Consider this post the prequel to all of your CWB endeavors…
Ah, Broadway. We know her, we love her, and—if you consider yourself a fast walker—sometimes we can’t stand her.
If you happen to walk down the campus-side of Broadway on Thursdays and Sundays, you’ll notice a series of tents, often accompanied by tables of food, and long lines of shoppers. Welcome to the Columbia Farmers’ Market, run by GrowNYC!
As you exit College Walk and turn left, you’ll see Di Paola Turkey Farms for all your Thanksgiving bird needs, followed by Down Home Acres with root vegetables and greens. Next is Ardith Mae for all of you goat cheese lovers, (I’m unsure which cheese is the actual GOAT, but I’ll let you be the judge of that), followed by Walnut Hill Farm for your artisanal jams and heritage pork. Our last stop across from Morton Williams is Hawthorne Valley, which has a wide array of vegetables, bread, fermented drinks, and sauerkrauts.
Across from the Lerner-Furnald path, you’ll see Old Mother Hubbert (trying saying that ten times fast). Yes, Hubbert not Hubbard. For a chuckle and a few buck-buck-bucks, you can get milk, cheeses, eggs, and chickens! Right next to Old Mother is Madura Farms, the mushroom vendor. They sell various types of mushrooms that they grow upstate (that’s it, I asked).
Moving under the scaffolding past W115th, we have the large conglomeration of Nolasco Farms, with more produce. After you walk past the walled-off construction area, you’ll see Hudson Valley Duck Farm on your right for mallard fans. You’ll also see Knoll Krest Farms next door, which sells eggs and homemade pasta. Across from Knoll Krest and on your left, you’ll see the GrowNYC representatives, who help keep the farmers’ market going.
You’ll then walk around a bigger construction area to find Meredith’s Bread, with baked goods and sweet treats like pies, muffins, bread loaves, and jams. Next to Dr. Bread is Samascott Orchards. I’m partial to Samascott because, in my totally biased opinion, it has the greatest variety. Apples, potatoes, butternut squash, cider, cider donuts, pumpkins, popcorn—can you imagine anything more beautiful? Most days, the Samascott lines wrap around the corner here, but they move fairly quickly and worth the wait.
You can then cross 114th and shop at Pura Vida Fisheries, as fish are food, not friends. Next to Pura we have two square tents pushed together for Gonzalez Farms, stocked with potatoes and root vegetables. Across from the Earth Institute, we have Nature’s Way Farm for honey and soaps and Roaming Acres for chicken, pork, and ostrich. Across from University Hardware, you’ll see Two Guys From Woodbridge—I’ve only ever seen one guy, but maybe the second was on break—for lettuce varieties and microgreens. Our last stop is Korean Kimchee Harvest from East Branch Farms, where you can get 12oz jars of the titular side dish.
When you shop at the farmers’ market, you have to pay attention to where you’re walking. Most of the stands have drawn chalk numbers on the sidewalk to indicate which customer is next (1 is first in line, 2 is second, and so on and so forth). Some of the stands do take credit cards, but we recommend bringing cash just in case. You can visit the ATM on the first floor of Lerner along the way.
Also, don’t touch the food. We’re still in a pandemic.
The Affordability Aspect
A lot of people believe that farmers’ markets tend to radiate the vibes of granola, east-coast liberals with extra cash to burn. There’s some truth to that; however, I’ve found my groceries here to be fresher and more affordable than Westside if I stick to the fruits and veggies. The baked goods, cheeses, and more specialty stuff tend to be more expensive.
Best Stand: Samascott, the best bang for your buck and greatest variety (apples and potatoes and popcorn, oh my!)
Runner-ups: Hawthorne Valley and Meredith’s Bread
Best Name: Two Guys From Woodbridge
Splurge item: Knoll Krest’s $9 Cheese Ravioli Pack
Farmers’ Market Sign via Bwog Archives
Farmer’s Market Map via Creative Genius Shane Maughn