On an unusually hot day in mid-October, Amar’e Stoudemire - player, coach, kosher winemaker - stopped by the Union Square Greenmarket to meet New York basketball lovers and burger fans alike.
The former NBA star and current Brooklyn Nets assistant coach was helping staff a booth at the Manhattan farmers’ market, where customers were able to pick up fresh brisket, steaks, burger patties and condiments from Stoudemire Farms, his family-run farm in Duchess County, New York that ethically and sustainably raises Black Angus cattle.
The meat, however, is not certified kosher, unlike the wines he produces in Israel at Kfar Tikva, a winery that employs individuals with developmental disabilities. (The winery’s website describes the African-American athlete as the “first kosher winemaker of color.”) Stoudemire became an Israeli citizen in March 2019 and completed his conversion to Judaism in August 2020.
In 2020 Stoudemire helped Maccabi Tel Aviv win the Israel Basketball Premier League Championship. He also co-owns the Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem, where he played the 2016-’17 and 2018-’19 seasons.
The cattle farm, which has been in operation since 2015, has had a booth at the Union Square Greenmarket every Friday since June.
He is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Miami while running Stoudemire Farms, which he founded in order to “create a legacy for his children, and to raise awareness of the importance of building intergenerational wealth in the African American community,” he writes in a letter on the farm’s website. “We’ve dedicated nearly 200 acres to teaching the next generation about the legacy inherent in land ownership and the dignity in reclaiming food sovereignty.”
On October 15, fans steadily lined up for a selfie with Stoudemire and a taste of his signature Stoudemire Burger. Ground beef patties, grilled by Chef Jay Kumar of Jay’s Brooklyn, were dressed with a secret sauce that included garlic, ginger, cumin and fennel, and served atop a toasted English muffin baked by Dam Good English Muffins.
Why an English muffin instead of a traditional burger bun? “I tried a burger on an English muffin once and fell in love with it. It’s the best way to eat a burger,” Stoudemire told a customer.