NEW YORK—The Javits Center announced the creation of Jacob’s Harvest, a new line of pickled produce from the convention center’s new one-acre rooftop farm. The bottled produce is harvested directly from the rooftop farm—which was completed last year as part of a 1.2 million square-foot expansion—and will be distributed to customers and visitors to raise awareness about the venue’s roof-to-table culinary program. Managed by urban farming company Brooklyn Grange, the rooftop farm is in its first full season and is expected to generate up to 40,000 pounds of annual produce. From arugula to zucchini, the various crops being grown are incorporated into the customized meals served during events on site. The first 250 jars of Jacob’s Harvest are comprised of pickled radishes, but later this year, visitors will be able to sample pickled cucumbers, banana peppers and red cabbage—all grown on the rooftop more than eight stories above street level.
“The Javits Center is much more than just a convention center, and this new pickled produce demonstrates how unconventional we truly are,” said Alan Steel, CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corp., which operates the Javits Center. “We’re proud to provide our customers with produce grown only steps from where they are consuming it, and we hope our efforts inspire others to follow our lead. From maintaining the largest green roof in New York State to serving as a wildlife sanctuary, we’re committed to challenging what it means for a building to be sustainable in a dense urban environment like New York City.”
Throughout the year, executive chefs with the Javits Center’s on-site catering team, Cultivated, will create the pickled produce with various ingredients, some of which are sourced directly from the rooftop farm. The pickled radishes include a delicious mixture of white vinegar, red wine vinegar, white peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, salt and honey—which is harvested from the convention center’s rooftop beehives. Since 2017, Javits Center employees have harvested honey from the hives—known as Jacob’s Honey—and distributed it in small jars to visitors, serving as an early precursor to the bottled produce. In 2019, a honey-infused lip balm also was created. All these items were designed to highlight the Javits Center’s award-winning sustainability program, which includes serving as a habitat for 37 bird species, five bat species and nine beehives.
Located on Manhattan’s West Side, the rooftop farm has joined the New York State Grown & Certified program, a statewide effort that identifies local producers who adhere to higher standards in terms of food safety and environmental stewardship. The rooftop also includes a food forest as part of its unique rooftop ecosystem. With seven distinct layers stacked vertically, a food forest mimics the ecological benefits and produce dynamics found in forests and is designed to increase the biodiversity, efficiency, and sustainability of food production systems. Planted in a 10,000 square-foot rooftop orchard, the food forest amplifies the ecosystem services already supplied by the green roof and farm, including stormwater mitigation, thermal regulation and forage and habitat for area wildlife.
From West 34th to West 40th streets between 11th and 12th avenues, the expanded Javits Center features a four-level truck marshaling facility that houses up to 200 tractor-trailers at any one time, reducing neighborhood congestion and pollution while improving traffic safety. Among the new exhibition and meeting spaces is The Overview, a 54,000-square-foot special event space—the largest space of its kind in the Northeast—as well as more than 200,000 square feet of meeting room and pre-function space and a separate entrance for guests. All the spaces are equipped with the latest technology in lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems and wireless connectivity. The expansion has been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.