Queens home to growing greenmarket scene
by Richard Bocklett
Jun 16, 2010 | 5194 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Greenmarkets are expanding in Queens.  GrowNYC is opening its seventh in the borough, at Queens Hospital Center, in July.
Greenmarkets are expanding in Queens. GrowNYC is opening its seventh in the borough, at Queens Hospital Center, in July.
The non-profit GrowNYC's Greenmarket Program has operated open-air farmers markets in New York City since 1976, delivering high-quality produce to 50 locales in all five boroughs.

Now there's a new one at Elmhurst Hospital. Come get your vegetables.

The program supports over 200 family farms and regional fishermen while ensuring a continuing supply of fresh fruits and vegetables for New Yorkers

Greenmarket has also revitalized rural communities and urban spaces, improved consumer health, encouraged crop diversity and protected over 30,000 acres of farmland from development.

GrowNYC will open its 7th Greenmarket in Queens at Elmhurst Hospital Center this July 13, from 8 to 5 p.m. The market booths will be located on 41st Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets (outside of the Community Medical Center) and will be open every Tuesday until November 23rd.

In addition to cash, credit cards, debit cards, food stamp EBT cards, WIC, and Senior FMNP checks will be accepted.

The Elmhurst Hospital Advisory Board proposed the fresh market idea to the hospital, the community board and GrowNYC. Within a few months, all parties approved.

“Everyone saw it as a win-win situation to promote healthy eating habits for patients, their families and local residents, ” said board member Ann Soukeras.

The Elmhurst Greenmarket will have 12 to 14 stands, with some selling plants and flowers for patients.

“They’ll have fresh foods and spices, like home-grown honey and horseradish, not always available in stores,” said Soukeras. “There will be cooking demonstrations, recipe exchanges and a baker on board as well.”

“Elmhurst will be a good-sized market with ample space, offering a very nice location in a mall-like thoroughfare,” said Margaret Hoffman, the Queens regional director of Greenmarket. She added, “it will bring business to the community- that’s well documented- so that’s good for everyone.”

The Elmhurst Greenmarket will join others in Queens in Glendale, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Astoria, Corona, and Long Island City.

Michael Hurwitz, the director of Greenmarket, pointed to studies proving that farmers’ markets economically benefit their host community; the Project for Public Spaces reported that every dollar spent at a farmers’ market brings in sixty cents to surrounding local businesses.

In San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza, for example, the farmers’ market operates only two days a week but local merchants do 40 percent of their seven-day business in those two days. “The bottom line is farmers’ markets bring more people and more activity into their locale, ” Hurwitz said.

Hoffman said that Queens is one of the fastest growing Greenmarket areas in the city.

“Jackson Heights Greenmarket increased from seven to 16 vendors or more from last summer and Sunnyside expanded to 15 vendors,” she said. “These are good-size markets offering all kinds of vegetables and fruits, cheeses, juices, and eggs.”

Commencing Fridays, July 9 through November 19, the new Greenmarket at Corona Plaza, at the foot of the 103rd Street-Roosevelt Avenue 7 train stop, will offer specialty Mexican produce, fresh fish from American Seafood, baked goods from Not Just Ruguleh, Wager’s Cider Mill’s apples, grapes, cider and fruit juices. EBT/Food Stamps and WIC & Senior FMNP coupons are accepted.

Atlas Park

Due to popular demand, the Atlas Park Mall Greenmarket, located at Cooper Ave and 80th St, in Glendale, opened a month earlier and will continue Saturdays through November 20, 8am to 3pm

Its products include Garden of Eve organic farm produce from Long Island, seasonal vegetables and eggs from Duchess County, Migliorelli Farm’s huge selection of produce and fruits, baked goods from Meredith’s Bakery and Andrew’s Local Honey from Fairfield County.

“Community interest usually starts the ball rolling,” said Hoffman. “Right now we’re looking into Forest Hills and Douglaston as future Greenmarket sites.”

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