By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Union Square Partnership raised more than $371,000 at the 24th annual Harvest in the Square on Thursday, September 19. The yearly tasting event, held under a tent at the northern end of Union Square Park, raises money to support the Partnership’s work in the neighborhood to beautify the park and offer programming. The event has raised more than $7 million over the last two decades.
“Year after year, Harvest in the Square brings the community together under one tent for an unforgettable evening filled with vibrant food and excitement,” said Jennifer Falk, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership. “We’ve already begun to prepare for our 25th Annual Harvest in the Square next year and look forward to another successful night.”
A number of chefs that participated featured tastes of dishes popular at their restaurant or that highlighted fall produce from the Union Square greenmarket.
The lineup for the event this year featured 61 restaurants, cocktail bars, wineries, breweries and distilleries, including returning favorite Union Square Cafe, whose owner, Danny Meyer, is a founding member of the event. Bocce USQ, a restaurant chair for the event, also returned, carrying a seasonal pizza with roasted brussels sprouts, caramelized onions and fresh mozzarella over from their adjacent location in the Pavilion.
Gupshup, an Indian restaurant that opened in Union Square just under a year ago, featured tawa prawns from head chef Gurpreet Singh and a passion fruit cocktail with jasmine tea to mellow out the spices from mixologist and bartender Michael Belasco. Belasco said that he created the drink especially for Harvest in the Square.
“I wanted to create something subtle, so there’s cardamom but also passion fruit,” he said. “There’s also jasmine tea in it because I always loved jasmine tea.”
Belasco said that the restaurant is somewhat experimental and although Singh is from Delhi, the menu also incorporates food from Sri Lanka and Goa.
“I work with the chef a lot to come up with the cocktails and want to make drinks that complement the food and balance it out,” he said.
Other offerings from returning restaurants included Breads Bakery’s debut Medovik pastry, Le Coq Rico’s chef’s ratatouille with homemade chicken sausage, Daily Provisions’ roast beef sliders, Casa Mono & Bar Jamon’s green gazpacho with a greenmarket salad and others.
In addition to the tastings, the Brooklyn Press was on hand for the second year offering live printing of tote bags with the event’s design and Starbright Floral Design provided all decor and bouquets that guests could take home.
This was the second year that the Partnership took a pledge to make Harvest in the Square a zero-waste event by helping attendees and exhibitors separate their waste and divert as much as possible from landfill.
The Partnership has also been partnering with City Harvest for the last 23 years to save unprepared food to donate, and this year USP partnered with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to rescue prepared dishes that were brought to local shelters, in addition to partnering with Common Ground Compost to separate compost and divert other waste to landfill. Guests were also given a fork at the entrance to reuse throughout the night.