The farmers market is the backbone of any restaurant worth its salt, especially in New York City, where markets are the essential urban connection to the nearby rural bounty. But even though New York is known for dozens of weekend farmers markets, they generally only showcase local produce from farms in the tristate area. How can farmers access the freshest fruits and vegetables when they’re hundreds of miles away? That’s where the Baldor Specialty Food mobile market comes in: It’s a traveling caravan that has been carrying the best and trendiest fruits and vegetables from farms across the country to chefs and restaurants in the New York tristate area since July 2014.
The Daily Meal got a chance to speak with Johanna Kolodny from Baldor Specialty Food about this innovative market.
The Daily Meal: How does the mobile market ensure freshness when carrying food from farms across the country to the East Coast?
Johanna Kolodny: The mobile market gets picked fresh every morning the same way we pick and pack orders for our customers. We receive product around the clock and are always replenishing our warehouse inventory with fresh supply. We choose our daily favorites and those items get loaded onto the mobile market for that day’s appointments.
How many chefs are signed up, and who are some of the participants?
We have visited hundreds of chefs and wholesale buyers around the tristate area. Participants include everyone from the restaurant Daniel in New York City to Di Bruno Brothers, the food retailer in Philadelphia. Our clients range from Michelin-starred restaurants to retailers, country clubs, hospitals, and more.
Can regular people (non-restaurateurs) partake?
Currently, the mobile market is designed for existing and potential wholesale accounts. We do not serve the general public at this point.
What are some of the farms and products that you highlight?
During the Mobile Market’s first Northeastern growing season, we focused almost exclusively on produce from farms in the region. We started with summer favorites like tomatoes and transitioned to fall and winter staples like heirloom squash varieties. We’re actually just finishing our supply of some storage crops.
Over the winter months, we expanded our offerings to include items like small-farm citrus from California and wild mushrooms from the Pacific Northwest. We even spent a few days out on the road with fresh white truffles from Italy. In general, though, we aim to promote domestic farmers and producers whenever possible. Some of our favorite local partners include Hepworth Farms, Norwich Meadows Farm, and Eckerton Hill Farm. We’re also really proud to represent farms in California, like Frog Hollow Farm for their amazing stone fruit and County Line Harvest for their totally unique salad greens.