Brooklyn Grange: Urban Farming on a Rooftop in Queens

Don’t let the name fool you. The Brooklyn Grange farm is Queens’ own unique rooftop urban farm located right in Long Island City, and their 2012 market season is about to begin! Starting on Wednesday, May 16th and going on every week through October 24th, members of the community can come by to purchase some of their farm fresh produce.

In addition, on their first market day, the Brooklyn Grange farm will be having a very special Kids’ Seed Planting Activity from 2:00 – 5:30 pm. Kids and parents can get a firsthand look at how planting a seed in soil can lead to great things. Be sure to bring an empty yogurt cup, so you can take your newly planted seed home with you.

The Brooklyn Grange is community oriented and welcomes visitors, school groups and volunteers to visit and learn more about urban farming. During a scheduled visit, groups have the chance to discover how this working farm operates in an unlikely setting, take part in educational activities, and learn more about where our food comes from. You’ll see a variety of food being grown, as well as chickens, and even their recent experiment cultivating shiitake mushrooms.

The 40,000 square foot farm covers the entire roof of a large city building on Northern Boulevard, and grows hundreds of thousands of plants including tomatoes, lettuces, herbs, strawberries, carrots, fennel and more. Everything is grown according to organic principles and is sold to businesses or made available to the community through their CSA and market. Stop by their first market and you’ll likely find Spring’s earliest offerings; tender young lettuces, green onions, herbs, radishes, turnips, or strawberries.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration on how to use some of what you may find at the market, try the recipe for mini savory tarts below. Any combination of fresh herbs will complement the sweet strawberries.

 

Savory Strawberry Tartlets

You’ll need:

  • About 1 dozen strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • ¼ cup combination of chopped fresh herbs such as basil, mint, or tarragon
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 1 store-bought package of pre-baked mini Phyllo dough cups
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • In a bowl, lightly coat strawberries with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and lots of black pepper, and then set aside. In another bowl, stir together goat cheese, herbs, and green onion.

  • Fill each phyllo cup with the goat cheese herb mixture, then top with strawberries and an additional sprinkling of herbs before serving.

Brooklyn Grange: Commercial organic farm in an urban setting. Open to the community, and located on a building rooftop in Queens.

When: Market season runs Wednesdays, May 16th-October 24th from 1-6pm; Kids’ Seed Planting Activity on May 16th from 2-5:30pm. Private visits, tours and workshops available by appointment.

Where: 37-18 Northern Blvd at 38th Street, LIC; 347-670-3660

 

By Vivian Cardinale