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Farmers’ Market Still Growing Strong

Effort Still to Promote Local and Locally Grown

In its second year at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, the Farmers’ Market is still growing in popularity. With the ‘go green’ initiative in full swing, more and more consumers are interested in knowing exactly where their food comes from and what’s in it.

Ethel Terry of The Fred and Ethel Terry Farms in Orient Point runs the Long Island Growers Market, which operates 13 sites - including NUMC - throughout Long Island.

“We pick fresh every day at our farm so people come to us because they know where the veggies are coming from,” Terry said.

At 400 years old, The Fred and Ethel Terry Farms is one of the oldest family farms in the state. The 130-acre farm harvests 60 types of vegetables and three orchards for fruit, provides 12 vendors with seasonal fruits and vegetables. They provide, along with NUMC’s registered dietitians, a fun, outdoor venue for educating staff and visitors about nutrition, food preparation and the benefits of eating fresh and local produce to further contribute to the long-term development of healthy eating habits.

According to a June 4 press release, NUMC sponsors the Farmers’ Market “to promote healthy meals of increased nutritional value and encourage the purchase of locally grown produce.”

Karen Benrubi, special assistant to the NUMC President and CEO Arthur Gianelli, helped organize the market. She said Gianelli was interested in making healthier alternatives available to both workers and the local community.

“As a hospital providing care to an increasing number of obese, diabetic and hypertensive patients, NUMC is in a unique position to not just treat their ailments but to improve the health of our patients, visitors and employees by increasing the likelihood that they will eat nutritious and fresh foods,” Gianelli said in a press release. “We believe the Farmers’ Market will provide us with an opportunity to assist the community in improving their health.”

Sarah Terry tends to the stand at NUMC. While she said this year is a “little slower” due to the economy, they still have regular customers each week.

While their produce isn’t certified organic, the younger Terry said it is “naturally grown.”

“My uncle farms the land,” she added. “He knows what the soil needs. He doesn’t over-fertilize.”

Westbury resident Vanda Azevedo said she shops at the Farmers’ Market weekly to buy produce for her clients. As The Organic Personal Chef (www.theorganicpersonalchef.com), Azevedo prepares healthy, organic meals in customer’s homes.

“It tastes better and my clients get minimum spraying and pesticides in the food,” she said.

In the personal chef business for over 10 years, Azevedo said she began using organic ingredients about four years ago.

Donna Gaudioso of A Taste of Home Bakery co-sponsors the Farmer’s Market, offering cookies, cakes, breads, etc. All the baking is done on-premise at their North Bellmore store, located at 1992 N. Jerusalem Road (www.atasteofhomebakery.com)

“It helps out the local community,” the East Meadow resident said. “It gets people out and it’s a little cheaper than the supermarkets.”

Roseann Murphy of Levittown works at NUMC and shops at the Farmers’ Market every Friday. She said she usually purchases her breakfast pastry from A Taste of Home and produce to use later.

“It’s convenient and everything is fresh,” Murphy added.

Former restaurateur Steve Price brings his homemade product line, Dora’s Gourmet, to several Farmers’ Markets across Long Island each week.

While in their second year, Price said it’s still too early to tell if he will be successful.

“It’s a lot less pressure [than the restaurant business] and you’re dealing with nice people out in the fresh air,” he added.

Dora’s Gourmet includes salads, soups, dips, dressings, etc. and can be purchased by calling 631-404-8826.

Other vendors include The Plantage (www.plantage.com) from Mattituck with various nursery items, homemade soaps from Handmade Industries, The Pickle Guy from Glen Cove and Renaissance Baking Corp. in Corona. Dahn Yoga (www.dahnyoga.com) in East Meadow is the newest vendor at the market, offering massages.

The New York State Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides nutrition benefits to low-income women, children and senior citizens and promotes the purchase of New York State fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets throughout the state. In 2009 WIC families received a one-time benefit of $24 per household and low-income seniors received $20 in checks per household. Under the program, New York State Farmers’ Market Checks are provided during the summer to families enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program and Senior Citizens Programs in communities with farmers’ markets. However, only locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables (and fresh-cut herbs) may be purchased with NYS Farmers’ Market Checks.

According to figures supplied by Jonathan Thomas of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, in 2009, the FMNP operated at 360 farmers’ markets in all 62 counties of New York State, benefiting 925 farmers, 260,000 WIC households, and 89,000 low-income seniors and operating through hundreds of WIC local agency and senior sites.

The NUMC location is open every Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. from June to mid-November in the Activities Building parking lot. For more information on this or other local Farmers’ Markets, visit www.nyfarmersmarket.com or ligrowersmarket.com.