I was invited by SusanSez NYC to experience the inaugural Farm to Fork Tour, a food tour that aims to show people the healthiest, freshest, and cleanest food in New York City. Our tour met on the corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Marks Place in the East Village area of Manhattan.
Upon arrival, participants were given a bottle of water and a packet, which contained information about NYC companies who produce or use local foods. We departed from the corner and moved through the East Village while discussing some of the neighborhood stores and the role that they played in the immigration history of the area.
We passed by J. Baczynsky Meat Market on 2nd Avenue and talked about the fact that it is the last remaining European meat market in New York City. We then continued up 2nd Avenue and stopped by the former site of the locally famous 2nd Avenue Deli, which has now been replaced with a Chase bank.
We continued along 2nd Avenue and turned east onto E. 10th Street, which Susan calls ‘the healthiest street in NYC’. We stopped to learn about the history of the neighborhood and visit a few of the shops on the street such as The Molecule Project (259 E. 10th Street) which produces purified water, Live Live (261 E. 10 Street) where we savored organic and raw snacks, and Jennifer’s Way (263 E. 10 Street) where we devoured gluten free cookies.
After stuffing our faces, we walked through Tompkins Square Park where we learned some of the history of the park and the bad rap it got after the rioting during the latter part of the 19th century and then again in the latter part of the 20th century.
After leaving the park, we made our way up Avenue B, where we stopped briefly at Back Forty (190 Avenue B) to sample some poutine and rosemary fries. We learned how connected Back Forty is with the farmers who produced and butcher the food that they sell; Susan even joked that the owner knew the name of each and every pig and cow that would later be served in the restaurant. After we finished eating, we made our way to El Sol Brilliante Community Garden (530 E. 12 Street) to rest in the shade and sample fresh honey.
After resting, we got back up and headed down Avenue A making a quick pit-stop at Westville East (173 Avenue A) for some brussel sprouts. We concluded the tour back at Tompkins Square Park at the Tompkins Square Greenmarket (E 7th & Avenue A), where we sample produce and drinks from regional farmers such as Red Jacket Orchards (Ontario County, NY) and Ronnybrook Farm (Dutchess County, NY).
What I liked about the tour: I really liked learning about healthy food options that exist in the Lower East Side/East Village area. Taking this tour let me discover places I otherwise might not have found out about on my own. Susan is a fast-walking and funny woman who likes to keep her participants engaged in the tour process. I also liked the the group was small, so it was relatively easy to keep everyone together. Who this tour is for: People who like to learn about healthy food options and who like to support New York’s local food producers. Like a true New Yorker, Susan moves fast, so you have to keep up!
More about SusanSez NYC Walkabouts: With “New York” wit, Susan Birnbaum takes you off the beaten path to explore New York City’s history and food culture. Susan currently hosts 8 tours including The Real Little Italy on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, the Immigrant Experience on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and the Farm-to-Fork Tour where you can eat locally all year around. You can find out more on Susan’s website at www.susansez.com. Thank you to Susan for providing me with the opportunity to experience her inaugural Farm-to-Fork Tour! All opinions are my own.
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