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At Flatbush Junction Youthmarket, An Exploration Of Produce – And Community

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As we posted several months ago, there’s a new farmers market on our area’s southeastern edge. The Flatbush Junction Youthmarket opened on July 12th and pops up every other Saturday on the triangle in front HSBC at Nostrand and Flatbush. We stopped by this past Saturday to check it out.

First thing you might notice is that it’s a pretty modest market at this point. However, second thing you’ll notice is the produce, which looks amazing:

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We picked some up and it tastes as good as it looks — just means you’ll have to get there all the earlier once word gets out.

This is a GrowNYC Youthmarket, one of the non-profit’s food access programs. Instead of farmers selling directly, youth from underserved communities are hired to work the booths. As Kori Petrovic, GrowNYC’s Youthmarket Coordinator, explains it, the program has three goals:

1)   To provide young people from the community with seasonal jobs;

2)   To provide the community with access to fresh produce; and

3)   To provide farmers with additional revenue.

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Kori says there are currently about 10 farmers supplying the Youthmarkets, but that they’re always trying to add more. They were also gathering signatures of support for making the market weekly instead of biweekly next year.

The Youthmarkets are serviced through Greenmarket Co., GROWNYC’s wholesale distribution service and also work with a Community Partner (in this case East Flatbush Village), who, among other things, is responsible for filling those seasonal job slots. 

We spoke to a couple of the kids who were working, and they’re an enthusiastic bunch.

Shamone, a student at Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School, said her school is based on community and that helping the community out is “icing on the top.”

Gerson found out about the job through his cousin at East Flatbush Village and thought it’d be a great way to “help people out.”

Since starting work at the market, not only have they earned some money, but both have learned a little more about the produce they’re selling.

“I didn’t even know what bok choy was,” Shamone confessed. But she’s become a huge fan of golden beets, especially as a juice blended with carrots. While he can stomach the golden ones, Gerson mostly stays away from beets and heads straight for the fresh mint. We asked if he’d tried it with strawberries. He had, but prefers to just eat the leaves on their own. “It’s really good,” he said.

The same youth crew works each time the market is open, so be sure to come out and buy something from Shamone, Gerson, Stacie, and Kessia, along with the GrowNYC staff helping them out.

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It was just announced that the market has added dates and will be open through the end of September. The more customers these markets see, the likelier they are to add farmers and be open even more often. And that’s a good thing for everyone.

The Flatbush Junction Youthmarket is open every other Saturday, 10am-4pm, through September 20th at Nostrand and Flatbush Avenues. The next open date will be Saturday, August 9th.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that the market will be open until 9/20 and not 11/22 as previously written.

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