An East Harlem farmer’s market opened for the summer on Friday – one of seven such markets hosted by public hospitals citywide.
Harvest Homes Farmer’s Markets and the Metropolitan Hospital Center have partnered to sell fresh fruit and vegetables to the residents of East Harlem, a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the city.
“Access to fresh fruits and vegetables has been one of the prescriptions that have been proven to either reduce or eliminate those types of illnesses,” said organizer Maritza Wellington Owens. “So having a farmers market is actually very critical to these communities.”
Owens said about 300 people buy produce at the East Harlem market every Friday. It is the fourth year the hospital has hosted the farmer’s market.
East Harlem resident Maria Rivera, 54, said she plans her Fridays around the farmer’s market.
“You go to the supermarket in a day or two, they spoiling but when you buy them here, you know you can keep them longer,” River said. “The prices could be a little better because we’re in a lower income neighborhood but it’s worth it.”
One in three adults is obese in East and Central Harlem, according to reports from the Department of Health.
The farmers market on the corner of East 99th Street and Third Avenue.
The other farmers markets are at Jacobi Hospital Center, North Central Bronx Hospital, Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx, Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Queens Hospital Center and Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens.
The farmers markets accept foods stamps and Health Bucks.