Greenmarkets Bring The Farm To The Borough

BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Staff Writer

Roosevelt Avenue at Corona Plaza was lush with leafy stalks, fat eggplants and red and yellow apples last Friday, where the outdoor Corona Greenmarket brought farm-fresh produce to neighborhood shoppers.

Greenmarket is a project of GrowNYC, a nonprofit focused on community-based environmental programs, where outdoor farmers markets bring family farms and fishermen into urban spaces for sale directly to the consumer.

The GrowNYC Greenmarket is in its sixth season at Corona, and also has locations in Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Forest Hills and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, among others.

Julio Antonio was manning the Terhune Orchards stand in Corona last Friday. He said he has been with the farm for nearly two decades.

Antonio said that he is particularly fond of the Corona market.

“I enjoy my Spanish people, my language is Spanish, I like it. The neighbors are very nice,” Antonio said. “I feel very nice, I pass good time here.”

Ana Rodriguez and her daughter Lizbeth Angel were at the Corona market with Angel Family Farm. According to Rodriguez, the farm has operated a stand in Corona for about four years.

“We grow vegetables, especially Mexican vegetables, because that’s what I know,” Rodriguez said.

Both Rodriguez and Angel noted that they especially enjoy the Corona market due to the diverse crowd that it draws.

“You learn a whole bunch of different things. They tell you what they use their vegetables for, and it’s so nice to know one vegetable brings so many cultures together,” Angel said.

“Purslane is one of our best sellers here. It’s very nutritious,” Angel elaborated. Purslane is a green vegetable similar to watercress. “Sometimes, people from different cultures come and tell us that they don’t eat it, and that they feed it to the pigs in their country. And for us, it’s like, ‘what? We would never give that to our pigs, that’s what we eat.’”

All Greenmarket locations in Queens accept EBT, and all Greenmarkets across the City provide Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks redeemable for produce. Certain farm stands also accept WIC.

Corona resident Rosa Goalljo said she visits the market frequently.

“I live close, I come here to get vegetables and fruit,” she said in Spanish, with her son Bryan translating.

Resident Glendy Lopez said she was shopping at the market for the first time. She said she “felt very good” about her purchases.

“This market is different because this is fresh,” Lopez said. “I think it’s nice.”

Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, jstrawbridge@queenstribune.com or @JNStrawbridge.