With summer blooming in full color around us, farmers’ market season is in full swing. And while Union Square’s famous Greenmarket proffers some of the freshest food around, crowd-wary shoppers don’t have to join the swarming masses on 14th Street. Throughout the city, many community gardens host smaller, friendlier markets where you can stock your crisper with hand-picked produce grown right in your neighborhood. These markets are a great chance to get out, get to know your neighbors, and load up on veggies while supporting your community. Best of all, there’s no need to board a subway. In Bedford-Stuyvesant, for instance, Hattie Carthan Community Garden holds weekend markets in two locations.
Bed-Stuy isn’t known for its vibrant farming scene, but five years ago, longtime resident, gardener, and community organizer Yonette Fleming brought together 13 fellow farmers from around the neighborhood and started Hattie Carthan Community Farmer’s Market, which opened for the season on Saturday.
The Saturday market runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Clifton Place at Marcy Avenue adjacent to its namesake garden. The Sunday market is at 49 Van Buren Street, home of Hattie Carthan Herban Farm, from 1 to 6 p.m. The season lasts through November.
Both markets are shady oases of fresh produce, eggs, homemade snacks, and treats; drumming, dancing, and neighborly conversation transpire as Fleming et al. work to offer fresh food and build community in an area widely recognized as a produce desert.
Is there a market in your neighborhood? If you’re not sure, your local community garden is a good place to ask. Check out this searchable map of NYC’s community gardens to see what’s growing near you. GrowNYC also hosts local Greenmarkets throughout the week.
Flip the page for photos from Hattie Carthan Community Market’s opening on Saturday.
“It’s not sour, it’s the FLAVOR! These flavors were never supposed to be put together!” says Robert Walker (center, above) of the juice, a blend of herbs and veggies.
Weekly “mixed basket” produce subscriptions are available for locals wanting to partake in a CSA-style option, and can include produce, herbs, and eggs in varying quantities, from $52 per month.