Fresh Garden, the long-awaited quasi-organic grocery that has titillated Fort Greene foodies for weeks, finally opened on Friday.
But is it all the Fort Greene foodies had been hoping for? After all, everyone from the chair of the Fort Greene Association to anonymous blog commenters had professed excitement at the prospect of fresh asparagus at reasonable prices within just a few blocks of home.
So, here’s the scoop (of soy ice cream):
This columnist stopped by the greenish fooderie, on Fulton Street near South Elliot Street, on Sunday at around 3 pm to check out the long-anticipated addition to the Fort Greene grocery store scene.
Fresh Garden, a bigger version of proprietor Kay Lee’s 17 Greene Farm, had certainly stocked some of the victuals so craved by today’s young, urban professionals: Amy’s organic vegetarian baked beans ($3.29 a can), Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt ($4.49 a tub), Sabra classic humus ($3.79 a saucer), and, of course, baby bok choy ($2.99 per pound).
As far as this vegetarian was concerned, the selection was OK. It was certainly a step up from the sorry produce at the Pathmark at Atlantic Center and the lack of produce at Elly’s Market, the glorified bodega on DeKalb Avenue. Sure, Bravo and Associated on Myrtle Avenue are perfectly nice, but they’re a bit far-flung for the south Fort Greene resident.
But, damn, at least they’re affordable! At Fresh Garden, we are certainly paying for atmosphere. Elly’s, for one, sells its Stonyfield for 50 cents less, and Bravo has it for just $2.25.
“It’s expensive,” said a woman named Christina, who did not want to give her last name so as not to sour her relationship with the Lees. “I often to go to Fairway to get gourmet butter. It’s $6 here and $2 there. That’s a huge difference. But I don’t want to dis on the people — they’re nice and trying hard.”
Prices weren’t the only lump in the mashed potatoes.
Loath as I am to air their flesh-eating concerns, the omnivores (including Christina) had some other beefs with Fresh Garden.
“It’s still pretty limited as far as seafood and stuff,” said Demian Bolden, who’d just exited the shop with some groceries.
Oren Bernstein, another visitor, agreed.
“If it’s going to be a mirror image of their other store, than we don’t need it,” said Bernstein. Though he added, with tender hope in his voice, “I think they’re on their way.”
After all, Lee herself said she was listening to customer requests and hoped to get fish and meat within the next couple of weeks.
“People who have come and checked it out have said they’re really happy about it so far,” said Lee.
She added that soon, to accommodate Fort Greene’s night owls, the store would even be open 24 hours a day.
A Fort Greene grocery open for my 2 am cravings? Now, that ain’t bad. But could we slash some prices, please? I may be lazy, but the bargains at Trader Joe’s are only a subway ride away.
Dana Rubinstein is a staff reporter at The Brooklyn Paper.
Speaking of Fresh Garden, we hear the proprietor’s next project will be a Korean restaurant. …
And speaking of restaurants, during a recent visit to the Il Torchio on Myrtle Avenue, the kindly blond waiter told us that within a couple of weeks, the popular eatery would expand into its neighboring space. Not bad for a boite that’s been around for a whopping eight weeks. …
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