Monday, October 25, 2010

New Amsterdam Market Hudson Valley Harvest

Yesterday, a friend and I decided to explore the Hudson Valley Harvest at New Amsterdam Market downtown at the site of the former Fulton Fish Market and by the South Street Seaport.  She'd never been down to this market before and was intrigued to see what it had to offer firsthand.  This is one of my favorite ones in the city for a number of reasons, but I haven't had a free Sunday to make it down there since the Ice Cream Festival in August.


Organized with Glynwood, an organization dedicating to working with small farms in the Northeast, the market gathered purveyors from the Hudson Valley.  This was a food tasters heaven.  We walked around from stall to stall trying some of the products on offer and making mental notes of the ones to which we wanted to return to buy their wares.  There was a great variety of meats, cheeses, and beverages with some sweet items as well, too.  The suppliers were eager to show us their items and to talk about how they are made so there was also a more personal angle to our shopping.

I definitely found some new favorite items for my holiday buying list, which seems to be getting longer and longer each week.  From the photos below, I think that you might agree with me that this was an afternoon well-spent wandering around the market, especially as it ended with some a delicious food (you'll have to get to the end to see what we ate).  I think this is definitely going to end up being a foodie Christmas for my family.  Well, that is if my dad gets the oven fixed in time for our arrival!



Our first stop was at The Filling Station, which also has a stand in Chelsea Market.  They have an amazing selection of olive oils in a variety of types and flavors.  Being a Blood Orange fan, that oil is probably my favorite of the flavored ones.  They also have several different kinds of salts as well as spice blends that you can buy to try at home.


Schoolhouse Kitchen (whose Squadrilla was featured in November's Bon Appetit) came prepared with an array of chutneys and mustards for us to try.  Even after all the various kinds that I tried at Pickle Day last week, I still found a few more flavors that I would want to send to Virginia for the holidays.  Fortunately, as we found out in chatting with the owners, they have made our lives easier and have bundled together gift sets of several jars that would make great stocking stuffers.  This means that I don't have to choose just one kind, although the Cherry Blackberry Sage & Clove Anytime Spreadable Fruit would be at the top of my list to receive.


I have been a fan of Vermont Creamery for a while, and their products have always been great with which to cook, but I'd never really had a chance to try many of their cheeses or to sample their butter.  Their Double-Cream Cremont is wonderful, but what was even better was the soft, savory Cultured Butter that tasted like just like the thick, creamy spread that tops the French breakfast pain beurre of my travel memories.  This I need to track down to buy in New York for when I'm feeling nostalgic.


Home/Made had one of the most enticing displays at the market.  The cake of gingerbread with dripping Burnt Caramel Sauce was just enticing.  The tart was also delicious-looking as was the Fruit Compote that they had brought to sell.  If these treats are just a small sample of what they have on their restaurant menu, I think I have another place to add to my list to try sometime soon.


All the way from Maine, lobsters and crab in hand, the folks at Port Clyde Fresh Catch made the market one of their stops this Sunday.  They looked to be doing a brisk business selling crab and lobster meat in addition to whole crustaceans.  We were treated to a sample of a crab leg, which was tender and sweet.  I asked about the small, cooked display crab, however, and was told that was indeed the size of their catch.  Even though it was tasty, I think I'll stick to the Chesapeake blues, which are meatier, and thus entail less work per pound of crabmeat.


Also known as the place where Julie Powell learned to butcher, Fleisher's Grassfed Meat had a large case of various selections on hand for sale.  Aside from being a fan of organic, low-carbon footprint meat products, what I also liked about their display was that they had lots of great cuts available.  I'm not eating as much meat these days, so I like to make sure that what I do buy is good for me and that it tastes great, too.


The sample from Brooklyn Cured followed along the same lines as last Sunday's food festival.  Keeping alive the flavors and traditions of old New York while bringing with it some of the methodology and food philosophy of today.  While the pickled vegetables weren't really to my taste, the Country Pate was really delicious.  I wish I'd been able to spend some more time talking to them about their product, but hopefully on their next market visit I can.


The Benmarl Winery is someplace to which I need to make a trip at some point.  This upstate vineyard brought with it several types of wine for us to try.  The one that my friend and I fell in love with, and each purchased a bottle of, was the DeChaunac, which is made with a French varietal grape.  It evokes fragrances and tastes of a Côtes du Rhône.  I haven't decided if I will save this to share with others or to drink it myself with a very special meal.


Another dairy who made the trip to the market on Sunday was Hudson Valley Fresh.  My friend loved the sample taste of their rich, creamy Chocolate Milk.  I tried the onion dip made with some of their Sour Cream.  I have to say that it was probably the best tasting dip I have ever eaten, and I'll be sure to see if I can locate their products at the Whole Foods where I sometimes shop.


Next to them were the folks at Real Live Food Company, which had several soft cheeses mixed with different flavorings and some raw milk cheeses.  All teeming with probiotics and all sorts of bacteria that is beneficial for our guts, I can tell you that these taste good as well.


As part of the educational aspect of this particular market Sunday, there was also the opportunity to buy seeds to grow your own plants and flowers.  Unfortunately, I can barely grow anything in my apartment, so I didn't pick up anything, but I do have dreams of one day being able to at least keep some herbs alive.


Can you hear that sound?  Mmmmm, yes!  That is the sound of these wonderful brats from Mosefund Farm's humanely raised hogs.  With one small bite of these hearty, gently seasoned sausages, I fell in love with the rich, meaty flavor.  Some of them are now in my freezer to be paired with a pile of lentils, a dollop of potato puree, and one of the chutneys I've picked up on my market visits.  If folks are very nice to me, I might even invite them over to share in this meal, and we can crack open the bottle of wine from Benmarl Winery to have a very special Sunday supper.


Another of the glories of the Hudson Valley region is the gorgeous vegetables and fruit that are grown there.  Even as a committed carnivore, I couldn't help but stop and stare at the beautiful array of seasonal items that Upstate Farms brought to the market.  How could you resist any of these specimens?  From their website, I found the link to their CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) in case anyone is looking to find how to get their hands on these items when they are delivered to the city.


Ledgenear Farm had an incredible display for their amber-colored maple syrup.  This is what real maple syrup should look like, and the glass bottles really showed off the product to its advantage.  My friend tasted a sample of it and pronounced that it was really, really good.  Unfortunately, I am already over-stocked in this department due to a generous former co-worker who had given me some from last year's harvest, but the next time I run out, I'm going to look for one of these lovely bottles.


Just in time to keep us going through the rest of the market we found Mast Brothers Chocolate.  This is farm-to-table chocolate, produced in small batches from their location in Brooklyn.  The smoothness of the dark variety they had out for us to try was unbeatable.  Again, another stocking stuffer to add to my list.  I hope that we have very large stockings to hang by the tree this year.


Next to them was another Brooklyn-based business, Brooklyn Oenology.  We had a chance to chat with one of the folks involved with the winery who let us know that they've just cleared out a space to have a Tasting Room for the public where they will not only be serving their wines but they will also have meats and cheeses and small bites from local sources as well.  Check out their website for more information, as it wasn't quite ready for opening.  My friend and I agreed that we'd gather up some of our pals to go visit it some evening.


This is one of the tables where I goofed and forgot to go back to get some of their wares.  I absolutely loved the tangy, rustic, chewy texture of Nordic BreadsFinnish Ruis Bread (made in New York and 100% organic).  The samples we had were served with a thin layer of butter, a sliver of cheese, and a slice of cucumber.  Perfect!  I could see this going very well with the butter from Vermont Creamery and my favorite jam from Schoolhouse Kitchen.  Maybe this is my colder Northern European roots taking hold, but I really liked this bread.


Our second-to-last vendor stop was at the table for Bellwether Cider made in the Finger Lakes in New York.  They use a combination of varieties of apples to produce their several flavors and were nice enough to let us sample several of them.  I'm a bit more used to European ciders, so I found some of these to be a bit on the too light side for my tastebuds.  The one flavor that I did find interesting was a Blackcurrant and Apple one.


Which would have gone absolutely perfectly with the sandwich that I got from Porchetta.  At the furthest edge of the market were several vendors selling sandwiches and ready-to-eat items.  I'd already been to Luke's Lobster the day before during East Village Eats, and much as I would have had something at the Jimmy's 43 table, it was really the porchetta sandwich that was calling my name.  I mean, I hadn't had one since Pig Island, and that was almost a month ago.  The perfectly-seasoned meat cut into large slices with the juices and fat absorbed into and flavoring the crisp roll.  This is heaven on a bun, especially when eaten on a bench sitting by the water basking in the cool autumn sunshine.


Before we left the market, we stopped by Liddabit Sweets to see what they had to round out our day at New Amsterdam.  The Beer and Pretzel Caramels were really yummy, but it was the Caramel Popcorn that I wanted.  With caramel, semi-sweet chocolate, and honeycomb, this was the perfect sweet end to the day.


Buon appetito!

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