A Local’s Guide To Brooklyn + An All-Natural Giveaway

We get an over-sized thrill out of taking a trip to the farmers’ markets or making dinner sourced from producers within our own community and we know our readers do, too. We’ve asked friends and readers from around the country to give us the inside scoop on the best local resources in their neighborhood,  and this time we’re sharing the 411 on the neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Our guide is Adina Grigore, founder of Brooklyn-based natural wonder S.W. Basics of Brooklyn. S.W. Basics epitomizes the local way of life, making their small batch skin care products with the best organic ingredients from local family farms. We’re in love with their simple, sensitive-skin-ready concoctions that come in adorable glass bottles worthy of any bathroom counter top. With S.W. Basic’s strong connection to their local community, we knew Adina would know just what we were looking for!

We’re giving away one of  S.W. Basics lip balm gift sets! These naturally-flavored balms are completely addictive and make great gifts. Gweneth Paltrow even included these all-natural balms in her very own Goop-curated BirchBox! To enter, leave us your comments below and share one of your own favorite local resources!

Your name: Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics of Brooklyn

Your City:Brooklyn, NY

Top natural grocery:The Garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which is right next to our office and gets to see our shining, hungry faces every day.

Best farmers’ market:I’m torn on this because we have two awesome ones right near us! There is one in McCarren Park on Saturdays, where we get our staples. Then on Sundays we go to one in McGolrick Park to get fun treats like jam and bread.

Top outdoor recreation location:Hipster tanning in McCarren park. And I didn’t make that up – it’s a real thing.

Source for Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild fish or the like: the meat hook is pretty amazing and staffed with some fun meat-eaters. they take it really seriously. in cobble hill there’s a place called Shelsky’s Smoked Fish. we’ve only been in a few times but each time the owner very patiently teaches us about fish. we ask really annoying questions like, “What’s that one that looks weird?” and “What’s the easiest one to cook and eat?”.

Best local artisan food source:The Bedford Cheese Shop is like a candy store to me. We always get the stinkiest raw cheeses.

Best restaurant utilizing local resources:Oh, well picking one answer is just impossible. Egg, Roberta’s, Anella, The Farm on Adderley, Paulie Gee’s, Oak Wine Bar, Ella Café, Diner, The Bedford… We’re so spoiled.

Best juice bar:Awakening. I like to order the apple lemonade (apple, lemon, ginger, celery) and the superhero juice (kale, apple, celery, cucumber, carrot) and mix them! They also make a ridiculously good chia pudding.

Best gym/studio:Sapere Studio in Williamsburg. The owner, Claire, is like a fitness wizard. She’s incredibly innovative and it’s all about preventing injury, lengthening your body and feeling good. Plus, she’s hot – and the studio is gorgeous, too!

Favorite local experience living in your city:Artists and Fleas, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg. It is so amazing to me that you can basically get all of your goods from local resources in Brooklyn – furniture, clothing, jewelry, food… it’s all here, being sold by people whose livelihood you are supporting just by getting things you need. What a win-win.

Best local resource unique to your town:Ovenly baked goods and Omilk: I feel badly for anyone who cannot experience them.  Of course, our Sprout Skincare is made here in Brooklyn too! We create every product in small, handmade batches and put our names on each bottle made. Our organic, sustainable ingredients are sourced from small New York farms – it doesn’t get any more local than this!

Favorite recipe from local resource: I’ve actually been lucky enough to eat this made by the chef herself, but here is one my favorite recipes, from Food 52:


  • Foccacia Ingredients:

    1 half-sheet-pan-size plain foccacia (homemade or store-bought)
    2 cups cashew ricotta (recipe below) - dairy lovers can substitute Boursin cheese
    1 pound sunchokes, scrubbed clean  and sliced thinly into half-moons
    4 medium red onions, sliced
    1 cup chopped parsley
    1/4 cup chopped dill
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1 lemon, zest and juice
    1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    salt and pepper, to taste

  • Instructions:

    Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil and caramelize the onions over medium-low heat until browned and sweet, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid sticking and add a splash of water if necessary to unstick. Season to taste. (Sometimes I add a tablespoon of agave at the end for extra sweetness.) Transfer to a plate and allow to cool in the refrigerator.

    In a large bowl, toss the sunchokes with olive oil, dill, lemon, vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper. Allow to marinate at least 5 minutes.

    Spread an even layer of the ricotta on the foccacia. Top with marinated sunchokes, caramelized onions & chopped parsley (in that order). Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Cut to desired size and serve chilled.

  • Cashew Ricotta Ingredients:

    1 pint raw cashews, soaked 3+ hours and rinsed
    1 clove garlic, chopped

    1 lemon, juiced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon fresh oregano
    1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

  • Instructions:

    Pulse the cashews and garlic together in a food processor until fine.

    Add remaining ingredients and pulse to a smooth, white consistency. Add a splash of water or two if necessary to get things moving.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Please note: this recipe makes double the ricotta that is called for above. Extra can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing not recommended.)

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From our friends


  1. Love the Philadelphia Reading Terminal Market. There are tons of local vendors under one roof!

    colleen | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  2. Portland has a great farmer’s market by the Portland State University campus. Vancouver, WA also has an excellent farmer’s market and I love to buy fresh flowers there in the spring and summer. While in Phoenix, I frequently ordered from a CSA group called Bountiful Baskets where you get locally grown fruits and veggies. They have it here in Vancouver, WA too, so I’m hoping to expand my fruit and veggie intake with some yummy local seasonal produce.

    Christine Real | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  3. I live in Bucks County, PA, where there’s no shortage of all-natural, home-grown business. My favorite weekly haunt is the Bucks County Lavender Farm—you can smell it from a mile away, and purchase soaps, shampoos, candles and more made right in their renovated barn. It’s the kind of thing I wish I could transplant to SoCal whenever I’m there for work!

    Johnie | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  4. Love the S.W. Basics packaging! So sweet.
    All my local-conscious friends & I are addicted to the fresh eggs from Cookbook in L.A.’s Echo Park. The best!

    Rachel A | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  5. In DC, Sweetgreen is a wonderful local quick-lunch restaurant (franchise? chain? not sure – there are around six in the city and I think they’re expanding to Boston soon). They source local, seasonal ingredients for hearty custom salads, and recently started offering Sweetpress, their own pressed juices. We don’t have any other place for juices in DC, so I was so excited when they started making them!

    lily | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  6. my favorite local resource is my very own neighborhood CSA. We live about half a block away from a young family of three who grow all their own veggies and they grow enough to sell at our local farmers market. They also offer a weekly CSA bag that we walk down the street to go pick up once a week. We feel SO fortunate!!!

    Gina | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  7. I love the farmers market in Brentwood, CA. The veggies and fruits are always fresh and local. Feels so good to support local growers!

    Alison Wong | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  8. All the way in Ukraine I simply love a cafe that has both vegan and vegetarian dishes. It’s on a rooftop so you get the historical view of the city and the fresh indoor bazaar. The cafe/restaurant is located in a famous museum “Pinchuk Art Centre.” They use local, available ingredients and the last thing I ate there was fresh pumpkin soup with vegan sour cream and tasty couscous baked in pepper. After that my friend and I split a small dessert. Portions are small but filling !

    Elizabeth Bezverkha | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  9. In Portsmouth, NH we have a wonderful local, organic skincare store called Jane Gee (www.janegee.com). I’d love to try these yummies from Brooklyn!

    Jane | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  10. We live in Clifton Park, NY and love Green Grocer! It is a small organic grocery store, but I love it for its great selection of seasonal organic produce, from local farms. They have everything we need for our healthy eating!

    Sarah | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  11. Abbey Brownin Chicago makes absolutely the most amazing olive oil soap. The scents are amazing, and they make everything themselves. I love it. I also love S.W. Basics! The lip balms are heavenly

    Veronica | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  12. You can’t beat the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It’s the best part of the week!

    Lauren | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  13. Recent dining experience Flat Top in Chicago. Asian inspired restaurant featuring fresh vegetables, a variety of proteins and housemade sauces. The fresh food line quite enjoyable.

    Leslie | 01.10.2013 | Reply
  14. Here in Buffalo, NY you can’t beat stopping by Flying Bison Brewing Company for some locally brewed Rusty Chain Beer.

    Sarah W | 01.11.2013 | Reply
  15. I a few miles from my house in Virginia Beach, there is a restaurant/shop/produce stand called the Leaping Lizard. Out back, they have an old barn that sells amazing local produce that is really delicious – peaches, beans, corn – yum! They also have chickens on the premises.

    Kate | 01.12.2013 | Reply
  16. In Baltimore, the Whole Foods Market is my favorite place to gawk at (and buy) natural skincare and makeup, exotic juices, and organic foods. It’s basically the larger version of what I imagine to be my future kitchen and house…yeah.

    Jade | 01.12.2013 | Reply
  17. I love that in quite the hopeless Oklahoma City , The Urban Agrarian started his business selling awesome local produce and products !!

    Ritz | 01.13.2013 | Reply

    The Chalkboard | 01.14.2013 | Reply

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