Even though we’re in the doldrums of winter, I’m feeling a tremor of activity and overall excitement about local and sustainable farms. The New Amsterdam Market, a nonprofit which promotes environmentally and socially responsible food and the people behind it, has just launched an auction this week. It isn’t chock full of knick-knacks, though. Really embracing the spirit of community, sharing and learning about sustainable agriculture, many of the “items” for auction involve the food purveyors, farmers and conscientious chefs, and include tours, cooking demos and bonafide feasts. This underlines one of my favorite aspects about the sustainable food community — that the people are very much out there, in the field (no pun intended), and eager to chat with you.
I remember the last two times the New Amsterdam Market erected an outdoor market to much fanfare at South Street Seaport, in June and the December before that. I recall people talking about it in anticipation for weeks, and afterward, a flurry of gushes from their sightings there. For some, the carefully curated weekend market-fest was sort of like a visit by the Pope. The goal of this auction is to raise enough money to make markets like these a permanent institution here, in doing so supporting the participating purveyors and “reviving New York City’s rich and storied legacy of public market halls.” I’d like very much to see this happen.
So, if you’d like that, too, check out the list of auction goods. The options range from huge events like a private pig roast thrown in your honor from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats to an insider’s tour of Stone Barns Center. There’s a wild mushroom CSA membership, or a spring pea planting day trip. It’s fun just to browse through, if you ask me. New Amsterdam Market is also holding a benefit dinner this week called “Founded on Oyster Shells,” which sounds to be slurp-tastic (tickets are required in advance). I’d be throwing back oysters there if I didn’t have a birthday dinner to cater to, literally, that night. Shucks.