Friends NYC has been a long-time supporter and fan of the Farm to People CSA. Owners Mary and Emma are actually some of their oldest customers. For nearly two decades (!!!), our Friends co-founders have collected the locally-sourced vegetables and other farm goodies in their weekly box. Farm to People’s mission is: “To source the tastiest fresh-picked food from farmers and makers who treat not only their land and their products, but also their employees, with utmost respect.” They’re looking to build a fairer food system that is more "transparent, sustainable, ethical, equitable, diverse, and secure." We're down for that!
When we heard the news of a Farm to People restaurant opening up in the neighborhood (1100 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237), we could not have been more excited. So excited that we teamed up with them for a very special offer for our cute custies. All of September, by shopping at Friends, you will get a free glass of wine at Farm to People. And you KNOW that's going to be a glass of delicious natural wine. And when you have your meal there, you will get a 10% off gift card to use at Friends. Now is the time to hit up both of your neighborhood spots!,
We took a tour of the new facilities and then chatted with Rachel Steinhauser from Farm to People about their new endeavor to get you all pumped up with us.
Farm to People is such a cool operation, and it's exciting that you've opened up a restaurant space! Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to opening up the restaurant?
It was kind of a crazy move to pull, opening a restaurant when it isn’t part of our core business, but we’ve always had the dream of connecting with our community IRL. We want people to know the folks behind Farm to People, and why we’re so passionate about our mission of building a better food system. When we discovered our new spot here in Bushwick, with the kitchen and beautiful event space, we knew we had found our new home. We hosted all different kinds of events over the past year, from food talks to seated dinners, and eventually opened up our Kitchen & Bar back in June. We’re only serving Friday-Sunday to start, so we don’t get ahead of ourselves. An eatery experience feels like the perfect way to showcase what our producers offer: an alternative to receiving the bounty in your weekly Farm Box. Our menu is seasonal and our food is not cooked with unhealthy oils or unnecessary ingredients. We hired an awesome chef, Matthew Yee, who has crafted an incredible menu and people are loving it!
How is the community responding to the new space?
We’re super excited to report that the community is really enjoying the space! We are pleased to see a ton of folks coming back weekend after weekend, showing their love and obsession for certain items on our menu, especially the Sumac Smashed Burger. Chef Matt keeps creating amazing new dishes like our Snowdance Farm Fried Chicken served either as a sando on a Grandaisy Brioche Bun or as a platter with mint, black garlic dressing and house-made kimchi, and a seasonal Beet Nectarine Sesame Salad topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and Narragansett feta that are on their way to becoming classics.
We’ve hosted happy hours, birthday parties, and art shows via folks that have stopped by the Kitchen & Bar and fallen in love with the space.
How has Farm to People been affected by the pandemic? Has it changed any of the ways FTP does business? Has it changed anything for the better?
A great and complicated question. We were a very different company at the beginning of 2020. We delivered just 2 days a week, and had about 10 employees. When a large spike of people needed food delivered, we sprang into action. We moved warehouses twice, brought on a ton of folks from a wide range of industries who wanted to work, and quickly expanded to 6 days a week. It was extremely difficult, but we were motivated to make it work and help feed New York during those dark times.
During the pandemic, it became clear folks wanted more offerings, so we also increased our selection. We widened the network of farmers and producers with whom we work. With more folks ordering, we’re able to buy more from our local growers, so that’s a huge way the pandemic has changed our business for the better.
What are some parting words of advice or inspiration for our readers?? :)
Know your food!
Soil is alive and is a huge source of life and nutrition in our food. Some farmers say it’s not the veggies they are caring for, but rather the soil which produces such flavorful and nutritious food.
It’s that network of conscious, regenerative, organic farmers and makers that we are building at Farm to People. Together, we’re hoping to heal our planet and change the way people eat.
Knowing more about where your food comes from and cooking with seasonal and local foods can be such a great source of happiness. Be creative and have fun in the kitchen! When you’re cooking with the best ingredients you don’t need to do much to make a tasty meal.
Thanks so much for sharing, Rachel! And thanks to Farm to People for doing such important (and delicious!) work.