This 7th Generation Farmer Keeps the Neighborhood’s Greenmarkets Fruitful

Sawyer Kent, left, with an employee.

Text and photographs by Stephen Harmon

Upper West Siders are very lucky to have access to wonderful greenmarkets (listed below.) These markets attract farmers from various counties in upstate New York and New Jersey, offering the freshest, high-quality fruit, vegetables, baked goods, cheeses, flowers, and other farm products.

One of the oldest and finest farm vendors is the Locust Grove Fruit Farm from Milton-on-Hudson, 80 miles north of Manhattan. It says on the truck that the farm has been operating since 1820, over 200 years.

Sawyer Kent.

Locust Grove is owned and operated by the Kent family. The young man seen here is Sawyer Kent, a seventh generation Kent operating the family farm today. Mr. Kent told me Locust Grove comprises about 100 acres, growing numerous varieties of orchard fruit — apples, pears and other seasonal fruits, such as peaches and plums, as well as berries, grapes, squash and other produce.

The photographer’s wife, Cynthia, happy with her squash.

Mr. Kent said it takes about 25 people to do the hard work required to care for all of the orchard trees and the farm fields. Locust Grove participates in two UWS greenmarkets — 97th Street and Tucker Square — which requires the workers to get up about three to four in the morning to make the one-and-one-half-hour drive from upstate New York and set up.

Mr. Kent also told me he hopes to marry his girlfriend and maybe there will be an eighth generation Kent to run the farm.

Below are the three major greenmarkets on the Upper West Side. Click on them for their locations, hours, and offerings. If you know of others in the vicinity, please list them in the comments.

77th/79th Street Greenmarket

97th Street Greenmarket

Tucker Square Greenmarket

FOOD, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Gena Reisner says:

      Broadway from 113th to 116th, Thursdays and Sundays. Terrific greenmarket.

    2. Anne Bard says:

      Great to these vibrant photos by Stephen Harmon in this informative piece. Thanks!

    3. LivableCity says:

      Additional vendor shout out: Tucker Square Market is indeed a gem (hours are usually Sat 8-4 depending on weather – most vendors are there til 2 at least. Thursday has other vendors). Saturday brings not only the Locust Grove farm with their great fruit and veggies, but also ANOTHER 200+ year-old, 7th-generation family farm from the Milton area – Prospect Hill Orchards. (Full disclosure – a distant cousin married in to Prospect Hill’s Clarke farming family and helped start the pick-your-own trend back in the 1970s). As well as fab apples, their apple-almond granola, baked goods and jams are the best!

    4. js says:

      Morningside Park Farmers Market
      Saturdays on 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue

      Not part of the NYC Greenmarket – this is sponsored by Friends of Morningside Park

    5. Robert Ruff says:

      For 25 years I’ve bought fruit every week from Locust Grove. They are a NYC treasure. 3 corrections: never saw Sawyer Kent. Ever. Lucas expertly manages their Green Markets. The “employee” is Michael, a really good guy. You’ll find them at Union Square Wed. & Sat., 97th on Friday mornings, and also Tucker Square.

    6. MC says:

      If you’re interested in knowing more about the history of the West 97th Street market, take a look at this recording of a program that the Bloomingdale Nieghborhood History Group presented a few months ago.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Tvw_WHPIo
      If that link doesn’t work, check out the group’s website at upperwestsidehistory.org
      Enjoy!

    7. Kit says:

      My family relies on Mr. Kent and others for the freshest everything including eggs and delicious apple cider. Thank you, over and over again for your very hard work!

    8. Marilyn says:

      Why not mention the one by Columbia???????