NYC Food Detective: Norwich Meadow Farms

Submitted by Jane Shuput on Tue, 01/06/2009 – 01:35

Posted by Ed Yowell, Slow Food NYC

Zaid Kurdieh, and his wife Haifa, started farming on a half acre just about ten years ago. “I guess it was more like gardening.” Zaid admits, but producing food suited them. By 2000, they moved to a larger scale when they assumed cultivation of Norwich Meadow Farms in Norwich, N.Y.   Since then, Zaid and Haifa have steadily increased acreage under cultivation and erected high tunnels to expand the growing season.

Increased production has enabled them to deliver their produce to more Greenmarkets, an expanding number of Norwich and New York City CSAs, and one steady restaurant customer, Jimmy’s No.43 on East 7th Street in Manhattan, that sources vegetables almost exclusively from Norwich Meadows Farm. Other restaurants sourcing regularly at the Union Square Norwich Meadows farm stand include Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café.

While Zaid and Haifa do not characterize their farming practices as Eco-Halal, their farm is certified organic and Zaid raises and slaughters chickens according to Halal rules.  Zaid states, “We dedicate our God-given energies to strive to grow food as it was created… as keepers of the earth, we promise to preserve agricultural land and use it in a manner that is economically, ecologically, and ethically sound.”

This year, Zaid and Haifa are taking advantage of the opportunity to offer pickles, preserves, and sauces made from Norwich Meadows Farm vegetables and fruits.
Their winter Greenmarket presence is good for Norwich Meadows Farm, enabling them to stabilize their work force throughout the year; good for our regional food shed, increasing the amount of cultivated acreage; and good for the winter Greenmarket, as more farmers, offering more products, help maintain Greenmarket as a shopping destination, even during the cold, short days of deep winter.

And, buying local during the winter is good for your carbon foot print.  With products like Zaid’s and Haifa’s, winter farmers market-based cooking isn’t just a dutiful act of ecological penance…salads of apples and dried fruits with honey or maple syrup and cider vinegar dressing and mashes of Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, and pickled beets are the stuff of great winter meals.



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