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produce in flushing


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produce in flushing

john farago | Jul 1, 2003 08:06 PM

i did a quick search and didn't find anything about this on the boards, so i'm spilling my guts with what continues to strike me as an unfolding mystery of flushing, something between an urban legend, a rite of passage, and the menu for a meal catered by a couple of rival street gangs:

as you may know, NYC abounds in specialized high schools; there's one in queens that specializes in training airplane mechanics, of course there's music and art, and performing arts, but there's also one, and only one, that has an agriculture program and a working farm -- john bowne high school, just south of the LIE on main street in flushing

on days that i can't really figure out but roughly tracking the nyc schools' summer school calendar, edging more towards the mid to late summer than now, the farm runs a farmstand, more like a bunch of kids and a pile of not very pretty vegetables heaped in front of the school, and sold for a pittance (an often negotiable pittance, and, if negotiation fails, on occasion if you sound authoritative you can convince the kid at the till that 5x9=32); but there are two secrets lurking in the shadows of the tractor:

first, the produce is often EXTREMELY good, and the eggs come from chickens running around behind the school (or probably cooped up behind the school, but they were laid that very morning and are genuinely wonderful eggs) and the tomatoes are ugly to look at but really are vine ripened and incredibly fresh and last summer were the very best i found anywhere in the city

second, though the stand can be hard to find they have a room just inside the front door that sells produce even when the stand is not out, on school days and summer school days, including eggs and whatever else they have -- just ask the guard about the store, or call the school and ask what the store's hours and schedule will be

it ain't future farmers of america, more of these kids will be subway conductors than agribusinesspeople, but their toil makes a hell of a tomato and i'd like to hear about it if you find a better egg

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