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Farm is Stretching it a Bit

This 24-hour cornucopia of cheap produce can be out of the way, depending where you live. But it?s a million times better than any place else in the neighborhood (which isn't saying much considering Greenwood Heights/North Sunset Park/definitely not South Slope lacks proper amenities like real grocery stores [National Supermarket doesn't count] banks and pharmacies. They've got car washes, gas stations, fast food, open-on-Sunday liquor shops, porn palaces/peep shows and a federal prison in spades, however). So, I wouldn't call it a destination shop, but I used to live down the street, and even now it's less than ten minutes by car from Carroll Gardens.

The 25th Street block, between Third and Fourth avenues also has the distinction of nearly being the only scene of a crime I've experienced in my 7 years in NYC. Some kid tried mugging me in broad daylight underneath the BQE while trying to cross the street to Rossman Farms. He didn't get my grocery money despite making mean faces, demanding my wallet numerous times (I was like, "do you mean my wallet or my money?" And I wasn't being a smart ass, my heart was sinking thinking about having to replace my driver license, credit cards and the like just weeks before going on a big vacation I'd been planning for eons. If he just wanted the money, which he eventually agreed that he did, I'd give him the stupid $12 rather than get shot or stabbed) and acting like he had a weapon in his pocket. This was over two years ago and I'm still irritated by the inanity.

The sprawling corner store has recently gussied up with a new sign, covered entry (I'm not sure why it took them so long to decide to shield the outdoor perishables from the elements), electronic screen price displays for some vegetables, more herbs and a smaller yet tidier layout. However, I was stymied by their lack of scales. I guess weighing devices are a luxury. I needed 2 pounds of red peppers and had to go by feel. I was convinced I was well over my requirement but the total was only 1.81 pounds at the register. Now I'm about a pepper short for the muhammara I'm making as a party dip.

Rossman can be hit or miss and is frequently random. For instance, on my latest visit POM branded pomegranates near the front door were going for $3.99 each while further back in the store there were a pile of $1.49 specimens, a little withered but likely still edible. Different displays come with different price tags. I also picked up eight for $1 limes, ginger, mint, basil, a 69-cent bag of onions, and some beets, which I eventually decided against because they seemed goopy and wet. Quality can be an issue, but they still out perform the heinous Key Food closer to my apartment. They also have Israeli canned foods, Sabra products, corn tortillas (even blue ones), as well as staples like milk, juice and eggs.

Watch out, parking under the BQE. No, not for hooligans, used condoms or empty malt liquor bottles, but for dangerous cake remnants. I stepped out of my door, slipped on something viscous and almost fell on my head. Apparently, some freak(s) had eaten an entire cake and left behind the foil-topped, round cardboard base. It was still smeared with frosting and I skidded out on it like a banana peel. What the hell? I'm trying to imagine if a lone binger was scarffing down in her (you know it's not a his) car or if a group on foot had congregated under the shadowy roadway and communally dug in.

Rossman Farms * 770 Third Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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