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A Simpler Sip Back in Time

One hot August day last summer, NYSOM Editor in Chief Christine Murphy and I ventured out to Carroll Gardens for a very important research project. We had heard that the best soda in the city was served at Brooklyn Farmacy, on the quiet corner of Henry and Sackett Streets. We not only discovered that the rumors were, in fact, true, but also that the philosophy of the Farmacy (better known to locals as “the Farm”) stood on the same wavelength as our own.

The Vermont Market and Pharmacy, established in the 1920s as a combination drugstore and market specializing in Vermont-made products, closed during the late 1990s. The storefront remained abandoned for over 12 years, until current owner Peter Freeman moved into the building and saw potential in the abandoned storefront. After making a deal with Mark Stein, former proprietor of the Vermont Market and Pharmacy, Freeman began to repurpose the space with one goal in mind: to create the perfect egg cream, that unique (non-yolked) New York City concoction. He would go on to create a “fresh, friendly, local” menu that would attract neighbors of all generations.

Photo: "Farmacy Faces" by Billie Grace Ward is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Farmacy, run by a staff of “jerks,” now stocks their menu and shelves entirely with local New York products (with the exception of some out-of-state soap and peanut butter). McClure’s potato chips and pickles, Sir Kensington’s Ketchup, Early Bird’s addictively sweet and salty granola and Morris Kitchen’s simple syrups — to name a few — are all made in New York State (and every company even sources their own ingredients from within the State as well). It’s easy to return to a simpler time when surrounded by the Farm’s nostalgic décor — apothecary drawers, old board games in the back room (ideal for a rainy day hangout) and servers who sport iconic soda jerk hats.

And then there are the sandwiches, all served on bread from Caputo Bakery, located just around the corner. Cold cuts are sourced from Brooklyn Cured, spread with Empire Mayonnaise, and paired with Rick’s Picks pickles. We ordered roast beef with caramelized onions and egg salad sandwiches, knowing well what would best compliment a Rick’s Pick.

But the highlight, of course, is their homemade soda. Ms. Murphy and I toasted our successful discovery with blueberry and cherry sodas—pink and purple concoctions of not-too-sweet effervescent sips back in time. Brooklyn Farmacy is open from 9am til 11pm throughout the summer, ready to satisfy soda cravings at any hour. No matter your mood at the end of a long, hot summer day, these sodas, made by jerks, will turn you into a total non-jerk.

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