Raise the roof! A new greenhouse opens in Greenpoint

Gotham Greens co-founders (from left) Eric Haley, Viraj Puri and Jenn Nelkin began harvesting lettuce from their rooftop greenhouse last month.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Talk about local produce!

Three urban farmers from Greenpoint want your next salad to include leafy green vegetables grown in their greenhouse on the roof of a Humboldt Street warehouse.

The farming trio of Viraj Puri, Eric Haley, and Jennifer Nelkin, owners of Gotham Greens, have begun harvesting their first crop of mixed salad greens, butterhead lettuce and basil after a three-year gestation period, and now, their fruit of the roof is available at a store near you.

Best of all, the rooftop farming season never ends.

“Local food dries up at the end of fall, but if we an grow in a climate-controlled greenhouse, we can provide markets with our vegetables year round,” said Puri, CEO of Gotham Greens.

Their greenhouse, combined with fellow rooftop farmer Annie Novak’s of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, has made Greenpoint the epicenter of rooftop farm-to-table dining in New York City, and possibly America.

The owners say Several Brooklyn chefs have been climbing onto the roof to sample the greens in recent weeks, and Puri and Haley hope to see their lettuce and herbs in dishes this summer.

If things go well, they hope to acquire another roof to build a second greenhouse for more diverse crops, such as spinach, berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and squash.

For now, these farmhands are seeing green.

“We literally can’t pack it fast enough,” said Puri. “We’re harvesting and packing six days a week. As long as people keep buying the stuff and like it, we’ll expand operations.”

Gotham Greens (801 Humboldt St. at Meserole Avenue in Greenpoint). For info, visit www.gothamgreens.com.

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