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Farmers’ Market back for second season

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For Elmont residents frustrated by having to travel to neighboring towns for a full-service grocery store, they now have the opportunity to shop locally and pick up a bushel of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Farmers’ Market, a Chamber of Commerce initiative run by the Long Island Green Market, is back for its second season at the Alva T. Stanforth Sports Complex on Hempstead Turnpike, next to the Elmont Library.

Bernadette Martin, who organizes farmers and vendors says she would like to see the farmers’ market grow and continue to attract residents of Elmont and the surrounding communities. The market is open on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the market extended its hours this season so that customers would have the chance to stop by on their way home from work.

Market organizers and the Chamber hope the change in hours will help attract a larger crowd this season. By the end of last year, sales and interest had dwindled down, Martin said. Yet, she hopes that market can take off and find a loyal following like she’s seen at other area markets. “When it works well it’s a really tight knit community,” Martins said.

On Thursday, July 12, only the second week of the farmers’ market, a slow stream of community members trickled into the parking lot to check out what the farmers had to offer. Some were repeat customers hooked on the sweet taste of fresh corn from Carrucci Greenhouse and Farms out in Mattituck, while others had noticed the signs along Hempstead Turnpike and decided to check it out. Elmont resident Jean Jandier was driving along when he and his daughter Joan decided to stop for some fresh produce. The father and daughter walked away with tomatoes and corn so fresh that Jandier bit into his goods then and there. “The corn if very good,” he said.

The Chamber and market organizers’ hope is that word of mouth will spread and increase the market’s popularity. A majority of the vegetables are picked that morning by the farmers who then travel to Elmont to sell their goods. On a strip of Hempstead Turnpike dominated by fast food choices, the market presents a healthy alternative for Elmont families. “Having an important healthy choice is important to the community,” Chamber member Aubrey Phillips said. “We believe [the farmer’s market] is one of the best things that has happened to Elmont in a long time.”

In the coming weeks, expect to see fresh offerings like sweet corn, tomatoes and summer squash. The market also accepts Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks, so fresh healthy food is available for all.