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Queens Chronicle

Farmers market geared to Pomonok

An attempt to educate public about nutrition and healthy diet

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Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014 10:30 am

Most farmers markets are located in high-traffic areas for easy access to the public. But the one at Pomonok Center is aiming for a different audience — the residents of the city housing project.

“This is our fourth season and we are looking for more users who live in Pomonok,” said Amy Liao, director of Community Supported Programs at the center, which provides services and activities for residents and the community.

The idea for the farmers market was to get residents more attuned to proper nutrition and use fresh ingredients. To further that goal, Liao’s market advisory group brings in chefs to give cooking demonstrations with fresh vegetables. So far, programs have been held using swiss chard and bok choy.

In particular, it is hoped the market will help seniors to be able to purchase fresh vegetables and to educate schoolchildren about produce and nutrition at nearby PS 201.

The farmers market is held every Wednesday through Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside the center at 67-09 Kissena Blvd. in Flushing. In case of inclement weather, it is held inside the center. “We’ve never been rained out yet,” Liao said.

Produce is supplied from two farms in Goshen, NY as well as nearby John Bowne High School’s agriculture program. The school also provides fresh eggs from its 150 chickens kept at the school.

Rounding up the cornucopia are organic nuts from upstate and honey from Whitestone.

Liao said the tables are manned by volunteers and there are always booths featuring information on healthcare, federal food programs and senior benefits news to keep residents updated.

She noted that the market also attracts passersby and fans of farmers markets, who come regularly. “We have moved the day to Wednesday, instead of Thursday, and hope it attracts even more people,” Liao said.

With summer in full swing, a wide range of vegetables and some fruit is available. “The peaches are in and corn is the newest crop,” Liao added.

The market accepts cash, electronic benefit transfer cards, which replaced food stamps; Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits, HealthBucks and other federally supported food programs.

Pomonok is a New York City Housing Authority development with 35 buildings on 52 acres. It is bounded by 65th and 71st avenues and Parsons and Kissena boulevards.

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