Earlier I shared a post on Battery Urban Farm in lower Manhattan, where I went as part of last week's Urban Agriculture Conference. One of our other visits that day was Riverpark Farm, overlooking the East River.
Granted, the East River and the FDR aren't the first locations that come to mind when you think of farms and fresh produce. But Riverpark, opened in 2011 as part of Tom Colicchio's Craft Restaurants group, somehow makes it all work.
What's most impressive about this farm is that it's completely modular, with vegetables and herbs growing inside 7,000 milk crates, all of which can be easily transported. For two years farm was located on a stalled construction site at the Alexandria Center, before finally being able to settle into their new home at the riverfront plaza earlier this month.
The farm grows a lot of produce that the restaurant can't source regularly in large quantities from the farmer's markets, such as alpine strawberries, lemon verbena, and pea shoots. The restaurant then supplements the produce grown onsite with other food from the Greenmarket and local farms, to serve about 200 diners a night on average. This coming summer, there are plans to have family-style suppers right on the terrace overlooking both the river and the modular farm.
Walking around, I found it hard to not geek out over the gorgeous swiss chard, kale, and the berry plants that were on the cusp of sprouting fruit. Like the other urban farms in the city, Riverpark bridges the city mouse/country mouse dichotomy that I and many of my fellow New Yorkers often feel. It's nice to know that you don't even have to leave the city to experience the pleasures of farm-to-table eating.