Reviving a Culture of Markets in the Seaport District: Fulton Stall Market

by Deirdre Appel
Fulton Stall Market

Name: Fulton Stall Market

What They Do: Fulton Stall Market is a nonprofit public market that connects regional farmers and producers with the growing Lower Manhattan community. Situated in the Seaport District, the market’s venue is rich with history. In the 17th century, the neighborhood was a key outpost for the Dutch West India Company. Starting in the 1790’s, the city’s first indoor public markets were established, including the first indoor Fulton Market in the 1830’s . By the mid-1800s, the Seaport District was a vibrant, bustling commercial hub, and home to the famous nighttime Fulton Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish market in the country. However, by the 1960s, the daytime neighborhood was almost completely deserted as commercial shipping declined, until the South Street Seaport Museum was established to preserve the city’s maritime history. Today, thanks in part to the creation of the Seaport Historic District,  NYC EDC redevelopment initiatives and organizations like the Seaport Museum and the Fulton Market Association, which operates the market, the Seaport District is reclaiming its history as NYC’s oldest market district.

Fulton Stall Market operates as an indoor market during the week and an outdoor market on Sundays. In addition to offering delicious sandwiches and soups to go made from the fresh products in the market, the market arranges community events and activities such as family cooking classes, “Meet-the-Farmer “school workshops and tastings and demos by its small-batch food producers.

The Fulton Stall Market’s Sunday Outdoor Farmers Market, located on Pier 17, features about 20 producers every Sunday from April through December. The outdoor market kicked off its fifth season on April 28th with a rotating display of local specialty food producers.

The indoor Fulton Stall Market, located in a historic building around the corner at 91 South Street, operates daily year-round and offers local farmers and producers in the outdoor market and others from the NY region, shelf space and refrigerators for their products on consignment. The market is open daily from 11:30AM to 6:00PM and offers local food products from over 100 farmers and small-batch specialty food producers as well as prepared foods and snack items made in New York City by small-scale entrepreneurs, many of whom are women and minority-owned businesses. It is linked to the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s citywide network of historicIndoor Public Markets and public and private shared-use incubator kitchens in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, whose many small-scale food producers and vendors represent a cross-section of NYC’s immigrant food cultures and cuisines.

In addition to the traditional shopping experience, the Fulton Stall Market also offers customers the opportunity to sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, which is a food production and distribution system that allows consumers to buy “shares” of a farm’s harvest in advance and then receive a portion of those crops as they’re harvested. The ongoing Spring Farm Share Program runs for twelve weeks, from March to June 13, and the Summer CSA program will start on June 20. CSA customers choose among 13 different farm-share options that, depending on the customer’s selection, include products such as fresh Hudson Valley vegetables and fruits, Catskill pastured poultry and meats, Long Island seafood Vermont cheese and Pennsylvania mushrooms.

How They Do It: the Fulton Stall Market was co-founded by Bob Lewis, a regional food system planner who has been a driving force in the local food movement for more than 40 years. Lewis is the co-founder of Greenmarket, a program of GrowNYC, a unique nonprofit organization in the NYC Mayor’s office , that aims to strengthen regional agriculture by providing small family farms with the opportunity to sell their locally grown products directly to consumers, and to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, nutritious and affordable locally grown food the region has to offer. What was started in a vacant lot by Lewis and his co-founder, Barry Benepe, in 1976 became the first retail farmers market to be located in Manhattan in decades. Riding their motivation to revive the tradition of farmers markets in NYC, the two founders have helped spark the creation of over 125 farmers markets in all five boroughs. Almost 45 years later, Lewis is still contributing to that list with the creation of Fulton Stall Market – the first indoor farmers market.

Mission: Securing a source of healthy, fresh food for Lower Manhattan; supporting small-scale farmers and local agriculture; revitalizing the Seaport District with farmers market activity, providing retail outlet for NYC based small batch food producers; educating consumers about local agriculture and healthy food; and providing information on local agritourism destinations

Latest project/campaign: The Fulton Stall Market store located at 91 South Street is the only indoor, year-round farmers market in New York City. While it may be small compared to your average grocery store, Fulton Stall Market hopes to expand to a larger, 10,000 square-foot indoor public market that will enable some of its farmers and producers to operate a 7 day a week market stall, offering produce for home use as well as ready to eat prepared foods made from their own products  and honoring and celebrating the neighborhood’s market history.

Funding: Small proceeds from retail sales of consigned local products on behalf of farmers and producers, from CSA memberships, and from sales of a small menu of prepared foods made from farmers products, plus space fees at the weekly outdoor market

 Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Revenue: N/A

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: In addition to the indoor and outdoor markets, the CSA, the market-to-go kitchen and educational workshops the market hosts a diverse array of outdoor and indoor market events and agritourism festivals with its event partner Escapemaker.com, including the 40 producer outdoor Applepalooza in September, an outdoor Ithaca Craft Beverage Fest in June  outdoor NYC Public Market Showcases in the Fall, and indoor food events including in June and July a pesto-making demo, a Puglia farm-to-table cooking and Slow Money’s Good Food Spotlight, an interactive food business event where entrepreneurs share business challenges and gain feedback from a panel of food business investors and experts.

Finally, to underscore its focus on linking consumers and producers, the Fulton Stall Market helped establish a  unique block long photo-exhibit mural installation based on the book “Organic Farmers of the Hudson Valley”  along Beekman and Front Sts. two blocks from its home on 91 South St.  The 21 portraits enables the Seaport community and visitors to “meet”  some of the farmers who supply the market as well as read heir personal organic philosophies. This is just another way the organization is working to personalize the grocery-shopping experience.

FACT SHEET

Location: The Fulton Stall Market is located at 91 South Street, between Fulton and John Streets in the Seaport District. It is open daily from 11:30AM to 6:00PM. The Sunday Outdoor Market is located at Pier 17 Square at Fulton and South Sts. the Seaport District and held every Sunday from 11:00AM to 5:00PM, Late April to Thanksgiving Week.
Core Programs: Farmers markets, CSA, educational workshops, market-to-go foods, events.
Number of staff: 4
Number of volunteers: 5
Areas served:  Seaport District of Lower Manhattan
Year Started: 2015
Director/Founder: Bob Lewis and nonprofit board of Fulton Market Association, Inc.
Contact Information: http://fultonstallmarket.org/visit or email [email protected]
Website: http://fultonstallmarket.org/

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