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Know Your Rights
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Slowly, Farmers Market Grows on Knickerbocker

Though it got off to a slow start in July, the María Hernández Park Farmers
Market has been getting more business recently, and vendors couldn’t be happier
as the harvest season approaches. The small market began several years ago with
funding from the city health department, but got a sponsorship boost this year
through Make the Road NY
has attracted more vendors and, as a result, more customers.  

"It’s getting bigger every week," said Jenny Parker, market manager and a
Make the Road employee
. "I’m actually surprised that it’s this bustling on a
rainy day." 

Beneath a dark gray overcast, four tents were pitched at the corner of
Kinickerbocker and Starr Street last Saturday, with a steady stream of locals
stopping by to pick up fresh produce and chat with the farmers. Participating
vendors included Rancho La Bareja, Trinity Farms, and Pavia Family Farms and the
drop-off table sold bread from Roberta’s,
Finger Lakes Honey, Cayuga Pure
Organics dry beans and some Red
Jacket Orchards products.   

Mark Lawrence, who runs Trinity Farms in Clintondale, NY, with his family,
scoffed at the idea that nearby produce stores like Angel’s Fruit Market and
Peach Farm on Knickerbocker Avenue could compete with him for customers.

"Their products have been stored for who knows how long, you can’t compare it
to this," Lawrence said as he picked up a Jonagold apple. "I mean this was
picked on Wednesday." 

The market, along with the Linden
Street and Graham Avenue farmers markets, also accepts food stamps. For
every five dollars customers spend in food stamps at these markets, they receive
a two dollar coupon called "Farmers
Market Health Bucks" which they can only use at participating farmers
markets. The program includes 15 other markets in Brooklyn and encourages
lower-income families to spend their food stamps on fresh produce, Parker said. 

Make the Road is currently working on funding for next year’s farmers market
to continue the momentum. Parker said she hopes to get refrigerators on the site
for farmers that want to sell dairy products. 

"It’s an adventure for me to come down here," Lawrence said. "I look forward
to loading up the truck at night and driving to the city. I meet new people
everyday and it’s a lot of fun." 

The María Hernández Farmers Market is located at the corner of Knickerbocker
Avenue and Starr Street. It is open on Saturdays from 9 am-3 pm and will run
until November 14.