HarborLAB’s funding efforts got some positive press:
Whole Direct introduced Newtown Creek Black Mayonnaise on Wednesday, with free street fair and flea market tastings throughout the metropolitan region. The organic, delivery truck-based foods merchant rolled out the new product to meet the growing demand for sustainable and locavore cuisines. The delicacy is gathered by free-diving Western Queens college students and a portion of proceeds benefits HarborLAB, an environmental group based on the creek.
The bed of New York Harbor as a whole, but especially that of its inlets, is covered by a deep, dark, viscous ooze of silt and anaerobic bacteria where oysters once grew in massive reefs. “Our Newtown Creek Black Mayonnaise taps the trend for eating microbes for intestinal health. This is your kombucha or Greek yogurt, but as a deliciously tangy sandwich spread,” said Daniel Redge, CEO of Whole Direct, while leaning against an idling diesel truck. “The harbor keeps giving. The American Indians had their shellfish and crustaceans, and we have something to add zing to any meal. This is even better, because oysters and lobsters aren’t kosher.”
“We view this as way beyond ‘triple bottom line’ for us,” Redge said, referring to the concept of making products that are financially, socially, and environmentally beneficial. “Those HarborLAB people, who I believe live in a van down by the creek, get some cash to do their hippy-dippy green stuff, the college kids get some honest work, and our customers get the outer boroughs’ answer to Marmite. Plus whatever doesn’t get digested goes back out into the creek to regrow whenever it rains, so this is a renewable sandwich resource.”
HarborLAB volunteers embraced the partnership and condiment.
“I like to sun dry the goo and crumble it with ricotta cheese over a nice pizza,” enthused HarborLAB Facilities Manager Patricia Erickson as she tied bricks to the wrists of college students to aid their dives. Operations Manager EJ Lee poured her jar of Newtown Creek Black Mayonnaise into a pot and buried it to ferment, for reasons she didn’t explain.
One sophomore emerging from the creek, whose identity couldn’t be determined because of obscuring layers of residual product, said, “It’s no deeper or more unpleasant than my student loan debts.”
HarborLAB looks forward to setting up tasting tables for Newtown Creek Black Mayonnaise next to its waiver and environmental education tables at all of its community paddles and events this summer.