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Douglaston Greenmarket grows its clientele

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Greenmarket vendors and patrons talked locally sourced ingredients and recipes at the Douglaston Greenmarket over the weekend as the new venture began to establish itself a little over a month after it opened.

“It’s still a baby market. It’s new and it’s growing,” market manager Delia Rollow said Sunday.

Julian Nolasco said his father has owned Nolasco Farm in Andover, N.J., for seven years now. He sells the farm’s vegetables and Mexican specialty produce and herbs at a number of greenmarkets throughout the city during the week, and although others are busier, he said business so far at the fledgling Douglaston market has been stable.

At this time of year, he said Jersey tomatoes are big sellers and later in the year he will be well-stocked with fall and winter squashes.

Ann Jawin, a member of the Douglaston Civic Association, opposed the greenmarket when it came before Community Board 11 on the grounds that it would create traffic problems in the neighborhood. She said she has not been to the market herself, but neighbors have told her it is rarely full of customers.

“I don’t see it as a problem, because they don’t seem to be doing too well. And the Community Church has offered parking,” she said.

Jawin still believes alternative locations, such as Northern Boulevard or St. Anastasia Church, would be preferable.

Güler Olgun was shopping for dill weed, which she said she takes before meals to help her thyroid by bringing down thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. She had purchased some of the herb at the Nolasco Farm stand two weeks earlier, and she said because it is so fresh it lasts about twice as long as the herb she buys from the H-Mart in Great Neck, L.I.

“I tried to plant it myself, but I couldn’t even find the seeds. It’s such a moody herb!” she said.

James McBreen came from Bayside with his wife, Marde, and son, Alex, to purchase tomatoes, eggplant, corn and peaches from the Lucky Dog Farm stand. He added with a note of antipathy that they had also purchased “some weird vegetable we’ve never heard of before,” to which his wife responded with a glowing smile.

The McBreens acknowledged that the vegetables they purchased from the market cost more than the ones they bought last summer at Waldbaum’s, but they believed the freshness and service they experienced made up for the added cost.

“At a greenmarket, you’re intimately connected with the producer of your food,” said Sarah from Lucky Dog Farm. “The farmer becomes responsive to your needs. It’s a personal relationsh­ip.”

Lucky Dog is an organic vegetable and small berries farm from Delaware County in New York. “When you go to the supermarket, the person giving you your food doesn’t take part in making it. [The greenmarket] makes it possible for you to basically have a personal farm. It changes to fit your personal needs and tastes,” she said.

The greenmarket is on the north side of the Long Island Rail Road station and operates Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Nov. 20.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 11:32 am, October 12, 2011
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