by Alicia Lieu

We at KRL are excited about this our first Earth Day issue! We are focusing on many different and unique ways that people can Go Green and help the environment including Green Markets, e-book publishing, and more. We hope you check out our Earth Day related articles, along with the other articles in this issue! You can also check out more Going Green articles in KRL’s Going Green section!

Recipes at the end of this post!

While conversing with a chef friend one day in the break room, we talked about the Greenmarkets in New York where she grew up, and recalled a time when there were no Greenmarkets. She remembers a time when Union Square was known as “needle park.”

As a fairly recent New York transplant, I only know the city as a clean, safe, quiet and orderly place. Most Californians would not have this point of view. However, after having lived in Shanghai for two years before moving to New York City, the island of Manhattan is actually quite clean, safe, quiet, and orderly! I have also heard from New Yorkers who have been around longer than me, that New York used to be very different– a sketchy and dangerous place – and that Mayor Rudy Giuliani was responsible for cleaning up and transforming the city.

Starting in 1976, Greenmarkets have been springing up all over the city, including the boroughs. Markets are a wonderful way to buy locally grown foods, which is good for the environment as well as for your health. Many vendors offer organically grown produce including sustainable seafood and meats. Baked goods, jams, pasta, honey and maple products, mushrooms, sprouts, apple cider and dairy products are also available. Now that it is spring, many vendors are offering potted plants.

The location at Union Square is by far the largest and liveliest location happening on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Some locations even offer textile recycling, food scrap compost drop-offs, battery and mobile phone recycling. In the boroughs, Youth Market Farm Stands train young people from underserved areas of the city to operate a farm stand in their neighborhood, as well as their own business.

I was ecstatic to learn that there is also a location in my neighborhood, Jackson Heights. Jackson Heights is extremely diverse with residents of a variety of cultural backgrounds: East, South, and South East Asian, Central and South American, European. It was quite a remarkable sight to see one of the vendors from Sun Fed Beef, an Anglo, speaking to a Chinese customer in Mandarin. I ended up buying some shaved steak from this vendor because he presented his product so well and I was so impressed with his language skills.


Most recently, I visited the location on the Upper West Side, a short strip of vendors on Columbus Ave between 78th and 81st Street. The most intriguing product I found was NYC Roof-top Honey. This beekeeper has hives on different roof-tops of New York City and the honey produced is slightly sweeter than most brands. I decided to buy some because I had heard that eating local honey helps reduce allergy symptoms. Whether or not this is actually true, I figured it would be a delicious experiment!

NYC Rooftop Honey

It truly does feel good to buy locally, not just because the produce couldn’t be any fresher, but because you are also doing your part to be socially conscious and environmentally friendly.


Marinated Grilled Beef


1/3 cup olive oil (or combine w/sesame oil?)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar/or/lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp ginger, minced
2 medium red chilies, chopped, discard pith and seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp Szechuan pepper or fresh ground black pepper
2 lbs flank steak, sliced thinly at an angle cross grain

Mix marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Coat steak well and cover for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat grill pan high and coat with oil … Sear steak 4-6 minutes each side or to desired level. (Note steak will continue to cook when removed from heat)

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette


2 Tbsp honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or 1 tsp mustard powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix honey, mustard, shallots, salt & pepper together with vinegar. Gradually add oil, whisking to incorporate. Stir until fully emulsified.

Check back every month for Alicia’s next food column & check out past columns in our Food Fun section. You can follow Alicia on Twitter @AliciaJLieu.

Alicia Lieu grew up in Cupertino, California. She has Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Bachelor of Art from UC Santa Barbara. A New Yorker with the heart of a Californian, she currently resides in Queens, NY and blogs about food in Jackson Heights.


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