Written by Michele Bernstein-Siegel Friday, 08 June 2012 00:00Farmers markets have been sprouting up everywhere, nourished by a budding interest in fresh grown produce that isn’t transported from thousands of miles away. As a result, “foodies” are finding it easier to purchase local, garden-fresh food, while supporting local farmers. The launching of this idea in Great Neck was fertilized by years of discussion and planning between members of the Great Neck community, village officials and Great Neck Park District commissioners.
There are many towns throughout Long Island (and around the state) that host similar markets and certain residents have observed that Great Neck has been long overdue. The dream has finally become reality. Great Neck is proud to introduce to the community its first farmers market beginning Thursday, June 14 and continuing every Thursday through Nov. 1. The farmers market will be located at the Village Green from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by the park district. This long-anticipated program has been established through an inter-municipal agreement between the Village of Great Neck and the Great Neck Park District. Both entities have affirmed their desire to jointly sponsor the program.
Some of the early season’s best nutrient rich, locally harvested vegetables from Long Island will currently be featured, such as asparagus, oregano, kale, beets, carrots, arugula, chard, scallions and more. There will also be other homemade and locally grown foods including breads, baked goods, pastas, preserves, raw honey, cow’s milk, yogurt, goat cheese and farm fresh eggs.
According to the Agricultural Marketing Service, farmers’ markets in the United States have increased 18 percent since 2004. Leading this market movement is a group of citizens known as “locavores.” The word—Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2007 — refers to anyone who is committed to eating as locally and seasonally as possible.
Health and wellness enthusiasts Ana Nieto and partner Ivo Tomasini, who presently run the Sag Harbor Farmers Market, are on board to operate the market in the village green. They have a network of vendors (ie: A Taste of the North Fork, Arlotta Foods, Orient Organics Farm, Rustic Roots, Blue Duck Bakery, DelPozzo Foods, Dora’s Gourmet-Papa Pasquale, Goodale Farm, Horman Best Pickle, Life Is Gruff) who are delighted with the beautiful space in the Village Green, as it is perfect for this type of market. Ana and Ivo have reached out to many Long Island farmers and businesses to bring a variety of choices to the community. If this is a success, you can be sure that next year it will interest more vendors to join in.
Any owner or operator of a lawfully operated business within the village that qualifies under the applicable provisions of the New York State Agricultural Market Law (AML) may participate on the same basis as any other vendor at the Farmers Market. Eligibility and approval of village business owners are based on their qualifications. Some of the vendors are WIC (a federally funded health and nutrition program for women, infants and children) certified. The market does not accept virtual food stamps or Electronic Transfer Benefits (EBT) at this time. There will be no fish or meat permitted to be sold.
Thursday, June 14 at 9 a.m. there will be a special Opening Day Vine Cutting Ceremony in the Village Green, to give appreciation to the Great Neck Park District commissioners and trustees of the Village of Great Neck who were instrumental in the creation of the market. While many trends are destined to fade just as quickly as they come about, the local food movement seems as though it will have staying power. See you at the Farmers Market in the Village Green.