Socrates Greenmarket and Mexican Panzanella

by Meg Cotner on September 6, 2011

greenmarket sign

A couple weekends ago, I visited the Socrates Greenmarket for the first time – what a great market! It’s small, but packs a punch in its offerings. There, you can find all sorts of vegetables, fruit, bread, honey, juice, and even duck.

Apart from wanting to check it out for personal reasons, I went there as part of a meetup event with the Traditional Community Kitchen, a Meetup group focused on real, whole, unprocessed and traditional foods (I’m a co-organizer with them). Members come from a wide range of backgrounds – from those that follow a Nourishing Traditions way of eating, to Paleo, to vegan and vegetarian. Our events are a lot of fun, and the meetup at the Greenmarket didn’t disappoint.

We met around 11am and proceeded to take a tour of the market with the market manager, Markella Los. She took us to each stand and talked a little bit about the farmers and the farm and what they had to offer. It was really interesting and so nice to have more insight into each market vendor.

We started with the Western Queens Compost Initiative.

western queens compost drop off

Anyone can come and drop off their kitchen scraps, which will eventually be turned via the composting process into rich, nutrient dense soil. Such a great service to the community!

Lucky Dog Organic Farm was the next farmer we visited. It’s a relatively young farm and is certified organic.

lucky dog organic farm

They had some beautiful produce for sale. They also informed us that anyone can go up there and visit the farm. There’s a little farm store and a cafe on site to make one’s visit even more special.

hudson valley duck farm

They sell all sorts of duck products, including duck bacon, which I purchased. I’ve eaten most of it and boy is it good! It’s less fatty than pork bacon, but the smoky flavor and saltiness is right there. It has starred in a number of salads I’ve made – how great is the idea of duck bacon bits?!?

El Poblano Farm is the last working farm on Staten Island.

el poblano farm staten island

They sell produce you’d use in Mexican/Latin cooking – and it’s beautiful. They gave me a taste of papalo, and I bought the excellent tomatillos that I used in salsa verde a couple of weekends ago. Very nice people. I’m so happy they are at the greenmarket!

Red Jacket Orchards sells delicious juice. Normally I don’t drink a lot of juice, but every once in a while I have a treat. I bought a bottle of apple strawberry juice.

red jacket orchards

J. Glebocki farm had some gorgeous greens and garlic scapes!

greens at j glebocki farms

Gonzalez Farm was next. They farm up in Goshen, NY, and are part of the New Farmer Development Program. They sell a lot of Mexican specialities.

Gonzalez Farm

Hot Bread Kitchen was next to them. HBK is a wonderful organization, “a non-profit social enterprise that creates better lives for low-income women and their families. We do this by paying women while they learn the skills necessary to launch food businesses and achieve management track positions in food manufacturing.”

Hot Bread Kitchen

They sell a lot of traditional breads made by women who embrace such breads in their own cultures. And the bread is delicious. I used one of their crusty Italian style breads in the Mexican Panzanella that I made for the cooking demonstration. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of it when it was overflowing the bowl, but here’s what it looked like about 5 minutes after I completed it.

mexican panzanella

It’s delicious – everyone loved it, which of course made me very happy! Here is the recipe:

This post is participating in the Astoria Blog Carnival, hosted by We Heart Astoria, and Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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Marija September 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm

This was such a beautiful tour and I am so grateful to have been a part of it, and to have your help. Your photos are fantastic.

I read recently that many of the farms in our area were hit pretty hard during Irene. Gonzalez Farm particularly lots most of its crops to flooding. It really broke my heart reading about it and remembering that sweet little boy telling us about how he had to wake up at 4 am to get to the Market that day.

Meg September 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

Thank you for the kind words, Marija! And thank you for all you did to help set this up. I’m so sorry to hear about Gonzalez Farm – I just got off the phone with our fruit farmer for the CSA, who is ok (they are on higher ground), but it’s still heartbreaking for them to see the devastation among their fellow farmers up there.

Pauline September 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Also the J.Glebocki farm that gave us garlic scape sample had damage and since I am on their
mailing list they shared they had to close down for some 4-5 farmstands of which the Hall of
Science in Corona was one of them but no mention of Socrates or Corona Farmer’s Market
which they also sell at so can still get their produce. So sorry to hear about the Gonzalez
farm they also sold at Sunnyside Farmer’s Market. I so enjoyed your demo at the Socrates
Tour for TCK Meetup.

Meg September 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for the update, Pauline! I’m so sorry to hear they sustained damage up there. I hope they still can be at the Socrates greenmarket. Here’s hoping all these farmers will be back soon. And thank you for the kind words, too, Pauline! It makes me happy that you enjoyed the demo so much! I am hopeful to return at some point to do another one.

Many thanks for everyone’s support!

Pauline September 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Meg as far as I know they will be at Socrates and Corona as they were not listed as the Farmer’s Market in Queens that they participate in cut back for the season only the one
at the Hall of Science which I have yet to visit – 2 farms now 1 left.
Too bad Gonzalez Farm had major damage lost most crop I stll have few Farmers
Market in Queens left to check out. Good to know that you may do more demos
only at the Socrates anywhere else now I am on your blog post email. To get
the newsletter or notices for your appearances anywhere is that enough or
do I need to give email separately for that.

kim September 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I once tried to ‘walk’ to this greenmarket from the subway station, but gave up half way. I’ve also visited the nice ladies from Hot Bread in the Union Sq. greenmarket. I’m always presented with the dilemma of choosing between Hot Bread and Bread Alone…ahhhh!

Meg September 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

Kim, indeed it can be a bit of a haul if you walk. It’s about 3/4 of a mile from the Broadway N/Q. If you can take the Q69, that drops you at 21st Street and Broadway and is only about a 1/3 of a mile – I can catch the Q69 fairly close to home, so it is pretty convenient for me. Also, there is a bus that goes from the Broadway station right to Socrates – the Q104.

I took a car from the Ditmars area that morning for about $9.

I love Hot Bread Kitchen because of their educational element, and how supportive they are of immigrant women. I also enjoy the products from Bread Alone!

Cooler weather should become more common soon, so a walk from the Broadway N/Q to Socrates should be really nice, especially if the trees start turning colors. 🙂

Meg September 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I plan to launch a monthly newsletter, actually, apart from the individual posts delivered to your inbox. You can sign up for the newsletter here:

Harmonious Belly Newsletter

I have a housekeeping post in the works, too – I did some cleanup on the blog and want to introduce new/newish features. Thanks for your interest!

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