We arrived at my friends’ Zoya and Jules’s Brooklyn apartment on Friday evening after our long drive from Shenendoah. John was excited about the possibility of sleeping in the van parked on the streets of NYC – a proposition that doesn’t appeal to me in the least, so I had arranged to stay with Zoya and Jules while John stayed in the van. We both appreciated the time apart, after living in such close quarters for the last month.
John stayed in Brooklyn on Friday then headed into Manhattan to spend his birthday with his friends, while I visited with mine. I had arranged to host my closest friends at a barbecue that evening in the East Fourth Street Community Garden, where I was a member during my time in Brooklyn and where I first met Zoya and Jules. As it turned out, Zoya was also hosting an afternoon of workshops on food preservation for the Kensington/Windsor Terrace CSA – a canning workshop followed by a sauerkraut workshop, taught by Michaela Hayes of Crock & Jar. I had a lot of errands to run so I couldn’t make both. I decided to skip the sauerkraut workshop, because I already learned how to make sauerkraut from Michaela! In February, Zoya and I participated in a four-week winter vegetable fermentation class at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
After breakfast, my first errand was to get grillable veggies from the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket, a stop part of my regular weekly routine when I lived in the borough. It was great to be back in a place where I could bicycle to my errands – bikeable streets are a top priority for me in choosing my next hometown. I rode my folding bike to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket through Prospect Park. After spending most of summer in Florida, where summer is the off-season for fresh veggies, I cannot get enough farmer’s markets (not that I could get enough of farmers’ markets even BEFORE the summer). I wanted to buy everything, but had to limit myself to what I could carry on the bicycle. One advantage of a folding bike over a full-sized on is that the tires are small, so it is possible to hang a bag off the center of the handlebars. This was a major advantage for me shopping this day – I was not limited to what could fit in my backpack. On the way back to Windsor Terrace through the park, I ended up in a yelling match with some spandex-clad cyclists acting like self-righteous jerks. Such is life in Brooklyn.
Back at Zoya’s, Michaela was setting up for the workshops. Zoya and I walked over to the CSA pick-up in the community garden to collect a large box of amazing fresh produce to use in the workshop – a rainbow of string beans for dilly beans and so many lovely ripe tomatoes. The canning workshop was such an awesome addition to my day. I had helped make dilly beans once before, so I knew it was easy and had for years meant to start canning vinegar pickles, and this workshop was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with a great teacher and learn from her how to safely make the delicious goods. Pickled string beans, carrots and asparagus are so expensive to purchase and yet so easy to make – I may even attempt small quantities in the van! A potluck lunch followed the workshop. Another professional fermenter, JoJo, maker of amazing sriracha’s, arrived with a friend who cooks at Angelica Kitchen. CSA and community garden potlucks are always sensational taste experiences, add dishes prepared by food professionals and this lunch was truly heavenly.
After eating the amazing lunch, I ran out before the sauerkraut workshop to continue my errands. I first visited Nankie at 2001 Haircutting Creations, who has been cutting my hair for the past five years. I had meant to visit her a final time in my last few weeks living in the neighborhood, but I ran out of time, so I was glad to have to opportunity to say good-bye. From there I stopped by Cut Brooklyn to have my amazing chef’s knife sharpened, but unfortunately the shop was closed for the day. The next stop was for beer. I had borrowed a couple growlers from Zoya and took them to Bierkraft. Most of my fellow customers were also sporting bike helmets and growlers. I felt very much at home 🙂
Back at Zoya’s I said goodbye to Michaela, loaded up on supplies, and headed to the garden to start dinner. The weather was great and everyone had a great time catching up. A perfect end to a perfectly Brooklyn day. I wish I had remembered to take pictures, but I was enjoying the company of good friends’ too much to think of such logistics.