A Talk With Farmer, Bird Maven, & Wildlife Illustrator Annie Novak at Kingsland Wildflowers, + Rooftop Tour and Bird Beer! (10/11)

Annie Novak's avian illustrations
Annie Novak’s avian illustrations

We’ve written about Greenpointer, rooftop gardener and farming renaissance woman Annie Novak before—she heads up the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (44 Eagle St), founded Growing Chefs, is manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and she literally wrote the book on how to turn your urban rooftop into a farm or garden. What you probably don’t know is that she’s also a wildlife and nature illustrator, with a new book coming out on bird migration. This Wednesday Oct 11th from 6-8pm at Kingsland Wildflowers (520 Kingsland Ave) you can see her give a lecture on her latest research and slideshow of her illustrations. The event kicks off at 6pm with a walking tour of Kingsland Wildflowers’ green roof and a cocktail hour, with the Safe Flight IPA” featured beer—a collaboration by local brewers KCBC & NYC Audubon to raise awareness of annual bird collisions.

The event is part of Kingsland Wildflowers’ monthly artist lecture series, featuring local Greenpoint artists who have created environmentally-focused bodies of work. Once a month various artists will speak at Kingsland Wildflowers about their process, inspiration, and ideas behind their unique take on the world around us and the habitat in which we coexist.

More info and RSVP Continue reading

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American Cheese Month at Eastern District

The rain returns, the beach is closed, and it’s dark by the time you’re home from work; Fall has a lot to apologize for.  Luckily, like all the best apologies, this one involves lots of food: a lot of seasonal products come into their best times around now.  While many of us don’t necessarily think of cheese as having a distinct seasonality, many of the incredible farms surrounding the city are currently putting out their best products at this time of year.  Courtesy of Beth Lewand, Cheesemonger and owner of Eastern District, here are two great examples of Fall’s best.

Vermont Shepherd & Dooryard Cider

The first is a firm sheep’s milk cheese from Vermont Shepherd in Putney, Vermont.  Sheep’s milk is the hardest of the main three (sheep, goat, and cow) to procure in volume because sheep have the shortest productive season and simply produce less than other animals during this time.  They generally give birth in the late winter or early spring and produce milk to feed their lambs during the spring and summer months when pastures overflow with the grasses and herbs that contribute rich flavors to the resulting cheeses.  The wheel we tasted was originally made on May 14th of this year and has aged for exactly 141 days as of this writing, and the farmers tell us that the pastures at that time had lots of plantain and dandelion contributing to the sheep’s diet.  The resulting cheese was exceptionally mild and smooth, buttery in a pleasant, clean way, and complex without being weird.  A perfect offering for a mixed group that might not be into the funky stuff, and Beth suggested pairing it with one of the many regional ciders being produced in the French farmhouse style – crisp, not too sweet, and with a light, champagne-like carbonation.   She extended this to suggest any product in the apple abnd pear family, fresh or cooked, served alongside this universally loveable cheese. Continue reading

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The Garden Spot, Week 7

So now that the spring is fully upon us, and our plants are safe being left outdoors 24/7, it’s time to start planning field trips! As you know, this is my first foray into gardening in Greenpoint, so I have a serious to-do list as far as places to go and things to see.

Eagle Street Roof Top Farm
As I’ve been living in Greenpoint for over 2 years, it’s sad/surprising that I’ve never been here before. I am really excited to head over in a few weeks and check it out during their open hours – I’ve heard that view is spectacular!

Gotham Greens
This hydroponic greenhouse on top of the Greenpoint Wood Exchange is like my tiny greenhouse on steroids, and I am sort of obsessed with it. Founded in 2008, it produces 80 tons of quality produce year-round. They aren’t currently doing tours, but maybe they will make an exception for Greenpointers? Hey guys, how about it?

Brooklyn Grange
While technically in Long Island City, Brooklyn Grange is going to be worth the (tiny) trek. Another rooftop farm, the Grange grows over 40 kinds of tomatoes (jealous!) as well as greens, radishes, herbs and so much more.

Java St. Garden
This community garden at 59 Java Street just got the green light to dig in this spring! They are still getting things started, and regularly have planting sessions on Saturdays so feel free to stop by and help out.

Red Shed Community Garden
The Red Shed Community Garden is located at 266 Skillman Street, and functions both as a green space in an otherwise industrial area, and a classroom to teach students about agriculture. They have open gardening days, as well as free-plant giveaways (the next one is May 8th!)

So I am sure I missed a lot of great places. What are some of your favorite gardens/farms in the neighborhood? Tweet them to me @everydaycaitlin – I want to see them all!

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