Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Urban Environmentalist NYC: Get Fresh

May 29th, 2008 · No Comments

Here’s one of our weekly features from the Center for the Urban Environment (CUE). This week’s interview is with Get Fresh owner Caroll Lee. Get Fresh, which is located at 370 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, is part of the local living economy stressing organic, local foods.

Q: How did Get Fresh Get Started?

A: Get Fresh started when I realized that there were very few options for a quick, healthy meal that weren’t restaurant takeout or cooking from scratch. New Yorkers are so busy, but that doesn’t mean they should forego healthy home-cooked meals! At the same time, I was learning more and more about how the majority of our food comes from industrialized factory farms, and knew we needed an alternative. At Get Fresh, we source high-quality local and organic ingredients, then do all the prep work for your meal. At home, you follow very simple cooking or heating instructions and dinner is served!

Q: Why is it so important for people to eat local and organic?

A: Eating local and organic has a huge impact on the environment. Did you know that if every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week made from locally and organically produced ingredients, we would save 1.1 million barrels of oil a week? Not to mention that local food is fresher, has a positive impact on the local economy, and just plain tastes better! At Get Fresh, we source all of our meat and produce from local and organic sources, and in doing so, are supporting local sustainable farmers.

Q: What do you like best about your neighborhood/customer base/community?

A: Our customers really get it. We recently started charging 2¢ each for plastic bags. So many of our customers said that 2¢ wasn’t enough to encourage people to use less plastic, and suggested we raise it to a nickel. So we did! I love that even though we are doing everything we think is possible to help the environment, our customers encourage us to do more!

Q: We noticed you take back your packaging (which is compostable) – do many people participate?

A: Yes, many of our regular customers come back with large bags filled with our packaging. It really makes me happy to see that people care enough to save and return their containers, instead of just tossing them in the trash. We take the packaging and turn it back into healthy soil through the process of composting. What we can’t compost, we recycle.

Q: What are some of the challenges that face your business?

A: Eating locally means that you eat with the seasons. This can be challenging in the dead of winter — one can only eat so many root vegetables before they start getting a bit tiresome! — but it’s a challenge I welcome. We get creative with our menu when we have limited produce choices, and we really enjoy that first summer crop of fruits and veggies as a result!

Q: What is the freshest (coolest) thing about Get Fresh?

A: There is really something for everyone at Get Fresh. Whether you’re committed to eating more locally, or trying to improve the health of you and your family, are too tired to cook or just plain don’t know how, there is something to suit every taste and skill level here.

Q: What is the best part about your job?

A: I get to work with some of the most interesting, committed people in the local food movement. There are so many producers of high-quality, handmade, artisanal products out there, as well as the many small farmers in the region working hard to provide food for us urban eaters. For many, it’s truly a labor of love and I’m proud to support them by selling their produce and products in our store.

Interview conducted by Amanda Gentile, Associate Director of Development at the Center for the Urban Environment. As an educational guide to a greener New York City, the Center is dedicated to educating individuals about the built and natural environments. For more about our work visit www.bcue.org.

Tags: Park Slope · Urban Environmentalist