Thanks to the Department of Health’s insistence that all food vendors must have a food handling permit, as well as an approved commercial kitchen in which to make the food, the next Greenpoint Food Market (scheduled for June 26) has been canceled. Bah.
I guess it’s not terribly outrageous for the DOH to question the “safety” of the food we’re buying; we want the DOH looking out for our health (that’s their job after all, right?), but in this case it seems to be at the expense of the start-up, DIY concepts we hold dear at the L Magazine (because we are secret libertarians).
In place of the market, the coordinators will be hosting a Think Tank Potluck where vendors, city officials, and other food enthusiasts will brainstorm on how to keep the market running within the DOH’s guidelines. According to the market’s blog, the coordinators acknowledge that the market will inevitably change, moving to a wider audience and having vendors produce their food in a commercial kitchen rather than in their own homes. Yes, it’s awesome that the market isn’t folding completely, but does this signal the end of another great, truly underground institution, a la Market Hotel?
Leanna McCarthy of the jam, preserves, and chutney company Anarchy in a Jar (which, surprisingly, already has its food handler’s certification and works out of a restaurant kitchen) thinks the market will lose its “church bake sale kind of charm”—the market does operate out of a Church’s basement after all. The DIY aesthetic notwithstanding, Leanna thinks that DOH guidelines are necessary and beneficial, especially for larger vendors, but not so much for the, perhaps, NYU student who makes vegan cookies in her kitchen after coming home from her internship at the L Magazine (ahem…).
The Think Tank Potluck is on Saturday, June 26 at 1pm at the Church of Messiah (129 Russell Street between Nassau and Driggs Ave in Greenpoint) and everyone is invited. Bring your pitchforks! And your thinking caps! And your homemade tasty treats!