The annual Harlem Park to Park Harlem Harvest Festival went down this past Saturday, and it was their best autumn celebration so far. The Indian summer weather certainly contributed to the ebullient feeling of the more than 2,000 attendees, but the new location and adult only Tap Harlem tasting turned up the revelry dial to 10.
Settling into the new location between 117th and 118th streets on St. Nicholas Avenue, the Harlem Harvest Festival seemed as if it were always meant to be there. There were 60 vendors representing restaurants, food makers, bakeries and retail from Harlem. An outdoor spinning class from EyeCycle NYC set to the sounds of Harlem’s resident real estate D.J. Stormin’ Norman, a salsa class infused by live music from Orquesta Majica Latina and copious activities in the Kids Zone offered no excuses not to get in the spirit.
Included among the food vendors were some of the Harlem Local Vendor Program participants now selling in Whole Foods Market, including Essie Spice, Egunsi Foods and Mama’s One Sauce. Harlem Park to Park moved into the second year of their program, and new candidates met with Whole Foods and Columbia University buyers.
I sat on the judging panel for the annual Bake Off with Aliyyah Baylor of Make My Cake, Damon Young of Whole Foods and Arlyn Blake. We were happy to award ribbons and gifts to all the winners, including our own AmNews FOOD family, Aromas Boutique Bakery from East Harlem. Their pumpkin ginger Double Dare cake was magnificent.
The first annual Tap Harlem was held in the newly opened The Cecil Steakhouse. More than 200 guests took to the samples of beers, wines and spirits while D.J. Ness broke down the wheels of steel. I super enjoyed War Flag Lady Justice Stout. Thanks to Tai Allen, Brooklyn Tap+Cork founder, and his team for bringing this special addition to the festival.
Congratulations to Nikoa Evans-Hendricks and the whole Harlem Park to Park team on your hard work. It was a great event and we are now ready to move into fall. Mother Nature do you hear us?
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!