New York City has a plethora of markets, many of them staffed by the farmers who grow the food. While talking with a producer can demystify many of the steps from seed to tote, chit-chat is no substitute for actually visiting the farm. Cue RootedNY, a local farm tour service founded by Amanda Fuller and Clarissa Delap that bridges the gap between earnest consumers and accommodating producers.
Fuller and Delap were first-year college roommates at NYU, but their professional paths were not to cross until they decided to embark on this farm tour venture. “It is the natural progression of interest in local and sustainable food,” says Fuller.
The original idea for the project started with Delap and their mutual friend Mark Drahozal. They worked on it as a side project and participated in the Brooklyn Public Library PowerUP! business plan competition during the summer of 2014. Taking advantage of this opportunity helped turn the idea into a full-time endeavor that harnessed Delap’s professional museum tourism background, Fuller’s business experience and their common interest in food.
These days, Rooted NY offers both private and public tours (weekends only, varying according to the seasons). Private tours are catered to the group’s interests and can be scheduled with any of the seven partners: Fishkill Farms, Sprout Creek Farm, Blue Island Oyster Company, Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market, Bobolink Dairy, Tassot Apiaries and forager Steve Brill. All of these partners already have an established educational program or are accustomed to receiving visitors. They’re also all located within a 90 mile radius, use sustainable practices and sell their products in the city. The women recommend their private tours for school or alumni groups, corporate outings (general networking, team building or industry-focused) and groups of friends (social clubs, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, etc.).
They’ve got a couple more public tours left this season including a foraging, farming and distilling excursion on Sunday, October 18, at Black Dirt Distilling in Warwick, NY, for $110, and a behind the scenes look at several of Brooklyn’s local candy makers on Halloween, Saturday, October 31, for $80.
As for the near future, they’re planning more local tours for the winter and will offer their most popular tours (like beer and Blue Point oysters, cheesemaking and fruit picking) next year. They also hope to experiment with new concepts including their upcoming foraging trip.