Today’s news:

The case for urban sharecropping

The appeal of urban sharecropping is more urgent than ever.

In the wake of the fall of Greenpoint Food Market in June, which shuttered because several of its vendors were operating outside of the city’s health standards, Brooklyn’s specialty food makers are learning from that lesson and looking to comply with the city’s codes, lest they face crippling fines if they’re found.

“The reality is, you have to deal with this bureaucracy, you have to work within the city’s rules,” said Shamus Jones of Brooklyn Brine.

Those rules range from obtaining proper licensing, permits and insurance to working out of a city-certified, health code compliant kitchen, the latter of which can be prohibitively expensive for start-ups without any substantial capital to pull from, since rents can range from $250 to $300 for as little as five hours.

That’s why free or more affordable access to kitchens in bars and restaurants that already meet these standards is so helpful. Jones would know. He founded his pickle company a little over a year ago, legitimizing it by working out of the kitchens of Brooklyn Label and Lamb & Jaffe in Greenpoint before he could afford to move on to a facility shared with Mile End. And today, his pickles are sold in stores nation-wide.

“On a case-by-case business, you can go and talk to people in the neighborhood, find out what they’re willing to do as far as sharing and see how much that space is really worth to them,” said Jones. “That’s amazing for someone who’s building a business.”

For their part, the owners of these bars and restaurants can get the satisfaction of helping out a fledgling business, and, if that’s not enough, score some of the delicious grub, too.

“I think people who care about trying to make these things work and work with cool people are not as interested in ‘How much blood can I squeeze out of this stone?’” said Lunetta owner Adam Shepard, who helped cheese maker Salvatore Bklyn get off the ground. “It’s more in how you can make these interesting relationships and get these great products.”

— Meredith Deliso

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group