On a sunny, brisk day, farmers were harvesting baby red bok choy and gathering herbs before the impending frost. An autumn scene in the bucolic countryside? Not exactly: This unique farm is located smack dab in the urban grid of Manhattan. And all the fresh produce is put to use by Sisha Ortuzar, chef and partner—and part-time farmer—at the adjacent Riverpark restaurant and its supplier, Riverpark Farm. The farm, which was once a stalled building site, is now a 15,000-square-foot food machine made up of an ingenious system of double-stacked milk crates that have been repurposed as planters.
Growing in all those milk crates is a variety of seasonal foods that, prepped correctly, can give you a jolt of nutrients you might think are disappearing as quickly as the daylight and warm weather. Seasonal fall produce has some of the highest levels of immune-boosting nutrients like vitamins A and C and minerals such as selenium, which you’ll need to ward off colds and flu. Here are Ortuzar’s tips for cooking your farmers’ market (or garden) finds, and a recipe from his restaurant for a superfood fall salad that you’ll want to make all season:
Oblong, striped delicata squash is one of the varieties of winter squash grown at Riverpark Farm. It’s sweet and full of fiber and potassium, as well as an excellent vegetarian source of vitamin A, which comes mostly from meat and fish and is essential for keeping your immune system healthy. “Any squash is always best when roasted,” Ortuzar says. “You can serve cubes of roasted delicata squash cold in green or grain salads; they’re also great when stuffed.”