Thursday, September 20, 2007

Roosevelt Island Farmer's Market

This post dealing with grocery shopping competition on Roosevelt Island brought on by the opening of Duane Reade elicited many comments on Island shopping options as well as the subject of new post - the Farmer's Market that takes place every Saturday morning next to the Roosevelt Island/36th Avenue Bridge ramp. A reader began the discussion with this:

The farmer's market on Saturday on RI is as pathetic as one would expect of a Roosevelt Island institution. With the exception of the very few items market "homegrown" everything else comes from the same Carlifornia factory farms that supply Gristede's. Okay -- maybe they make a bit more of an effort to get fresher vegetables or fruit, but it still is not a real farmer's market.

Even the bread -- which, theoretically is high quality -- comes wrapped in plastic to ensure that it loses its crustiness. Try explaining to the sellers (not connected with the bakers, btw) that bread should be wrapped in paper, not plastic and listen to the response.
Followed by another reader:
While I agree that the farmers market is not a real farmers market or even that great it is far better than what Gristedes has to offer, quality and price-wise.
I have purchased fruits and vegetable several times at the Farmer's Market and believe it to be better than the Gristedes on price and quality but not as good as either Fresh Direct or Food Emporium. However, shopping at the Farmer's Market does provide a nice warm and fuzzy feeling because of the outdoor setting, particularly on a sunny morning, and you are more likely to strike up a pleasant conversation with fellow residents or friends than at Gristedes.

A big thank you to one of the readers who sent the following link to a Main Street Wire article on the Gristedes non-compete clause which came close to moving the Farmer's market from the Motorgate ramp area as well this link here. The reader also sent a link (PDF file) to Main Street Wire article providing background on the expansion of the Gristedes store in 1998 and how the impact it had on the smaller Island merchants.


Anonymous said...

so not surprised at how slimy Gristedes was in that case, given how slimy their supermarket is.

now that we have a Duane Reade on the island, it would be great to see that other vacant space house a Trader Joe's or any other decently operated (but not too badly overpriced) supermarket. Now that we know it's outside the 1900-foot exclusion zone, that's great news!

Anonymous said...

When I lived at Manhattan Park, I would frequent the farmers market for their cookies and cheeses. I also would love the stuff that the two elderly people would sell in their mobile tag sale. I bought many an attic treasure and old book from them. They would always set up right next to the market.