FreshConnect Farmers Market opens for summer in Harlem
The plaza of the New York State Office Building in Harlem is full of beans.
The 125th St. FreshConnect Farmer's Market at Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., which opened Tuesday, will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday rain or shine through Nov. 27.
This season - the market's second - more than 20 vendors will sell fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants, seasonings and locally made baked goods. Free yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, and nutrition and gardening workshops will also be hosted by local community groups.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the opening of the market on Tuesday as part of his office's FreshConnect program, which is aimed at increasing access to New York farm products.
The market accepts food stamps and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks. In July, the market will begin offering FreshConnect Checks, a nutrition incentive that provides $2 rebate checks for every $5 in Food Stamps spent at participating markets.
The farmer's market "will help achieve a circle of sustainability in New York State, bringing upstate farmers and low-income urban communities together in a symbiotic relationship," said Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, chairman of the Harlem Development Corporation.
The market's cheerleaders hope the availability of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits will strike a blow to the city's worsening obesity epidemic. (About 34% of adults are overweight and 22% obese, with rates typically worse in low-income communities.)
The Farmer's Market "is a great idea," said Cheena Jain, 28, a Harlem vegetarian. But "more education needs to be done" to improve obesity rates in a neighborhood that abounds with waist-widening temptations. "We've got a fried chicken place on every block," she noted.