Fresh produce and family farms: Find New York City’s best farmers markets

May 16, 2023

The Jackson Heights Greenmarket; Photo by Amanda Gentile Photography courtesy of GrowNYC

Nine times a week, a driver arrives at Phillips Farm in Milford, New Jersey, at 2 a.m. to load up fresh fruits and vegetables onto a truck. The goods then make the approximately 70-mile trek to New York City and arrive around sunrise to be sold at one of the city’s various farmers markets. At around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., the booth is packed up and the driver heads back, arriving home at around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. The farm has been selling in NYC since 1990.

Photo courtesy of Phillips Farms

It’s hard work, says farm owner Marc Phillips. “There’s no fun in an 18-hour day.” But there is satisfaction, he says, in seeing his product reach the hands (and mouths) of customers.

“Being in the market when it’s a good day, good weather, and customers are in a good mood. It’s enjoyable. It’s satisfying to see people enjoy the product,” he said. “We are selling something tangible — not this mythical thing in the cloud. It’s very real and very basic. People gravitate towards that I think. We grow it, sell it, see someone buy it. It’s from A-Z, we’re not putting it in a box and shipping it.”

Phillips’ farm is just one of many area farms that make the pilgrimage into the city every week to sell their fresh goods to New Yorkers — from produce to flowers, dairy products, meat, and bakery items.

“It’s definitely a good service for people in the city. They get fresh produce, meet the farmers, and make a connection with the farm,” said Phillips. “The variety of products is unique and … for us, it gives us a good marketing outlet.” His farm also sells locally in New Jersey and has a pick-your-own season.

Providing New Yorkers with fresh food while supporting local agriculture is what GrowNYC is all about. The program, which has been around since the 1970s, puts on nearly 50 markets, which they call Greenmarkets, in all five boroughs of the city. In addition to the Greenmarket program, GrowNYC focuses on education, green spaces and going zero-waste.

“We work to strengthen food security, reduce food miles, and support the sustainable agriculture economy in our region. With nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity, and climate change posing a threat to our regional agriculture system, our mission is more pressing than ever,” Liz Carollo, Assistant Director of Food Access and Agriculture at GrowNYC said of the Greenmarkets.

According to GrowNYC, the first Greenmarket opened in 1976. And to this day, all Greenmarkets are producer-only, which means, “participants must sell what they have grown, caught, raised, or foraged, a system verified by our robust application process and inspections team.”

At Phillips Farm, production began long before the Greenmarkets did. The farm has been in Phillips’ family since the early 1800s. Today, Phillips said his wife and his son are also involved in the day-to-day work, keeping it all in the family. And that’s by choice.

“I like a good challenge, and there’s nothing more challenging than agriculture. I like being outside, I enjoy growing things and seeing the end user,” he said. “I live on the farm; I drive across the field to get to the office. It’s a lifestyle of work, but it’s what we’ve chosen.”

Farms like Phillips’ are important to the local economy and the environment.

“Many Greenmarket farmers use environmentally sound growing practices that help mitigate climate change and protect land, waterways, and local wildlife,” Carollo said. “Crop diversity builds resiliency into our food system by reducing our reliance on a limited number of fruits and vegetables and plant varieties so that we can adapt to climate shifts and environmental degradation. In addition, crop rotation, changing the crops grown in the field seasonally, leads to healthier soils, reduced erosion, and carbon sequestration.”

For this reason, among others, GrowNYC also has a program to support local farmers by educating “aspiring farmers with agricultural experience from predominantly marginalized communities to establish their own economically and environmentally sustainable farm businesses in the NYC region. Our goal is to ensure the long-term viability of participating farms and farmland in NYC’s foodshed,” said Carollo.

When asked why it’s important to support local agriculture, Phillips mentioned fresh food, quality, food safety, and supporting local businesses and small family farms. “I think those are good reasons,” he said.

We have highlighted some of the major farmers markets in NYC below, and for a full list of NYC’s Greenmarkets, click here.

The Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Greenmarket; Photo by Amanda Gentile Photography courtesy of GrowNYC


Bowling Green
Broadway and Battery Place
Tuesdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Thursdays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
47th Street at Second Avenue
Wednesdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Isham Street between Seaman Avenue and Cooper Street (outside of Isham Park)
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tompkins Square
Avenue A and East 7th Street
Sundays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Chambers Street and Greenwich Street
Wednesdays, 8: a.m.- 2 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

All photos by James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft. Photos are not to be reproduced without written permission from 6sqft

Union Square
Broadway at 17th Street; North and West side of Union Square Park
Mondays, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesdays, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fridays, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Photo of the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket courtesy of GrowNYC


Brooklyn Borough Hall
Court Street and Montague Street
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tuesdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Carroll Gardens
Carroll Street, between Smith and Court Streets
Sundays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Fort Greene Greenmarket; courtesy of GrowNYC

Fort Greene Park
Washington Park between Dekalb Avenue and Myrtle
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Grand Army Plaza
Prospect Park West and Flatbush Avenue
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

McCarren Park
North 12th Street and Union Avenue
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Jackson Heights Greenmarket; Photo by Amanda Gentile Photography courtesy of GrowNYC


Forest Hills
106-28 Queens Boulevard
Sundays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Jackson Heights
34th Avenue, between 79th and 80th Streets
Sundays, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

43rd Street and Skillman Avenue
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Norwood Farmstand
East Gun Hill Road and DeKalb Avenue
Thursdays, Year-round, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Morris Heights Farmstand
University Avenue, between West 179th and West 180th Streets
Wednesdays, Year-round, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


St. George
St. Marks Place and Hyatt Street
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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