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Harvest in the Square 2014 Comes to Union Square

Harvest in the Square 2014 Comes to Union Square


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The festival brought out nearly 50 local restaurants

Dan Myers

The event took place on Union Square's north end.

Thursday night, the 19th Annual Harvest in the Square event came to Union Square’s northern end, and just like in previous years, it was a blowout showcase of the finest foods that local restaurants have to offer as well as the finest wines being produced in the state.

Set up inside a giant tent in the space also used for the Union Square Greenmarket, nearly 50 restaurants from the immediate area served bite-size portions of some of their classic dishes. BLT Prime, Knickerbocker Bar & Grill, and Strip House served slices of prime steak, BLT Fish Shack served lobster rolls, Blue Smoke’s new head chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois served sweet and sticky spare ribs that were the event’s biggest hit, Ilili served eight-hour pork, Union Square Café served spaghetti with clams, and Blue Water Grill served Maine lobster deviled eggs. Wineries, many from the Finger Lakes, also poured some of their best offerings.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Union Square Partnership, which has been working with area residents, businesses, and institutions to enhance the neighborhood’s quality of life for 37 years, and it’s clear that they’re succeeding so far.


Harvest in the Square 2014 Comes to Union Square - Recipes

Rows of gleaming fruits and vegetables. Friendly growers who can tell you exactly where your food comes from &mdash and how to cook it. Infinite free samples. There&rsquos nothing quite like a good farmers market.

But these days, there&rsquos much more to farmers markets than a few rickety stalls. Now that &ldquolocavore&rdquo is everyone&rsquos favorite buzzword, you&rsquore as likely to see chef demos and pick up samples of yak cheese as you are to buy more typical produce (no offense, apples and potatoes). So grab your coolest tote bag and a stack of dollar bills: These are 10 of the best city-based farmers markets in the U.S.

1. Green City Market, Chicago: If you're a farmers market fan, you probably get bummed out every November when most close up shop for the winter. But if Chicago is your hometown, you're in luck: The Green City Market caters to locals all year long. Plus, you can nosh on everything from carnitas to maple candies. Just not at the same time, maybe.

Photo courtesy of Tom Campone/Flickr

2. The Copley Square Farmers Market, Boston: On Tuesdays and Fridays, Copley Square turns into a riot of rainbow-colored produce. It also becomes THE place to go if you want to buy a cookie the size of your face. Or load up on apple cider doughnuts. Or arm-length pistachio tarts. Hey, no one said all farmers market buys have to be healthy, right?

Photo courtesy of jennie-o/Flickr

3. Portland Farmers Market, Portland: Is anyone surprised that Portland, land of the organic-loving and food-truck flocking, has serious farmers markets to its name? Portland Farmers Market, with locations across the city, welcomes upwards of 200 vendors that'll leave your stomach bursting (and your wallet thinned out). But who could be expected to resist handmade chocolate truffles? Or local sourdough? Or breakfast burritos? Portland, here we come.

Photo courtesy of Matt Kowal/Flickr

4. Urban Harvest Farmers Market, Houston: Ever dreamt of eating a piping hot croque madame outside on a Saturday morning while you go shopping for emu eggs and listen to some live tunes? Sure, we've all been there. Luckily, Houston's Urban Harvest Farmers Market, one of the city's best and most bustling, can sort you right out.

Photo courtesy of Urban Harvest

5. Union Square Greenmarket, New York: One of those rare NYC institutions that's as popular with locals as it is with tourists, the Union Square Greenmarket descends on downtown Manhattan every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Alongside fresh produce and flowers, you can also score offbeat finds like ostrich eggs and elk steaks. Pro-tip: Put together a picnic basket and head to Central Park afterwards – it's almost like a trip to the country. Kind of.

Photo courtesy of John Joh/Flickr

6. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Francisco: San Francisco is no ordinary city, and Ferry Plaza is no ordinary farmers market – "ultimate foodie Mecca" might be a more accurate description. Some markets sell bacon this one sells bulgogi tacos. Some sell apple cider this one's got rose and lemon verbena soda. Just sayin'.

Photo courtesy of Eric Heath/Flickr

7. Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market, Washington, D.C.: After browsing the local produce at the Dupont Circle farmers market (only sellers from the Chesapeake Bay watershed region are allowed), weekend browsers can take part in everything from cooking classes to flower arranging sessions. Just wait: You'll be a perfect dinner party host in no time.

Photo courtesy of FRESHFARM Market

8. University District Farmers Market, Seattle: Would you describe your culinary interests as "niche"? Seattle's University District Farmers Market is the market for you. One seller specializes in sheep's milk cheeses another, in salt a third only sells hazelnuts. Add in dozens more and you're looking at a food lover's wonderland. And did we mention there's a mac and cheese guy?

Photo courtesy of Seeming Lee/Flickr

9. The Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta: Do you care as much about the health of the environment as you do about your own? You'll want to make a beeline for Atlanta's Morningside Farmers Market, the only market in the city where all produce is guaranteed organic. You'll also be able to catch local chefs demoing recipes with purple potatoes and other specialties. Because everyone knows purple produce tastes best.

Photo courtesy of Sam Camp/iStock/Thinkstock

10. Santa Monica Farmers Market, Los Angeles: How to have a good day at the Santa Monica Farmers Market: 1) Ride your bike and leave it with the free bike valet. 2) Pick up avocados, heirloom tomatoes, and more of the SoCal bounty. 3) Order up a bespoke omelette. 4) Go for a pony ride. Actually, maybe save that last one for slightly younger attendees.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Grandfield/iStock/Thinkstock

1. Green City Market, Chicago: If you're a farmers market fan, you probably get bummed out every November when most close up shop for the winter. But if Chicago is your hometown, you're in luck: The Green City Market caters to locals all year long. Plus, you can nosh on everything from carnitas to maple candies. Just not at the same time, maybe.

Photo courtesy of Tom Campone/Flickr

2. The Copley Square Farmers Market, Boston: On Tuesdays and Fridays, Copley Square turns into a riot of rainbow-colored produce. It also becomes THE place to go if you want to buy a cookie the size of your face. Or load up on apple cider doughnuts. Or arm-length pistachio tarts. Hey, no one said all farmers market buys have to be healthy, right?

Photo courtesy of jennie-o/Flickr

3. Portland Farmers Market, Portland: Is anyone surprised that Portland, land of the organic-loving and food-truck flocking, has serious farmers markets to its name? Portland Farmers Market, with locations across the city, welcomes upwards of 200 vendors that'll leave your stomach bursting (and your wallet thinned out). But who could be expected to resist handmade chocolate truffles? Or local sourdough? Or breakfast burritos? Portland, here we come.

Photo courtesy of Matt Kowal/Flickr

4. Urban Harvest Farmers Market, Houston: Ever dreamt of eating a piping hot croque madame outside on a Saturday morning while you go shopping for emu eggs and listen to some live tunes? Sure, we've all been there. Luckily, Houston's Urban Harvest Farmers Market, one of the city's best and most bustling, can sort you right out.

Photo courtesy of Urban Harvest

5. Union Square Greenmarket, New York: One of those rare NYC institutions that's as popular with locals as it is with tourists, the Union Square Greenmarket descends on downtown Manhattan every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Alongside fresh produce and flowers, you can also score offbeat finds like ostrich eggs and elk steaks. Pro-tip: Put together a picnic basket and head to Central Park afterwards – it's almost like a trip to the country. Kind of.

Photo courtesy of John Joh/Flickr

6. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Francisco: San Francisco is no ordinary city, and Ferry Plaza is no ordinary farmers market – "ultimate foodie Mecca" might be a more accurate description. Some markets sell bacon this one sells bulgogi tacos. Some sell apple cider this one's got rose and lemon verbena soda. Just sayin'.

Photo courtesy of Eric Heath/Flickr

7. Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market, Washington, D.C.: After browsing the local produce at the Dupont Circle farmers market (only sellers from the Chesapeake Bay watershed region are allowed), weekend browsers can take part in everything from cooking classes to flower arranging sessions. Just wait: You'll be a perfect dinner party host in no time.

Photo courtesy of FRESHFARM Market

8. University District Farmers Market, Seattle: Would you describe your culinary interests as "niche"? Seattle's University District Farmers Market is the market for you. One seller specializes in sheep's milk cheeses another, in salt a third only sells hazelnuts. Add in dozens more and you're looking at a food lover's wonderland. And did we mention there's a mac and cheese guy?

Photo courtesy of Seeming Lee/Flickr

9. The Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta: Do you care as much about the health of the environment as you do about your own? You'll want to make a beeline for Atlanta's Morningside Farmers Market, the only market in the city where all produce is guaranteed organic. You'll also be able to catch local chefs demoing recipes with purple potatoes and other specialties. Because everyone knows purple produce tastes best.

Photo courtesy of Sam Camp/iStock/Thinkstock

10. Santa Monica Farmers Market, Los Angeles: How to have a good day at the Santa Monica Farmers Market: 1) Ride your bike and leave it with the free bike valet. 2) Pick up avocados, heirloom tomatoes, and more of the SoCal bounty. 3) Order up a bespoke omelette. 4) Go for a pony ride. Actually, maybe save that last one for slightly younger attendees.


The Secret Behind Momofuku Milk Bar’s Sweet Strawberry Treats

When it comes to strawberries, the strawberry-blond mastermind behind Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi, is somewhat obsessed. In the months leading up to summer, she dreams about them coming into season. And back when she was still clocking restaurant shifts at Bouley and WD-50, she would count down until the end of each one from late June to early September, the berry’s prime months, to be able to run out and find the best the Union Square Greenmarket had to offer.

As a kid, Tosi spent summers on a farm in central Ohio with her family. And it’s easy to guess, based on the insanely sweet concoctions the 32-year-old chef, founder and owner of Milk Bar cranks out, that she wasn’t exactly the type to sit around eating a bunch of raw fruits and veggies. She’s always had a sweet tooth, even when it came to fashion (her mother would dress her up in Strawberry Shortcake-themed T-shirts and dresses). “I was a picky eater as a kid,” she explains, “and one of the only fresh-from-the-earth things I would eat was a bowl of strawberries with a little bit of sugar on top.”

In the summer of 2003, when Tosi started as a pastry chef at Bouley, she learned that the enormous “baseball-size” Driscoll strawberries were, despite their size, inferior in flavor. Then, later in the summer, she discovered the intensely flavorful Tristar strawberries. “We went to Union Square Market and got flats and flats of them — the first crop of the harvest,” she remembers. “They were super tiny and very, very, very red, and so incredibly fragrant and full of flavor. There was an undeniable pop of sweetness and acidity.” Now, in her Williamsburg kitchen — where she whips up confections for all of the Milk Bar locations in a “Willy Wonka”-esque atmosphere (smiling workers surrounded by vats of Crack Pie, giant blenders whirring with pudding, piles of near-toppling cakes) — she pickles the same strawberries before pureeing them to make the base for boozy milkshakes, jam (layered into strawberry lemon cake) and frosting (mixed with butter and sugar).

Image

Tosi has been buying Tristars for more than a decade from Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm in Roscoe, New York. She first paid homage to his unparalleled berries in the spring of 2006 with the strawberry shortcake she created for David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar. Now, she’s at it again with her Pickled Strawberry Jam Corn Cookie Sandwich, a new summer recipe created especially for T. It’s an ode to Bishop’s strawberries as well as his soft spot for cookies. The jam is the same she creates for her strawberry lemon cake, but she’s pairing it for the first time with Milk Bar’s signature corn cookie. (For the record, she usually slathers the sweet stuff on cake. “It’s a terrible thing, I know,” she says, “but I’m also surrounded by cake … so toast is more accessible for others.”)

Below is the recipe for both elements of the dessert sandwich — but if the kitchen’s too hot for baking this summer, you can order the cookies online, and then whip up the jam with Tristar berries of your own.

Pickled Strawberry Jam Corn Cookie Sandwich

Corn Cookies (recipe below)
Pickled Strawberry Jam (recipe below)

1. Slather a generous heap of the jam onto the cookies, and press them together, two at a time, to make sweet sandwiches.

Pickled Strawberry Jam

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 pod cardamom
5 seeds coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon pectin
3 cups strawberries, hulled and pureed, then strained (Chef’s tip: The more bruised and overripe the strawberry, the better.)

1. In a medium-size pot set over high heat, bring the vinegars and spices to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, fish out and discard the spices.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar and pectin. Sprinkle it into the pot of hot, spiced vinegars and whisk. Turn the burner down to medium heat.

3. Whisk in the strained strawberry puree. Bring the mixture to a boil, still whisking every so often. Turn the burner down to a low heat and continue whisking occasionally for another 3 minutes as the mixture thickens.

4. Pour the hot jam into a heat-safe container of any appropriate size or shape and transfer to the freezer to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container or jar, the pickled strawberry jam will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer or refrigerator.

The chef’s tips for leftover jam: Spread it on a piece of toast, roll it up into a crepe, use it as a layer of a cake or swirl into your next batch of sweet buns or coffee cake. We also take the jam and mix it with equal parts butter to make a spread for breads and breakfast items, or to bake with in place of regular old butter in recipes for biscuits, brioche or muffins. Paddle confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of salt with the flavored butter and you’ve got a frosting for cake or cinnamon buns.

Corn Cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2/3 cup freeze-dried corn powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Using a 2 3⁄4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature – they will not bake properly.

5. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center give them an extra minute if not.

6. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.


Garden-to-Table Recipe: Spicy Spinach from 66 Square Feet

I used to grow vegetables in all-day sun. Then we moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and shade happened. On our new terrace in Harlem I had no idea, exactly, how much light we would have, come the longest days of summer.

But when we signed the lease last fall, the southern sun was already below the tall building just in front of us.

Photography by Marie Viljoen for Gardenista.

Above: It turned out that my Harlem terrace received only four hours of direct sun. With less sun, my edible plant palette shrank. Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers were no longer an option, but I had hopes for leafy greens. Then one day last spring a chance encounter at the Union Square greenmarket made all the difference.

Above: Small pots planted with fleshy, glossy leaves caught my eye. Malabar spinach, said the label. It was May, that dangerous time of year when anything seems possible. I bought them, I planted them, and only then I did I do the research. (I know–but whoever said that a good gardener must be patient has it all wrong. Sometimes “Do first, ask later” lands you exactly where you need to be.)

Above: Malabar spinach has a long list of common names. Slippery vegetable, in Chinese. Amunututu in Yoruba (Nigeria). Ceylon spinach: modern Sri Lanka is the teardrop-shaped island at the tip of India. Malabar refers to a region in southwest India.

Common names are clues, indicating how a plant is used and where it occurs – in the tropics, in this case. Tropical plants are often used as houseplants in temperate regions: they are accustomed to warm temperatures and indirect light, growing naturally with competitors for sun. My new vining vegetable was no exception, which was good news for my Harlem garden.

Above: For a few weeks in May my seedlings just sat there at the base of their optimistic bamboo teepees, sulking. Then I went away, and when I returned in early July, their green stems, like young pythons, had coiled half way up their 6-foot supports. In another two weeks they had topped out and were leaning into space. I folded them down and made them climb up again. They hissed. I locked the terrace door.

Above: Botanically speaking, Malabar spinach has nothing to do with what most Americans call spinach. Its proper name is Basella alba (or Basella rubra, which has red stems). Spinach is Spinacia oleracea. Another big difference is that while regular spinach loves cool, even cold, weather, Malabar spinach will only wake up and grow when the days are warm, making it an ideal leafy green alternative for summer. And it is packed with vitamins.

Above: Now, in these waning days of the growing year, my vines have reached their peak and are so prolific and fat that we eat them a couple of times a week. Their ornamental value was very strong – with an unexpected bonus of glossy black fruit (which taste watery) – and I was reluctant to harvest them hard, sooner. But I know that when the first hard frost comes it will all be over. So now I make like a bunny and munch.

Above: The raw leaves make perfect wraps and edible plates for fillings and toppings, like super-fresh wild salmon, tossed at the last minute with quick-pickled celery hearts, lime juice, micro-planed ginger and lime zest. When I make Southeast Asian flavor bundles the leaves are perfect for folding around the fragrant, dripping filling and offer an excellent crunch, their slippery juice cooling a hot mouthful.

Above: When it came to cooking, at first I looked to India, tropical Asia and Africa for culinary inspiration. Leafy-beany stews with tomato and peanuts speak to West Africa, and the Chinese slippery vegetable works very well with soy, ginger and pinches of sugar. Indian saag was a natural choice. Taking inspiration from that complex spice mix, I riffed on an Israeli theme, sautéing the leaves and tendrils with shawarma spices. Delicious.

Shawarma Greens, for Two

These are excellent warm, eaten with a dollop of natural yogurt.

Bottle the leftover mixture in an airtight jar. It last many months and is divine with slow-roast lamb, chicken, or stirred into yogurt for dips.

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ whole nutmeg, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Whizz everything in a spice grinder till fine. Bottle at once.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 4 ounces Malabar spinach leaves and young stalks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon schwarma spices
  • Salt, a pinch

In a pan over medium heat warm the oil, and add the garlic. Sauté until translucent, then add the spinach. Raise heat to high and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn, and add the lemon juice and spices. Continue to cook until the leaves have collapsed but have not lost their bright color. Serve at once.

To grow your own, start seeds indoors, six weeks before the last frost, or sow outside when night time temperatures stay above 50 degrees F. Or buy rooted cuttings from your local farmers market and nursery.

See Marie’s blog 66 Square Feet (Plus) for more of her gardening adventures. And tour her garden in 66 Square Feet (Plus) on a Harlem Terrace.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for spinach with our Spinach: A Field Guide.

Interested in other edible plants for your garden? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various edible plants (including flowers, herbs and vegetables) with our Edible Plants: A Field Guide.


Frequently Asked Questions

We are always looking for new locations in New York City with heavy foot traffic, room for trucks, and community support. Learn more.

Greenmarket manages weekly markets in over 50 city locations. Union Square and Grand Army Plaza boast dozens of farmers each. At other locations, the markets range in size from two to fifteen stands.

Each farm at Greenmarket sets their own growing methods, quality standards and prices. Shop around to meet your needs. Whether you are on a budget or looking for a treat, Greenmarket has something for you.

Greenmarket farmers raise their crops on farmland in upstate New York and in neighboring states. Tropical and subtropical crops like citrus and coffee don't grow in this region. Greenmarket farmers' homegrown crops showcase seasonal bounty such as asparagus and rhubarb in spring, peaches and corn in summer, pumpkins and pears in fall. Dairy, meats, honey, wool and more are available year-round.

By law, fluid milk must be pasteurized in order for it to be sold at farmers markets in New York State. Farmers may sell aged cheeses made from raw/unpasteurized milk, provided it is aged at least 60 days. New York State does license some dairy farms to sell raw/unpasteurized milk from their farms, but customers must travel to the farm to make the purchase.

Some do. All are personally invested in the health of the water, soil, and air on the farms where they live and raise their families. Ask the farmer about their methods.Many customers seek out farmers markets for just that reason to meet the farmer and ask how they raised each crop.

Ask the farmer. Many crops were harvested less than 24 hours before market. Some foods keep longer, such as onions, apples, potatoes and cheese. Because Greenmarket farmers grow these foods themselves and bring them from their local farms that morning, their products travel a very short time and distance from the farm to you. All Greenmarket participants are required to follow safety standards prescribed by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Farms, facilities, and markets are inspected to insure compliance.

Unsold produce feeds the hungry. In 2017 Greenmarket farmers and bakers donated nearly 1 million pounds of food to City Harvest, Food Bank of New York City, and neighborhood soup kitchens and food pantries.

Most Greenmarkets are outdoors in public spaces, and the presence of dogs and the responsibilities of dog owners are governed by NYC law. Mindful dog walkers with well-behaved, leashed dogs, are welcome in our outdoor markets. If you bring your dog, ensure he/she does not "mark" inside farm stands, and remember it can be a challenge to walk a dog in crowds and the tight spaces between tables.

Some farms, especially orchards, welcome visitors for pick-your-own. Ask at the stand or see our list of pick-your-own farms.

While Greenmarket does not have a gift certificate available for purchase, customers may purchase debit/credit tokens at most Greenmarkets and gives these tokens to friends/family as gifts. The tokens are accepted by most Greenmarket farmers and can be used to purchase any item in Greenmarket. For a list of locations where you can purchase debit/credit tokens check out the individual market pages found here our markets

EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) is used in New York City and New York State to administer Food Stamps and other benefits. This "Food Card" is similar to a debit card, and allows the user to access his/her food stamp account. Customers with food stamps can now swipe their card for tokens, which they then use to shop for produce, meat, dairy, baked goods and other foods at many Greenmarket locations.
FMNP provides coupons to Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) recipients and to Seniors in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for the purchase of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets from July to mid-November. FMNP checks enable WIC participants and CSFP Seniors to obtain this nutritious fresh produce in addition to the foods WIC and CSFP provides. Inquire about eligibility for FMNP at your local WIC or Senior Center. If you need assistance finding a center near you please call 311.
Learn more about tokens and coupons in Greenmarkets

Farmers pay a fee to sell at Greenmarket. Donations and grants are gratefully received from individual, foundations and corporations. Donate now.

We are always looking for volunteers to do everything from data entry to cooking demonstrations. See our volunteer page for more information and to fill out a volunteer application.

From time to time, Greenmarket allows organizations aligned with our mission to conduct promotional activity as market guests. Please fill out a request. Please note, market guests may distribute information or literature, and talk to customers. Guests may not sell services, merchandise and/or solicit donations. Guests must bring any equipment needed (e.g. tables and chairs) we do not provide equipment, electricity, or facilities.

Greenmarket's Technical Assistance program, FARMroots, educates and supports aspiring farmers with agricultural experience to establish their own economically sustainable small farm business in the NYC region. Every year FARMroots runs an 8 week whole-farm planning course from fall into early winter. Learn more about the Farm Beginnings training program.

Yes, we use rules to govern our markets, define participant and product eligibility, and set expectations for our participants.

We have detailed requirements for eligibility of producers and for each category of product that may be sold in our markets, so as to ensure the support our mission: to support regional farmers and preserve the region's farmland for the future.

If you are a local farmerinterested in selling the product you grow or raise, please fill out this Farmer Questionnaire to request an application.

If you are not a farmer, we accept non-farmer producers for very limited categories of products. These are exclusively seafood, preserves (jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys) and baked goods. Local fishers may sell seafood they harvest from mid-Atlantic waters using their own commercial fishing boats. Local preserve makers may sell preserves they make from locally grown produce. Local bakers may sell baked goods they make using locally grown ingredients (flour, produce, dairy, meat, eggs, sweeteners, etc). If you are not a farmer, but a producer whose product fits these very limited categories, please fill out this Non-Farmer Questionnaire to request an application.

Please note, we may not consider: resellers, cooperatives, anyone that is not the farmer or producer, anyone outside of our local region, or non farmer producers that do not conform to three categories detailed above.

You must have the free Acrobat Reader 8 or higher installed to fill out the questionnaires. We will not be able to view your submission if you use the Mac native PDF viewer or if you use an older version of Adobe.


If there’s anything more delicious than a newly picked, vine-ripened tomato or fresh golden corn, it surely must be chocolate or a sticky, carb-laden confection. All are available at the Harvard Farmers’ Market, held weekly at the Science Center Plaza and in Allston. But their origins may surprise you.

Knowing where food comes from has never been more important in an age of global commerce and public debates over factory farming and genetically modified foods. This ethos is part of the farm-to-table movement, which emphasizes local foods such as those sold by the farms and vendors that serve the Harvard Farmers’ Market.

Taza Chocolate is one such vendor. Producing circles of stoneground chocolate in nearby Somerville, Taza is committed to sustainability, even as it sources cocoa beans from Bolivia, Belize, and the Dominican Republic. By dealing in direct trade with certified organic farms in these countries without a middleman, Taza can pay cocoa farmers well above market wage. The beans head straight to Somerville, where they’re turned into chocolate.

Right down the road at Union Square Donuts, production workers arrive at the break of dawn, ready to hand-roll, cut, fry, and glaze fresh doughnuts before most people have even hit the snooze button. They work mostly in silence, save for the noise from a radio and the phone, which rarely stops ringing. A good doughnut is hard to find.

Farther off, in Middleboro, Mass., roosters signal another day on the farm for Dave Purpura, who rents his acreage for Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm. The former software engineer has been farming for nearly a decade. He and a few farmhands transport the day’s harvest to Purpura’s home, where it’s rinsed and boxed before it’s sent to farmers markets.

The tableau of animals, cornstalks, and countrymen makes for a cinematic, even romantic, view. “Everyone thinks that until they get out here for a few hours, and it’s 90 degrees, and the romance goes out the window,” said Purpura. It’s hard work that makes a farm work.

Additional reporting by Crystal Chandler.

1Farmer Dave Purpura named his Middleboro, Mass., farm Plato’s Harvest after his beloved pet goat. 2Chickens graze between the rows of produce at Plato’s Harvest. 3On a harvest morning, Dave Purpura directs workers Ron Aakjar (left) and Tim Birnstiel. 4Ron Aakjar plucks squashes for the day’s farmers’ markets. 5Dave Purpura steps in the pen to feed — and pet — his pigs. 6Carrots get rinsed before being boxed for that day’s farmers’ market. 7Tim Birnstiel shakes off some greens. 8Founded in 2006, Taza specializes in Mexican-style chocolate. 9Taza participates in direct trade with organic cocoa farmers in Bolivia, Belize, and the Dominican Republic. Although not used in chocolate production, shells from the beans can be used for tea, mulch, and as a natural termite repellant. 10Anyone can take a tour of Taza’s Somerville factory. Here, tour leader Krysia Villon explains the three-day production process, which includes grinding cacao beans and wrapping the chocolate. 11Taza’s chocolate is an organic, vegan, dairy- and gluten-free treat. 12Using stone mills instead of steel mills like most chocolate on the market gives Taza products a unique, grainy texture. 13Taza employees prepare the final product for wrapping. 14Inside Somerville’s Union Square Donuts, the mood is fun, like its gigantic crave-worthy maple bacon doughnuts. 15Union Square Donuts co-owner and pastry chef Heather Schmidt tapes up the week’s farmers’ market schedule. 16Sarah Willis (from left) and Hillary Brown roll pastry dough inside the kitchen. Their work typically starts around 4 a.m. 17Paige Degeorge (from left) and Dominic Dellaquila work on a batch of doughnuts. 18Production manager Kristen Rummel counts and boxes doughnuts intended for afternoon’s farmers markets. 19Fresh-cut doughnuts, ready for the sputtering oil. 20Sarah Willis strikes an artful balance carrying doughnuts to the walk-in fridge to chill.

Farm-to-Table Living Takes Root

Erich Schultz, head farmer at Agritopia in Gilbert, Ariz., watches over a group of chickens. Agritopia is one of a growing number of “agrihoods” across the country.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Erich Schultz, head farmer at Agritopia in Gilbert, Ariz., watches over a group of chickens. Agritopia is one of a growing number of “agrihoods” across the country.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Garrett Gruninger, 25, works in the field at Agritopia.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Mr. Gruninger and Simone Baker, 22, at work in the vegetable rows. Sixteen of Agritopia’s 160 acres are certified organic farmland.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Mr. Schultz talks with the developer and a resident of Agritopia, Joseph E. Johnston. 

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Nicki Teston works in her plot in the community garden at Agritopia.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Carrots pulled fresh from the field.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Agritopia boasts row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep).

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Mr. Schultz holds a day-old lamb.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

The hub of the community is a small square overlooking the farm where the market is open Wednesday night.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Ms. Baker talks with Janet Martinez of Queen Creek, Ariz., over a box of fresh produce.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

Residents pay $100 a month for fresh produce, eggs and honey.

Credit. Laura Segall for The New York Times

GILBERT, Ariz. — In many American suburbs, outward signs of life are limited to the blue glow of television screens flickering behind energy-efficient windows. But in a subdivision of this bedroom community outside Phoenix, amid precision-cut lawns and Craftsman-style homes, lambs caper in common green areas, chickens scratch in a citrus grove and residents roam rows of heirloom vegetables to see what might be good for dinner.

The neighborhood is called Agritopia, and it’s one of a growing number of so-called agrihoods, residential developments where a working farm is the central feature, in the same way that other communities may cluster around a golf course, pool or fitness center. The real estate bust in 2008 halted new construction, but with the recovery, developers are again breaking ground on farm-focused tracts. At least a dozen projects across the country are thriving, enlisting thousands of home buyers who crave access to open space, verdant fields and fresh food.

“I hear from developers all the time about this,” said Ed McMahon, a senior fellow for sustainable development at the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit real estate research group in Washington, D. C. “They’ve figured out that unlike a golf course, which costs millions to build and millions to maintain, they can provide green space that actually earns a profit.” Not to mention a potential tax break for preserving agricultural land.

Sixteen of Agritopia’s 160 acres are certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep). Fences gripped by grapevines and blackberry bushes separate the farm from the community’s 452 single-family homes, each with a wide front porch and sidewalks close enough to encourage conversation. A 117-unit assisted- and independent-living center is set to open this summer.

The hub of neighborhood life is a small square overlooking the farm, with a coffeehouse, farm-to-table restaurant and honor-system farm stand. The square is also where residents line up on Wednesday evenings to claim their bulging boxes of just-harvested produce, eggs and honey, which come with a $100-a-month membership in the community-supported agriculture, or C.S.A., program. Neighbors trade recipes and gossip, and on the way home can pick up dinner from one of a few food trucks stocked by the farm.

“Wednesday is the highlight of my week,” said Ben Wyffels, an engineer for Intel who moved here with his wife and two sons two years ago from another Phoenix suburb, attracted by the farm and the community’s cohesiveness. “To be able to walk down the street with my kids and get fresh, healthy food is amazing,” he said, and has helped steer his family toward kale and carrots and away from chicken nuggets and hot dogs.

This way of life does not come at a premium, either Mr. Wyffels, like residents of other agrihoods, said his home cost no more than similar houses in the area. And because the Agritopia farm is self-sustaining, as farms are in many of these developments, no fees are charged to support it, other than the cost of buying produce at the farm stand or joining the C.S.A.

Agritopia was among the first agrihoods — like Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga. Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Ill. South Village in South Burlington, Vt. and Hidden Springs in Boise, Idaho — established just as the real estate market collapsed. They have emerged intact, with property values appreciating and for-sale signs rare.

At Serenbe, all 152 homes are occupied and its 3 restaurants draw tourists from surrounding states. Builders are adding 10 custom homes, with plans to break ground on at least another 20 by year-end. The 7-acre organic farm, soon to expand to 25 acres, lured Vikki Baird, a fund-raising consultant, who moved to Serenbe last summer from the affluent Buckhead neighborhood in Atlanta. She had divorced, and said she was looking for a “healthy place” to settle. “You walk down the street, open your bag and say, ‘Give me what’s fresh this week,’ ” Ms. Baird said.

Newer developments include Willowsford in Ashburn, Va., which opened in 2011 and was named the National Association of Homebuilders’ 2013 suburban Community of the Year, largely because of its 30-acre farm and a culinary consultant who regularly teaches classes in how to prepare whatever is in season. The Kukui’ula community in Kauai, Hawaii, opened in 2012 and has a 10-acre farm in addition to a clubhouse, spa and golf course.

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“As a developer it’s been humbling that such a simple thing and such an inexpensive thing is the most loved amenity,” said Brent Herrington, who oversaw the building of Kukui’ula for the developer DMB Associates. “We spend $100 million on a clubhouse, but residents, first day on the island, they go to the farm to get flowers, fruits and vegetables.”

Mr. Herrington regularly fields calls from other developers who want to incorporate farms into their housing projects. At least a dozen new agrihoods are underway or have secured financing, including Bucking Horse in Fort Collins, Colo. Skokomish Farms in Union, Wash. Harvest in Northlake, Tex. Rancho Mission Viejo in Orange County, Calif. and Prairie Commons in South Olathe, Kan.

What to Cook This Week

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the week. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • A salty-sweet garlic and scallion marinade enhances these Korean beef burgers with sesame-cucumber pickles from Kay Chun.
    • If you can get your hands on good salmon at the market, try this fine recipe for roasted dill salmon.
    • Consider these dan dan noodles from Café China in New York. Outrageous.
    • How about crispy bean cakes with harissa, lemon and herbs? Try them with some yogurt and lemon wedges.
    • Angela Dimayuga’s bistek is one of the great feeds, with rice on the side.

    Their success or failure may depend on hiring the right farmer. Agritopia went through four before finding the right one.

    “This type of farming is hard and requires an incredible ability to multitask,” said Joseph E. Johnston, the developer and a resident of Agritopia, which sits on what was once his family’s farm. “I’m not sure most developers have the patience to really see it through and make it work.”

    Though Mr. Johnston’s father planted four kinds of commodity crops, like cotton and corn, a community farmer must plant a vast variety of highly perishable, organic (or at least not chemically treated) crops, then market them to residents and sell the excess at farmers’ markets and to local chefs. Agritopia sells to 20 highly regarded chefs, including Charleen Badman (a.k.a. the “Vegetable Whisperer”) of the restaurant FnB and Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco.

    “You have to be an excellent grower but also good at customer relations, business projections and labor controls,” Mr. Johnston said. “There’s no manual or anyone at the county extension service to tell you how to do this.”

    For guidance, many developers are turning to suburban farm consultants like Agriburbia in Golden, Colo., and Farmer D Organics in Atlanta, which assist in choosing farm sites, building the requisite infrastructure and hiring farmers who work for salary or in exchange for housing and proceeds of whatever they harvest.

    “The interest is so great, we’re kind of terrified trying to catch up with all the calls,” said Quint Redmond, Agriburbia’s chief executive. In addition to developers, he hears from homeowners’ associations and golf course operators who want to transform their costly-to-maintain green spaces into revenue-generating farms.

    Driving the demand, he said, are the local-food movement and the aspirations of many Americans to be gentlemen (or gentlewomen) farmers. “Everybody wants to be Thomas Jefferson these days,” he said.

    Take L. B. Kregenow, a lawyer who with her husband, David, a doctor, has contracted to build a home in the Skokomish Farms community southwest of Seattle.

    “I’m a foodie and interested in animal husbandry and cultivating my own wasabi and mushrooms,” Ms. Kregenow said. But she also likes to travel, which she said makes living in an agrihood ideal. “For me, the serious downside of farming is doing it on your own means, doing it 365 days a year,” she said. “But in this scheme we will have a farm without all the responsibility.”


    1. New York

    One of the largest states in the Northeast, New York easily slides in at number one on our list. The Empire State ranks third in hunter density nationwide (15.1 hunters per square mile), and while harvest numbers are competitive nationally, 54 percent of all bucks harvested were yearling deer.

    In fact, only 18 percent of all bucks harvest in New York were three and a half years old or older (fourth lowest nationally). This, combined with the highest average snowfall in the nation, means New York has a large number of hunters enduring miserable conditions and a hostile political climate (in New York, you pay extra for your bowhunting "privilege") to hunt a deer herd that is imbalanced at best.

    That, friends, is enough to earn New York the number one spot on our list of 10 Worst Deer Hunting States in the country.

    If you're tired of the crummy hunting in your neck of the woods, Ox Ranch in Texas has always been a haven for out of staters to come enjoy whitetail deer hunting.


    Fine Dining In Berlin: Hotel Michelberger Chef Alan Micks Rings In the Fall Harvest

    At 36, Limerick-born chef Alan Micks has worked all over the world, with stints at the five-star Lanesborough in London, in the grand hotel of his home country, Dublin's stately Merrion, in Melbourne and Auckland, as well as with Wiley Dufresne (WD 40)and Marcus Samuelson (Aquavit) in New York. It's only apt, then, that the wiry, black-haired Irishman has found his stove and made a big splash in Berlin, the Continent's burgeoning playground-for-the-global-literati, old-school and new.

    The Ferocious Celt In Repose: Alan Micks in the Michelberger dining room. (Photo: Guy Martin)

    For his part, Chef Micks is hitting a sweet mid-career stride, during which, every time he fires up the grill or picks up a knife, every culinary twist and turn of the vagabond years leap off the flame or the blade and onto the plate. Great chefs become composers in this phase of their lives their meals are symphonic, their cuisine is the history of their travels, and that is happening at Micks' stove right now. This week he kicks off his eclectic-yet-classic fall menu in the Hotel Michelberger, where he's been marshaling the hotel's all-organic offerings since 2014.

    Sashimi DeLuxe, Via Irish Fish Chowder: Cured wild North Sea trout, green apple and celeriac . [+] garnish, lemon sorrel, and almond milk. (Photo: Guy Martin)

    Whether you're bashing through Berlin on business or pleasure, Micks' broad menu, from North Sea-run trout to blood sausage with mashed potatoes to grilled mackerel with purslane, will stand up any number of repeated visits. Micks has his own hunter in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern countryside between Berlin and the North Sea who brings in the wild boar and venison, and who runs a team of foragers all summer long in the north German forests to supply Micks with rare wild herbs and berries, purslane, lemon sorrel, yarrow, rosehips, and fir shoots.

    The meeting of Micks and north Germany's organic farmers and hunters is a match that has taken some social and political engineering. Basically, the Wall had to fall. It's taken the full quarter-century since the fall of the Wall for the lovably insane organic farmers to tame the Mecklenburg and Brandenburg countryside, and those farms are now fueling a food revolution in Berlin that approximates what the Union Square Greenmarket did for the chefs of Manhattan twenty-five years ago. Alan Micks and his international staff at the Michelberger – a Frenchman, a Kiwi, a Belgian, an Irishman, and a German – are at the dagger point of that vanguard, and they easily lead Berlin in pure body-slamming culinary innovation, delivering an exquisitely-tuned mashup of old-German, French, Italian, Irish, English, and Pacific Rim influences.

    Autumn In The Brandenburg Woods and Fields: Grilled pointed cabbage, grilled mushrooms, roasted . [+] parmesan, mushroom broth. (Photo: Guy Martin)

    The poster-boy for that melange on the new menu is the wild sea-run trout paired with sorrel, a raw-apple-and-celeriac garnish, roasted almonds, and homemade almond milk.

    "We get the fish from the Danish-German fishermen in the islands off the coast, and we air dry the filets," says Micks with epic nonchalance, "the almonds come from Greece and are fat, so they give off a good rich milk when we grind 'em up. We get good apples in the fall, so we cut them lengthwise really fine, almost like tiny little french fries, but fresh."

    The result is a fresh, pillowy, protein-filled, sweet and tart bowl from the ocean and the woods, a raw, nutty chowder that could as easily come from Ireland as it could come from the South China Sea. It's that 8,000-mile reach that's key to understanding the Micks stove.

    Micks and the Michelberger have gained tremendous ground in the three years since he's been at the stove. The hotel, founded by Nadine May and Tom Michelberger in a former 19th-century factory building in East Berlin in 2009, has become the business-hang for the media and music executives from the offices along the eastern reaches of the River Spree – Universal has their offices directly across the river, and the dozens of clubs in Kreuzberg and Freidrichshain draw the city's new-media and music elite. Which is why the restaurant, and the hotel, are jammed to the rafters every night during Berlin's two annual fashion weeks. The private library bookable at the Michelberger, just above and behind Micks' kitchen, seats eighteen comfortably, for which people also queue.

    Fresh Off The Boat: Grilled mackerel, heirlooms, homemade ricotta, purslane and basil garnish. . [+] (Photo: Guy Martin)

    But even if you're just rolling in for a simple, fortifying weekday business lunch of bangers-and-mash, Micks has a surprise in store: an organic sausage, roasted and crumbled over his patented smoked-butter mashed potatoes. Berliners are not known for their love of mashed potatoes, but they're mad for this plate.

    The classic Micks interplay of the raw versus the cooked shows through on the entire card. The wild rose hips he gets from the foragers he crushes into sauces to garnish the quince-and-rice pudding. His bresaola comes from an organic, and lovably insane, buffalo farmer in Brandenburg.

    "Some things you have to cook," says Micks, summing up his brutal-yet-tender approach to managing the countryside bounty. "And some things you can just cook by cuttin' 'em with a good knife or hittin' 'em with a hammer."


    A Big Data Startup Factory: Frost Data Capital's Novel Recipe

    Frost Data Capital is pursuing a model for building and selling companies focused on big data and analytics that breaks many of the assumptions of traditional VC funds and incubators. Frost Data Capital’s founders are betting their model will lead to predictable success that will attract a new class of older, more stable entrepreneurial leadership who will build companies that are precisely targeted to enterprise needs. The hoped for result is a more predictable series of significant but modest exits.

    In essence the model amounts to this: By focusing on big data and analytics, assuming responsibility for coming up with the ideas, working with a network of large enterprises, employing seasoned, older executives as leaders, giving those leaders a stake in each others’ success, and providing lots of hands-on help, Frost Data Capital claims it will be able to make a much larger return for everyone involved.

    The key element here is win-percentage. If Frost Data Capital’s forgoes larger wins but does not achieve a higher rate of success, it is hard to see how the lower returns will make up for the losses. But, if Frost Data Capital can make this work, and it seems that other investment firms have to some extent, then it may have created a new type of incubator. Let’s take a closer look at how Frost Data Capital seeks to make this model work.

    Yeast cultures in an incubator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    ThingWorx as a Case In Point

    The purchase of ThingWorx by PTC last year provides an illustration of some of the principles that drive Frost Data Capital’s model. ThingWorx, an application building platform for the Internet of Things, was founded in 2009 by Russ Fadel, Rick Bulotta, and John Richardson. Fadel and Bulotta had previously founded Lighthammer, a system for manufacturing analytics that was purchased by SAP.

    When they founded ThingWorx, Fadel and Bulotta had many of the elements of what Frost says matters in place. They were experienced leaders, they had many relationships with established enterprise companies, and they were focused on a big data problem, although, unlike Frost, application development rather than analytics was the focus.

    ThingWorx executed with extreme focus, built the minimum viable product, got more wins, raised two rounds from Safeguard Scientifics, and then in 2013 they faced the challenge of scale, which led to a Frost-style exit. To fund the creation of a global sales team, ThingWorx either had to raise a significant amount of money, which would dilute the owners, or find another way of building a channel to reach a large number of customers.

    Discussions of a partnership with PTC, a software company that creates products for product and service lifecycle management, led to an acquisition for $112 million, with an earn out potentially worth another $18 million. In the first quarter, backed by PTC’s guarantee of long term viability and its much larger sales force, ThingWorx sold more product than it had since it was founded.

    This, as far as I can understand it, is the sort of win that Frost is looking for. ThingWorx had a solid business and technology logic from day one. ThingWorx then created and expanded a minimum viable product. They make sure the product was relevant by using their established network of enterprise customers to validate their vision. The exit came without having to invest in a massive infrastructure for expansion.

    While the exit price, $112 million, does not make the deal the next Google, it does provide a solid return for everyone involved. In addition, the ThingWorx executives now get to complete the product, grow the business, and reap further rewards with a lower risk profile.

    How Could the Frost Model Work?

    For Frost Data Capital to succeed it needs to change the win rate. Instead of getting a successful exit on 1 in 10 of its investments like a traditional Venture Capital firm, Frost aims to have half or more work out into an exit of from $100 million to $500 million. Let’s see how each of Frost’s assumptions contributes to this result.

    Focus on Big Data and Analytics: Big data turns the lights on and allows the creation of high resolution models of business activity. In most cases, these models first allow re-engineering of processes for efficiency and increased automation and eventually lead to stronger predictions. This area is broad enough to encompass hundreds of companies in different industries, and narrow enough to allow patterns to be discovered.

    Coming Up With The Idea: The Frost model is that its braintrust explores many ideas in conjunction with its enterprise partners and technology executives in its networks. While Frost may at times entertain pitches from entrepreneurs, the core model is that the braintrust selects and vets an idea and then assembles a management team. This model is a departure from most VC firms who field pitches, although it is not uncommon for a VC to assemble a team to pursue an idea that a partner feels strongly about.

    Hyper Hands On Stewardship: While most VCs provide some vague promise of help, they rarely follow up besides attending board meetings and the occasional opportunistic meeting. The Frost model is that the VC braintrust engages fully and never leaves. Making this model work requires physical co-location of the management team in San Juan Capistrano in California, which could be a limiting factor for recruiting talent, although it doesn’t seem to have been an issue to date. Heavy involvement also limits the maximum number of companies that can be developed simultaneously. It will be interesting to see of the Frost team wearies of this model.

    Working with Acquirers and Customers from Day One: Frost intends to increase the pace and likelihood of $100 million to $500 million exits by working with potential customers and acquirers from the beginning to the end of its process. While this approach will provide a lot of real world insights and help cut out weak ideas early in the process, it also has the potential of falling prey to the dynamics of the Innovator’s Dilemma. Will truly disruptive ideas also be cut?

    Use-value Acquisitions: The use-value of technology dwarfs the value harvested by the vendor. For example, when Accenture does a project to reduce days sales outstanding or some other key metric by using some fancy analytics and a new process or two, the implementation may cost $10 to $20 million, but the return to the company can be $100 million or more, in the first year. In subsequent years that return just piles up. When Google, Amazon, and Yahoo buy startups, they are often seeking to use that technology in their internal operations rather than sell it as a product. In other words, the justification is based on use-value, not on the potential of the technology to support a viable business. By maintaining its intimacy with large potential buyers who have massive global operations, Frost opens the door for more use-value acquisitions. Frost’s recently announced partnership with GE that is focused on the IOT should lead to this type of exit.

    Seasoned Leadership: Frost is not looking for CEOs who are the next Steve Jobs, dynamic leaders with irresistible magnetism. Rather, Frost is looking for leaders who are more like Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, solid managers with deep industry expertise. These people often face the conundrum of having deep expertise in an industry and the relevant technology without having a way to monetize it. Becoming a consultant means learning to sell services and run an organization, which is a task and skill these executive may not have. Rising inside a company means your return is limited. Frost offers this class of leader a way to put their deep expertise to work in a startup with some training wheels to reduce risk. Even if the potential exits may be smaller than the billion dollar enterprise home runs of Silicon Valley, like Splunk, for example, the path to success is less risky and the returns are far better than just having a job.

    Shared Success: One challenge of recruiting senior leaders, people Frost describes as “in their forties with young children” is that they are not likely to buy into a fantastic tale of eventual riches. They know that even with everything aligned according to the Frost model, things still may not work out. To provide a buffer against the worst case, Frost leaders are also given a stake in related companies in the portfolio so they can benefit from their success. Rikin Shah, Frost’s Chief Strategy Officer, said that that this model also encourages cooperation.

    Product Development Process: Frost finds inspiration in Eric Ries’s Lean Startup framework, Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Solution, Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, and the design thinking philosophy of the Stanford Design School. All of these sources have deep wisdom to impart, but startups are built from good ideas and great execution. It seems to me that Frost will spend more time designing and less time pivoting than most startups that adhere to the lean startup principles. There will also be tension between focusing on current needs of customers and being truly disruptive.

    How Different is the Frost Model?

    Frost is clearly different from the classic models of incubators full of energetic and brainy ingenues like Y-combinator or mega-VCs like Kleiner Perkins or Sequoia who get most of their deals fielding pitches.

    But there are elements of the model that are in play at other firms.

    +) At Incubaid, Kristof De Spiegeleer, CEO of the Belgian-based incubator, focuses on data center and cloud companies and uses a network of companies as early adopters.

    +) Lightspeed is known for coming up with the idea for companies and making them happen. Mobile Iron is a prominent example of a firm founded based on an idea from Lightspeed partner Tim Danford.

    +) Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and his partners often spend a year or more figuring out a market before making investments, as he explained at the Data Driven Meetup #18.

    +) Andreessen Horowitz and many other VC firms have internal consultancies that play a hands on role in marketing, hiring, PR, and other areas.

    +) There have been a couple of generations of incubators that have focused on specific markets and intended to provide additional support for ideas. IdeaLab is a good example here.

    But Frost does seem unique in combining all of the elements mentioned above and for essentially rejecting the portfolio approach. As mentioned, for Frost’s model to work, they will have to have a higher win percentage than the typical VC firm, but that’s a responsibility they seem happy to take on.

    Another aspect Frost is after is velocity. "At any given time, Frost Data Capital is considering ten to 15 ideas with the goal of starting around a company a month", says John Vigouroux, managing partner and president of Frost Data Capital.

    Dan Gordon, Technology Partner at Valhalla Partners, a DC-based VC firm, does not see how the model can work. “I think the gist of the Frost model -- that by careful selection and nurturing of the startup you can accept more modest winners in exchange for fewer losers -- is a bit like the Philosopher's Stone. Startup investors -- VCs, angels, incubators, and everyone else -- have been chasing one or more variant of this idea for years,” said Gordon.

    “The challenge to the Frost model is that you get only part of your wish: you get modest gains in your winners, but you don't get any more winners (or not enough more) than you would have in the ‘hits’ model. So you end up with the same (or essentially the same) # of winners propping up 70% losers, but the winners aren't breakouts. There's nothing about the model -- except for the Lean Launchpad stuff -- that prevents losers. Losers lose for all kinds of reasons, many of which are not anticipate-able.”

    But in doing the research for this article, several examples of investment firms and incubators that share many traits with Frost such as Cogo Labs, Accretive LLC, Betaworks, and the Kaplan/Techstars EdTech Accelerator collaboration. My next task in this research direction is to figure out what can be learned from the organizations that have chosen this strategy.

    What Does Victory Look Like?

    What happens if the Frost model works? Given how intimately Frost will be working with industry incumbents, it is more likely that a dramatic improvement within the current framework of an industry will be the outcome, rather than disruption of the status quo.

    In my view, Frost will spawn companies that will be absorbed into industrial portfolios. Sometimes the companies will become part of a portfolio, like Smart Signal was added to GE Intelligent Platforms. But in other cases, the technology will be purchased to provide a proprietary advantage, in other words, just for the use value within one organization.

    If Frost proves it has the ability to consistently and repeatably develop ideas that have massive use value, there is a better game to play. They should then forget about selling the companies and instead become a private equity firm, investing in companies and applying their insights related to big data to improve operations. This way, they could harvest all the use value at the companies they purchase and get even higher returns.


    Watch the video: Chinese executions exposed by rare photos (July 2022).


Comments:

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