Though the Upper West Side is not known for it's food I have been lucky enough to have stumbled upon these 3 unbelievable resources available in my neighborhood, my CSA Cream of the Crop , the 97th Street Farmers Market, and Grow and Behold meats. Having access to them has completely changed the quality of the food that my family eats.
For those you who don't know, CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It essentially means that you buy a share of a farm. Each week vegetables and fruits are delivered to a set location and members pick up their share of the week. Each week you get different vegetables depending on what and how much is harvested at the farm. I was initially put off by the fact that I would have no control over what I got but the truth is that it has been wonderful getting vegetable that I might not have ordinarily bought. My kids have tried many new vegetables just because it "came from the farm". When I came home with 2 bunches of kale last night my kids were actually excited (they tried kale last year for the first time)
Cream of the Crop is an extra special CSA because not only can you get organic vegetables but you can get a low spray fruit share, farm fresh pastured eggs, milk and other dairy products straight from the cow or goat, meat and chicken (non kosher) and the best fresh KOSHER goat cheese, goatgurt, lactofermented veggies and jams from Adama Dairy. There happen to be more share available so if you are interested here is the link.
Grow and Behold is an amazing resource for kosher, pastured meat and poultry. This meat is truly the best kosher meat I have ever eaten. Recently friends of ours who are not kosher told us that it was some of the best meat that they have ever had(and they have a lot more to choose from)! These happy cows are raised on pasture for their whole lives. For the last 2-4 months of their lives (this depends on the time of year) they have a choice of grass or grain. This makes the meat more tender (and yummy) than meat from cows that are only grass fed.
Grow and Behold ships meat nationally, delivers once a week to the New York metropolitan area, drops off once a month to 5 pick up spots in the Philadelphia area and has buying clubs in the Bay Area, LA, Seattle and St. Louis.
From asparagus and snap peas in the spring to apples and kale in the fall my Friday morning trips to the 97th Street Farmers Market are one of the highlights of my week. Not only do they have fruits and vegetables but you can also get farm fresh eggs, local honey, fresh apple cider, baked goods (not kosher), dairy goods, fish, meat (not kosher) and live jazz. Though I love all the stands my two favorite are Amanti Farm who have the most delicious eggs and J&A Bialas Farm because I just love their veggies. The farmers market is open all year though when it is not the growing season the selection does not include most of the farms that have fresh produce(though you can get apples all year round).