The Flushing food supply is getting fresher thanks to a weekly GrowNYC green market. NY1's Van Tieu explains why neighbors are so excited about the addition to their neighborhood.
Irene Wilkins has lived in downtown Flushing for more than 30 years. On Wednesday morning, she stumbled upon something she'd never seen in her neighborhood before: locally grown produce.
The nonprofit GrowNYC opened its newest green market on Wednesday. It's located next to the Maple Playground on Maple Avenue and Kissena Boulevard. It's the first and only GrowNYC market in the area.
Wilkins was excited to get her hands on some fresh tomatoes.
"You can smell the aroma," she exclaimed. "All you need is a little bit of salt and bite into it!"
Her enthusiasm for food is just part of the reason why Wilkins was so thrilled to have the green market in the neighborhood.
"It’s good. It’s close by. You walk right to it. Everybody is friendly. The prices are fantastic. Affordable. It's what we really need," she said.
Steve Lin lives across the street from the market. He says he usually travels to Manhattan for local produce. He was also surprised and excited to see the market bustling with customers.
"This is an Asian community, and it’s a food culture," Lin said. "So the more we get educated and cultivated about healthier foods, it’s great for the community."
GrowNYC partnered with the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce to open the market, which offers fresh produce and information about nutrition programs. The market also accepts food stamps.
The new location was attractive to GrowNYC because it has large sidewalks and densely populated apartments surrounding the playground, according to representatives.
"I think it would help a lot of people in terms of making sure that their children get food that is nutritious and is locally produced and helps the environment," says John Cho, Executive Director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce.
GrowNYC officials said their fruits and vegetables are grown within 250 miles of New York City.
Although the produce at the Flushing Green Market isn't certified organic, they're grown locally with little or no pesticide sprays. Organizers of the market say that fact makes a big difference in helping cut down transportation costs and fuel emissions.
"So even though this food may not be organic, it is local, and keeping the transportation low is really important. When you buy fruits, they come from all over the world, so keeping things within our state is really great," said project coordinator Cody Herrmann.
Lin and Wilkins both said they planned to come back.
The Flushing Green Market is open every Wednesday from 8 to 4pm, through November 23.