founder Ariane Daguin. “That’s why as an industry, we need to come together and support each other. By doing so, I believe we’ll come back even stronger than before.”
Located inside New York’s sprawling Fulton Fish Market (the largest in the U.S.), orders are delivered to the lower 48 states offering a wide array of seafood (including daily catches regularly sourced from private boats off Montauk). The free shipping threshold was lowered to $125 (which isn’t too difficult to do with all the fresh picks on the menu, including a variety of fish, shellfish and sushi-grade items). Another bonus: if you get a referral code from a restaurant, add it to your order, and the restaurant will receive a $10 credit.
Green Top Farms sources from farms in Long Island and around the state as well as New Jersey to supply its kitchen operation, which focuses on farm-to-table prepared foods and catering. They will deliver fresh produce if you want to cook your own meals and prepared foods, or you can also donate to the Farm To Tables In Need initiative online, which helps feed those in need through several different neighborhood non-profit organizations.
Jonny Bernard, the owner-operator of Long Island-based Jon’s Gourmet Mushrooms, saw more than 90 percent of his business disappear overnight as restaurants shut down across the city. But the farmer, forager and distributor has now pivoted to delivering directly to New Yorkers. An email is usually sent out on Wednesdays with the week’s menu: Bernard grows mushrooms and greens but also forages for ramps and morels. Occasionally, there are delicacies like Sea Stephanie Fish’s Santa Barbara uni and Cultured Abalone Farm’s abalone. Orders can be placed with a DM via his Instagram account by Friday EOD and deliveries to Manhattan are made on Saturdays. “Local is not just a hashtag to us, it’s most of our livelihood at this point,” says Bernard. “And beyond that, I really do love connecting with customers and learning about them, too, even if it’s six-feet apart while wearing a mask and gloves.”
Whether it's cheese or kale, Local Roots has been dedicated to offering hyper local food to New Yorkers. They’re offering everything from two-week Starter Kits to weekly deliveries because as founder Wen-Jay Ying says, “Our farmers have also had to quickly change the way they approach business.” One of their mushroom purveyors shared that as restaurant orders fizzled and payments have fallen behind that “it’s like we burned thousands of pounds of perfect mushrooms.
Manhattan Milk is known for its home delivery but most of its business comes from coffee shops, offices and other retailers, according to co-founder Frank Acosta, who adds, “We went back to our roots of home delivery.” All the milk comes from the company’s farm in upstate New York, and they’ve expanded delivery beyond Manhattan and Brooklyn to Queens, Long Island and New Jersey.
A longtime vendor at the famed Union Square Greenmarket, Zaid Kurdieh has supplied restaurant kitchens like Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park with organic vegetables. He’s now offering home delivery services through Fellow Farmer, where you can find everything including colorful carrots, leafy greens and pasture-raised eggs.
OurHarvest has expanded its delivery windows to accommodate the surge in demand for local food. They work with more than 300 local farmers and producers to offer produce, meats, seafood and more to Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Pierless Fish’s business had been focused on supplying restaurants with fresh and fresh-frozen seafood but as that has come to a halt, New Yorkers can now receive home deliveries—much of it local. Place your order by 7pm via email (email@example.com) for delivery the next day (Monday-Friday for Manhattan and Brooklyn, Tuesday in Queens and Wednesdays for Westchester).