Now that some city slickers have figured out how to raise chickens at home, urbanites are taking aim at another farm favorite: pick-your-own produce. New tools are making it easier to harvest wild, indigenous edibles that sprout up anywhere from city parks to sidewalk cracks. Neighborhood Fruit, a GPS-enabled app, forages for the nearest trees growing on public lands across the country (for iPhone, $1), and Ava Chin blogs on the best places to find fresh black raspberries, chickweed, and oyster mushrooms right in the heart of New York City. For something less high-tech: Weavers Way Co-op leads annual summer bike tours through Philadelphia's many urban farms and orchards.
Long a fixture in East Asia, the night market has finally hit our shores. Pairing the breezy, open-air setting of a greenmarket with an under-the-radar, after-dark vibe, these nocturnal gatherings attract experimental cooks and eaters who are up for adventure. At San Francisco's monthly, roving Underground Market, vendors peddle inventive fare such as bacon-wrapped mochi and Jack Daniels–flavored caramel corn made in home kitchens, a no-no at other farmers markets but fine here. At Night Market Philadelphia, bistro tables and white tents pop up in front of area stoops, as food trucks and carts serve small plates like shrimp ceviche. And L.A.'s Yamashiro Farmers Market transforms the famous restaurant's parking lot into an evening fair, with stands selling local honey and, fittingly, Asian-influenced tacos.
Death to the 100-item menu! Today's hyper-focused chefs are devoting their kitchens to turning out a single signature dish, albeit in countless customizable variations. At New York's Meatball Shop, diners mix and match meats and sauces, then choose among sliders, heros, and pastas (sliders $3). Rome's Obikà Mozzarella Bar pairs four handmade varieties of mozzarella with dozens of savory accompaniments (mozzarella bar tastings from $13). And at Chedd's Gourmet Grilled Cheese, in Austin, Texas, the 35 cheeses, 8 breads, and 31 extras add up to a whopping 8,680 grilled-cheese sandwich possibilities (sandwiches from $5).
Forget granola bars and trail mix. A sophisticated new breed of hybrid repair shop cafés is popping up to cater to the two-wheeled foodie set. Some that have broken from the pack: Minneapolis's Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar, which sells made-to-order bikes and Intelligentsia java; Stockholm's Bianchi Café & Cycles, specializing in light Italian fare; and Central London's Look Mum No Hands!, where patrons kill time during tune-ups with pints of Belgian Slag Pils in the courtyard.
You can rent a wreck and you can rent a dress, so why not rent a farm — or at least a tiny piece of one? If you "adopt" an orange tree from Finca Ca's Sant orchard in Mallorca, you'll receive shipments of its ripe fruit — and the marmalade and liqueur that comes from it — along with discounts at their attached agriturismo ($132 per year). If your tastes run to the savory, Italy's Nudo olive groves lets you select a tree, each with its own unique flavor profile, such as fresh-cut grass or peppery artichoke. All the extra virgin oil (about two liters) from your leafy foreign friend is yours come spring (from $105 per year).
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