Last week the exceedingly posh auction house Sotheby's sold 10 crates of vegetables for $1,000 each. "I’ve never sold some of these things,” Jamie Niven, the auctioneer, told The New York Times. “I’m amazed.” Mr. Niven is accustomed to auctioning Picassos, not peppers. But last Friday night he found himself selling heirloom vegetables like Joe’s Round peppers, Turkey Craw beans, Winningstadt cabbages, Lady Godiva squash, and Striped Toga eggplants -- rare varieties that tend to be on the expensive side at the farmers' market, but not that expensive.
The thousand-dollar veggies were just the beginning, though. Sotheby's also sold off live ducks, geese, chickens, and turkeys -- 10 birds in all for $3,400. That's $340 per bird. Okay, so what are these vegetable fiends up to? What's up with the pricey birds and eggplant?
No, this is not a sign of The End of Days and there is no looming vegetable shortage in Manhattan.
This was actually a charity action benefiting the Sylvia Center, a farm and learning center where kids learn about farming and cooking, and the New Farmers Development Project at GrowNYC, a program that helps immigrant farmers.
Sotheby's also unloaded farmers' market tours, city beehive tours, seeds, books, and more all for a total of $100,000 -- and then guests were encouraged to donate additional funds at the event. By the end of the evening The Art of Farming raised $250,000 -- not bad for a night honoring vegetables!
Meanwhile Heartland Brewery owner Jon Bloostein, who bought the $3,400 birds, was overheard calling a friend from the event. "I’ve just got these birds that are, like, live,” he said. “Do you want them?" The vegetables will be donated to a food bank, which is about the best news I've heard all week.
Image via Sotheby's