By Deborah Lubanga
Riverpark Restaurant, which is located in the East Tower of the Alexandria Center for Life Science, opened in 2010. The following year, the restaurant and Alexandria Center partnered up to start Riverpark Farm, which supplies fresh produce for the restaurant and inspires its seasonal menu.
Claytonia (pictured) is one of almost 100 different crops being grown on the farm this year. This leafy green, along with everything else on the farm, is grown in recycled milk crates. So the “farm” is actually 3,000 crates spread over 10,000 square feet on the north side of the Alexandria Center plaza.
Riverpark Farm supplies the restaurant with fresh French Breakfast Radishes (pictured), which are roasted whole and served with anchovy butter as a side dish. The radishes and all other crops are harvested daily to ensure flavor and quality. Anything not grown on the farm comes from local farms and farmers’ markets.
Riverpark Farm uses organic and mineral fertilizers as well as compost from kitchen scraps in its soil. Moreover, farm manager Zach Pickens plants strategically so the soil is always ready for the next crop. For example, green peas (pictured) add nitrogen to the soil, which is good for growing tomatoes.
Riverpark Restaurant has a combination of in- and outdoor seating, which gives diners a view of the East River and the farm. During the height of the growing season – from May to November – visitors can tour the farm and participate in free planting workshops.
Riverpark Restaurant is located at 450 E 29th St. New York, NY 10016.
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