Tips & AdviceA Guide to NYC's Farmer's Markets

A Guide to NYC’s Farmer’s Markets

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Fresh goods are considered a luxury no matter who you are talking to. It is no surprise that freshly grown and baked foods taste exponentially better than the ones you find at the grocery store which have been sitting there for 24 hours or more. Luckily, many areas have Farmer’s Markets to mitigate this “issue”. Farmer’s markets serve as a physical retail marketplace that is set up in order to sell foods directly from “farmers” to consumers. Not all vendors are considered your traditional idea of a farmer where they own a farm, but historically this was the case. Farmer’s markets are either indoors or outdoors and typically have booths, tables, and or stands where people will sell produce, live animals and plants, homemade goods, and sometimes prepared food and beverages. 

The History Behind Farmer’s Markets

The history behind farmer’s markets dates all the way back to the early 1930s. During this time trading posts had been established in order for retailers to sell products other than their own. This then initiated the birth of modern day grocery and general stores which created trends in retail, enhancing the consumer experience, and expanding production growth. In the mid-2000s the patron demand for fresh foods that spent less time in transit to retail stores began to skyrocket. Thus became the creation of farmer’s markets. 

Benefits of Shopping at a Farmer’s Market

There are an incredible amount of benefits to farmer’s markets other than the freshness of the goods which is a large attribute to their continuously growing popularity. With merchants being able to sell directly to the consumer, there is less of a need for transport, handling, refrigeration, and time in storage – ultimately serving as a money-saver. When farmer’s markets take place outdoors there is also a reduced cost in land, buildings, and need for extensive lighting and air-conditioning. Providers also gain direct profit from selling in farmer’s markets because in the case that all their products do not get sold, then they are able to sell it through alternate food-processing firms. Not only that, but sellers can keep the full premium for part of their goods as opposed to partially obtaining the wholesale price for the entire batch of whatever they may be selling. It is a relatively simple, immediate, transparent, and intimate way of selling directly to their buyers. 

It is also important to take into consideration the benefits that communities receive from the presence of a farmer’s market in their area. These markets deeply aid in the creation and maintenance of social-ties within a community by generating a link between rural and urban populations which results in a positive consumer experience. Also, think about how farmer’s markets generate traffic to nearby businesses. If you were to visit the farmer’s market on a hot day and are craving an iced tea to cool you down, you could seek out a nearby local cafe… two birds with one stone, if you will! Visiting the farmer’s market can give you access to a wide variety of fresh, seasonal, and healthier foods and is a great alternative to signing up for a community-supported agriculture program. It is also a great way to meet neighbors and local vendors which serves the potential for great friendships. 

Do’s and Don’ts at a Farmer’s Market

There are a few do’s and don’ts of a farmer’s market that you should be aware of before you go ahead and visit one. As always, you should always check the market’s start and end time prior to showing up. This will prevent unwanted traffic by showing up too early (it’s okay to show up a little early in order to get first pick) and staying too long after closing. If you have an animal and intend on bringing it, make sure that the market allows animals. Some do not (unless it is a service animal) due to health and safety reasons. Always talk to vendors if it is not too busy to get to know them and the product you are receiving. If there is a discount being offered then allow the vendor to take the lead. Do not press for extra discounts. Otherwise, show up, have fun, and get ready to enjoy some delicious goods! 

New York City’s Best Farmer’s Markets

Note: These markets all are open year-round and accept electronic benefits transfer cards unless noted otherwise.

Union Square Greenmarket

Union Square W. and E. 17th St. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of their specialities include: 

  • Baker/Grains
  • Dairy/Cheese
  • Maple Syrup 
  • Honey
  • Vegetables/Herbs
  • Plants/Flowers
  • Eggs/Poultry
  • Livestock
  • Fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Wine/Beer/Spirits
  • Fruit/Orchard
  • Jams/Pickles/Preservatives 

Check out their website for access to their maps and which days each vendor is available.  

Tompkins Square Greenmarket

Ave. A and E. Seventh St. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some of their specialities include: 

  • Dairy/Cheese
  • Eggs/Poultry
  • Baker/Grains
  • Vegetables/Herbs
  • Fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Livestock
  • Fruit/Orchard

Check out their website for a weekly updated list on expected vendors

Tribeca Greenmarket

Greenwich St. between Chambers St. and Duane St. Wednesday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some of their specialities include: 

  • Fish
  • Baker/Grains
  • Eggs/Poultry
  • Vegetables/Herbs
  • Flowers
  • Livestock 

Check out their website for a weekly updated list on expected vendors

Columbia University Greenmarket

Broadway between W. 114th St. and 116th St. Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of their specialities include: 

  • Honey
  • Vegetables/Herbs
  • Eggs/Poultry
  • Baker/Grains
  • Fruit/Orchard
  • Wine/Beer/Spirits

Check out their website for a weekly updated list on expected vendors

Park Slope’s Down to Earth Farmers Market

4th St. and 5th Ave. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of their specialities include: 

  • Baker/Grains
  • Dairy/Cheese
  • Honey
  • Vegetables/Herbs
  • Plants/Flowers
  • Eggs/Poultry
  • Livestock
  • Fish
  • Wine/Beer/Spirits
  • Fruit/Orchard
  • Jams/Pickles/Preservatives 

Check out their website for a weekly updated list on expected vendors

Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket

Court St. and Montague St. Tuesday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some of their specialities include: 

  • Fish
  • Honey
  • Baker/Grains
  • Vegetables/Herbs
  • Fruit/Orchard
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs/Poultry
  • Jams/Pickles/Preservatives
  • Livestock 

Check out their website for a weekly updated list on expected vendors

Carly Kaufman
Carly Kaufman
Carly is a freelance writer with interest in topics pertaining to lifestyle blogging, social justice, and anything to do with film/media. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in English & Literary studies in hopes to write for a large music publication. When she is not writing, you can find her watching movies, cooking her famous Carbonara, and enjoying time outdoors.

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