Astoria, Markets
May 13, 2016

Fresh Food Fans, Rejoice! Youthmarket Coming to Ditmars Park This Summer

Get ready for a Youthmarket this summer, setting up shop at Ditmars Park, located on Steinway Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Blvd

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Ditmars Park Sign and front gate

Every year we are always excited to tell you about the start of the Greenmarket season in Astoria at two locations—the Socrates Greenmarket in Socrates Sculpture Park and the Astoria Greenmarket on 14th Street between 31st Avenue and 31st Road. This year we can add an additional market—the new Youthmarket at Ditmars Park on Steinway Street between Ditmars Blvd and 23rd Ave. It’s happening thanks to the good work of Astorians Danielle DePalma, Mike Moreno, and Kim Alexandrescu—leaders of the local community group behind the market—as well as Kori Petrovic, the Youthmarket Program Coordinator from GrowNYC, and of course, our councilman Costa Contstantinides, who approved to fund the Youthmarket in Ditmars Park.

The Youthmarket will be open on Saturdays, July 9 to November 19, from 9am to 4pm. Now, you may be asking (as I did), “what the heck is a Youthmarket and is it different from a Greenmarket?” According to Kori, it’s based on the Greenmarket model, in that it provides fresh, local food to a community in a market setting. The “youth” in Youthmarket are the folks that run the market, not grow the food (though perhaps on some farms young people do help out with daily work). Think of it as a seasonal job, an opportunity for local youth—likely hired from the organization Global Kids—to learn how to operate a small business while better understanding how to eat seasonally and the importance of supporting local farmers. You may also see them doing cooking demonstrations and short nutrition education workshops on site.

youthmarket

Like a Greenmarket, the Youthmarket will sell fresh fruits and vegetables; eggs, honey, maple syrup, grains, and baked goods may also become available. If the market becomes wildly successful (which, face it, it really could), it may be replaced by a Greenmarket proper, but most likely the first thing that would happen is that more products would be available for purchase. To see a list of potential farms at Ditmars Park, head to this page. Farms that may already be familiar to you include Cayuga Pure Organics, Farmer Ground Flour, and Satur Farms.

I asked some of the Astoria crew to tell me a little about how this Youthmarket at Ditmars Park came about. Mike Moreno said that implementing a Youthmarket rather than a Greenmarket was suggested by the good folks at GrowNYC. “It is a beautiful way to introduce a farmers market to the area while also involving the community in a very commingled and supportive way,” said Mike. “Friends of Ditmars Park is not just about organizing events and activities in the park, but also creating an engaging and lasting neighborhood ecosystem.”

Logo FDP

As is often the case these days, the thought-seed for this project was planted on Facebook. Mike explains, “Danielle DePalma reached out to me on our Facebook page and mentioned that she was trying to bring farm fresh produce to Astoria. A farmers market was the ideal choice, and we hatched a plan to get in touch with GrowNYC to see what we could do. With Danielle’s inspiration and their help, we got the connections to the suppliers and worked with Councilmember Costa Constatinides to receive the appropriate funding.”

The organizers believe the Astoria community will embrace the Youthmarket with open arms. “There’s been so much interest in organic and local food options at the family level, but I am sure this is a cause supported throughout the community,” Kim Alexandrescu remarks. “I believe the idea of locally grown produce reaches across cultures, as well, which we know Astoria is rich with.”

Councilmember Simotas

Mike Moreno with neighbor volunteers and Councilmember Simotas showing her support for our It’s My Park clean up day last year, where we partnered with Partnerships for Parks and over 30 members of our neighborhood and a local youth group. 

And the market will no doubt nurture the already solid sense of community at Ditmars Park, and bring newcomers there, too. Kim adds, “The energy and community that will be promoted and provided by an easily accessible neighborhood farmer’s market at Ditmars Park will only benefit our already growing and vibrant community.”

Well, we can’t wait to check it out. Big thanks to all who helped make this happen—I think it will be a huge hit in the neighborhood.

Ditmars Park Youthmarket
Steinway Street between Ditmars Blvd and 23rd Avenue, Astoria [map]
Open Saturdays, July 9 to November 19
Hours: 9-4pm

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

One Comment

Maggie

Thanks for the report! This is truly exciting! We can’t wait til July to shop for fresh products locally as we didn’t join a CSA this year. Ditmars could use a farmer market for sure :D

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