City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) joined with officials from Elmhurst Hospital Center and the nonprofit GrowNYC Tuesday to celebrate the neighborhood Greenmarket’s opening day.
The Elmhurst Greenmarket, adjacent to the hospital on 41st Avenue between 80th and 81st streets, sells fresh fruits and vegetables from four farms upstate.
“Doesn’t it smell great?” Ferreras asked in her opening remarks. “It smells so good.”
This is the third year the Greenmarket has been held at Elmhurst Hospital Center. It will be open every Tuesday until Nov. 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Market customers can pay with cash, debit cards, credit cards, Electronic Benefit Transfer cards/Food Stamps, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children vouchers.
Atiya Butler, spokeswoman for Elmhurst Hospital, said the market has seen an increase in vendors since its inception. It has also become well-loved by the hospital staff, who come to the market often on their lunch breaks or before work.
“People have been asking for months when it’s coming back,” Butler said.
The hospital plans to integrate the market into a wellness initiative for its employees. This program offers health screenings, yoga classes and classes on how to prevent chronic diseases.
There are 53 Greenmarkets throughout the city, 10 of which are in Queens. The Greenmarkets are run through the environmental nonprofit GrowNYC.
Liz Carollo, spokeswoman for Greenmarket, said about 2,000 to 3,000 people account for the foot traffic that passes through the Elmhurst Greenmarket every week, and many of them do stop and shop. She said soon after the market opened Tuesday that the first day already seemed to be a good one and an indicator of a successful third season.
Both Carollo and hospital representatives said a Greenmarket near Elmhurst Hospital was a natural fit.
“We’re promoting health,” Carollo said. “What better way is there to be healthy than to eat fresh food?”
In addition to fruits and vegetables, the Greenmarket also sells bread, pastries, granola and fresh flowers for get-well presents. Through a partnership with Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension, the market also hosts cooking demonstrations.
Adam Gordon, associate executive director at Elmhurst Hospital, said the center was proud to support the upstate farmers while promoting healthy lifestyles.
“This is just a part of the growing resources we are able to provide — both to our employees and our community,” Gordon said.
Ferreras said she was excited residents could come to the hospital to buy healthy and fresh food.
“In essence, it really is another type of medicine,” she said. “It’s a natural, healthy medicine.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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