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Liz Neumark
Liz Neumark is the CEO of Great Performances.

In almost three decades of being at the top of the food chain in New York City, Liz Neumark has learned that it is all about satisfying needs. Liz believes there is no more critical time in the relationship between people and the foods they eat or have access to than today. Liz is a visionary in putting future culinary ideas on the plates of New Yorkers and a trendsetter in bringing food politics to the table, all with great taste and memorable flavors.

Liz conceived of Great Performances in 1979 as a waitress service for women in the arts, offering an alternative way to supplement meager artist incomes with work in the fledgling catering industry. When the industry boomed overnight, Great Performances grew along with it. The company, headquartered in Hudson Square, NYC, is one of the largest off-premise catering companies in the city, serving a wide range of corporate, social, and non-profit clients. The company also holds exclusive contracts at leading cultural institutions, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Apollo Theater, Sotheby’s, Caramoor, and Wave Hill. In 2007, Liz joint-ventured with Delaware North Companies to manage and operate one of New York City’s most sought-after banquet and event spaces - The Plaza Hotel.

Since 2006, Great Performances also owns a 60-acre organic farm in Columbia County, NY. An industry first, Katchkie Farm represents commitment to celebrating local flavors while supporting sustainable agriculture and good earth practices. The Farm supplies Great Performances with fresh produce for special events, as well as farmers markets throughout New York and the company’s cafes. It is also the source for a line of artisanal products, including the acclaimed Katchkie Ketchup, Thunder Pickles, and Bob-A-Que Sauce, and the inspiration for the company’s precedent-setting 100 Mile Menu for which all principal ingredients are sourced from within a 100-mile radius of New York City. Katchkie Farm is also home to The Sylvia Center, an educational non-profit dedicated to inspiring children to eat well through farm visits and garden-to-table cooking workshops.

The company’s philanthropic role further includes a commitment to food rescue and the fight against hunger. Katchkie Farm commits 5% of its annual harvest to anti-hunger organizations, notably Yorkville Common Pantry and City Harvest.

Liz currently serves as Chairman of the Board for The Sylvia Center; on the Boards of GrowNYC, Just Food and Women’s Forum New York; on the Governor’s Food Policy Council and on the Advisory Boards for the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, Food and Finance High School, Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Hudson Square Business Improvement District. Liz has received many honors including the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award, Crain’s 100 Most Influential Women, BizBash’s Hall of Fame and Event Innovators 2011 and Ernst & Young New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Liz has also found a new forum to discuss food politics and the ever-changing event business with her own online blog featured on The Huffington Post.

Liz is a third generation New Yorker, a Barnard graduate who majored in Urban Studies and Political Science. She, her husband and children live in Manhattan.

Entries by Liz Neumark

How the CSA Model Supports a Farm

(2) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 12:42 PM

I am thinking about spring. Although it is still several weeks away, there are decisions to make that will affect what grows on Katchkie Farm in 2015. Despite the frozen earth, now is the time our planning begins. The seed orders went in last week, including over 60 varieties from...

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Looking for Fresh Greens in Winter

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 4:28 PM

It's been really cold out. Still, every weekend I go to local Greenmarkets to stock up for the week. If our local famers can get up in this weather (and often conditions are far worse points north or west of the city), then I surely can travel the...

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DIY Delicious

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 10:08 AM

"Ma! Let me do it myself," beg the young, yearning for independence. Do you remember that exchange with your mom? How lovely that DIY (Do It Yourself) has become a battle cry, as we are suddenly desperate to rediscover the joy that comes from making things ourselves. This is the...

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Sharing Holiday Bites

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 10:02 AM

The start of the holiday season evokes a range of memories stretching from childhood forward; a sensory recall of sights, sounds, smells and flavors. Bell-ringing Santas, gridlock and holiday windows are classic, but it is food that dominates. Chestnuts roasting in an open pushcart are a universal signal the season...

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The Joy and Madness of Pickling

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 4:43 PM


The world is divided into two types of people: pickle lovers and everyone else. I'm with the pickle people.

Growing up in NYC meant early exposure to the best of the brine, a good assortment of Lower East Side merchants, and the development...

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A Visit to the Seed Library

(2) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 11:39 AM

One of the best moments I shared with Ken Greene, founder of Hudson Valley Seed Library, was when he confessed, "I really don't care that much about eating, I love collecting the seeds." There it was in a nutshell, the difference between us. Seeds are a delicious, if...

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A Tale of Two Meals

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Wednesday was a typical day at Katchkie Farm; CSA harvesting & packing and a small group of Sylvia Center students were engaged in garden work, harvesting and cooking their meal. The weather was crazy beautiful and I was looking forward to my visit.

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Recipes for Better Lives

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 10:30 AM

This piece was originally published in Our Town.


Dreams of food find expression in many ways. Some are driven to a career in the food world by thoughts of entrepreneurship, culinary passion or Food Network fame, while others see the entry...

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Kitchens for Kids

(1) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 5:17 PM

Recall childhood moments in the kitchen with a parent or grandparent - and the joy of sweet or unexpected flavors along with the beauty of organized chaos? Flour everywhere! Bowls of batter to lick clean. And the payoff: brownies or cookies, a hearty bowl of soup, pancakes. It was a...

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Seven Years at Katchkie Farm -- and Itching for More!

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 3:27 PM

Summer 2007. I will never forget the speed with which our neglected acres came to life. Bit by bit, Farmer Bob plowed and nurtured the soil transforming it from impassible and soggy brambles to productive fields. Our first harvest was in a corner near the white fence field where beautiful...

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Miracles and Cures

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2014 | 3:05 PM

It is a graduation of sorts, when a three-year commitment comes to an end and it is time to let others participate in the work and the reward. This week, my time as a member of the selection panel for the Sloan Public Service Awards sponsored by the...

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An Adventure in Foraging

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 6:07 PM

How I hate being trendy but I suppose there is no avoiding it this time. I went foraging in the woods of Columbia County and loved every second of it. It appeals to my sense of taste, adventure and frugality.

It was peak ramp season and I have been obsessed...

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Heirloom Habits

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 11:14 AM

I found myself contemplating a piece of tin foil this weekend. I used it to catch drips from the loaf pans of banana bread I was baking. It was perfectly clean though used. Toss or save? Folding it in half to save for another use opened a floodgate of memories...

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A Primer for CSA Season

(1) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 8:47 PM

*Originally published in Our Town.

It's sign-up time for farmer co-ops across the city!

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of being a member of a CSA is that you never know exactly what vegetables you're going to get every week -- until the moment you collect them. And...

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A Certain Kind of Music

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 11:03 AM

In the Greenmarket on Saturday I bumped into my friend Dan who I hadn't seen in a while. "How is life? How's catering?" he asked after usual greetings.

That's a question I have been asked a thousand times. Life is good -- that part is easy. As for catering,...

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Let's Get RAMPed!

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 5:17 PM

Oh, those beautiful ramps that say SPRING! I race down to Union Square on Saturday morning now to buy bunches of fresh ramps. Where are they? Just follow your nose. My goal is twofold: pesto and pickled ramps.


After a...

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Egg-pression of Celebration

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 3:36 PM

It's the annual moment of fame for the egg, star of the spring holidays of Passover/Easter as well as one of the early season offerings in farmers markets. Weeks before the first signs of green, eggs become a little more abundant as the chickens are the first to recognize the...

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Searching for Spring

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 3:44 PM

Is there anyone in the Northeast who feels like winter hasn't been long enough, cold enough or sufficiently snowy? In the past 3 weeks I finally escaped NYC twice to warm climates only to discover that what I was really needing could only be found right here.

I had been...

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From the Strip to the Field

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 4:34 PM

Leo Lionni wrote the story of Frederick, the field mouse, who seemed to be daydreaming while all others were busy gathering food for the winter. "I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days." So it is with this story, told to you in this season of root vegetables...

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Blame It on the Pickles

(2) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 2:05 PM

I had been blogging since 2009. The weekly process of writing has been both easy and hard -- it's a discipline involving identifying a compelling topic and finding enough time on the weekend to write. Somewhere in the late spring of '13, after five years, I lost my rhythm and...

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