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Culinary Crusaders: Basis Market

The Mission: Help farmers sell in the city.
Culinary Crusaders

Slideshow: Culinary Crusaders

Bion Bartning has figured out an ingenious way to sell foods from small local farms to Manhattanites—all day, seven days a week. His Basis market is a convenience store that carries meat, produce and dairy from more than 40 farms, charging less than farmers’ markets.

“There are people who say eggs should cost $9 a dozen. I completely disagree with that,” he says. “We’re finding producers who are willing to be fair in their pricing, and we’re being fair in what we charge.”

Even though the farmers won’t be on hand to chat up customers, everything at Basis market—from kale to loaves of bread to quarts of farmstead milk—will be labeled with the producer’s name. Bartning is even working with one of his favorite creameries to make a farm-specific gelato, as ice cream is one of his personal obsessions.

“It just doesn’t make sense that we should take food from strangers,” he says. Basis market is an expansion of a distributing company called Basis Farm to Chef that Bartning has been running since March. It utilizes many of Basis market’s producers and sells to restaurants like Gramercy Tavern. The first Basis market will occupy a West Village storefront formerly leased by a law office. “Out with the lawyers, in with the good food!” Bartning sings.

Published November 2009


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