originally posted on nj.com
Phyllis Cooper has trekked to more than her share of farmers markets in search of fresh produce: the Trenton Farmers Market in Lawrence, across the river to Morrisville, Pa., and even the Columbus Farmers Market in Burlington County.
And for Sue Baltrusitis, fresh fruits and vegetables were always a cab or bus trip away.
Not anymore. They now have ready access to affordable, nutritious foods outside their Trent Center apartments, thanks to a new farmers market that opened Monday.
“I couldn’t wait for it to open,” Cooper said. “Older people like myself, we need vegetables. Instead of eating things with sugar, we’ve got something that we really need for the body.”
The Greenwood Avenue Farmers Market will be open every Monday at the corner of Greenwood Avenue and Hudson Street from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. It will run through Oct. 26.
Mercer County Freeholder Samuel Frisby, who is also CEO of the Trenton YMCA and co-director of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton, said the farmers market allows them to meet people where they are.
“We’re right here in people’s walking paths. They’re coming off the train and they’re driving this route every day,” he said. “This is the place where we needed a farmers market.”
The vendors include Isles, Norz Hill Farm, Food Bazaar and Franca’s Bakery. On Monday, shoppers could choose from tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, asparagus, green beans, heads of broccoli, peaches, corn, leafy greens, pineapple, mangoes and avocados.
The city’s mobile health van supplied health screenings and the YMCA led fitness classes.
Fitness director Renee Riddle-Davison said that the hope is to make the whole person healthy and encourage lifestyle changes.
“Exercise alone won’t do it and diet alone won’t do it, so by incorporating all of that together, we get the lifestyle change,” she said.
The activities will vary each week depending on the crowd, she said.
Under another tent, Michelle Brill, family and consumer health sciences educator for Rutgers Cooperative Extension was sautéing spinach and handing out samples. Each week, she’ll coordinate with the farmers to bring shoppers simple, seasonal recipes.
She said the farmers market is a necessary addition to the neighborhood.
“The residents around here can’t get to what you see over there at the farms, so we bring it to them,” she said. “And the fact that we’ll be here for months at a time, it’s not a one-shot deal. … Hopefully that will create the behavior change that you’re looking for that will really improve health.”
Jasmine Hall Ratliff, a program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the market would help to create a culture of health.
“You’re building a culture of health where every child, no matter where they live or what their parents earn, can easily find and eat blueberries and grape tomatoes as often as they like,” she said.
The farmers market is a partnership between the city, YMCA of Trenton, Trenton Healthy Food Network and Nexus Properties, which lent them the property free of charge. It made possible by support from the state Department of Health, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, the Hunterdon and Mercer County Regional Chronic Disease Coalition, and Mrs. G. TV and Appliances.SHARE: