Sunday, July 11, 2010
Bigger and Better: East Boston Farmers Market Begins 2010 Season
East Boston, July 12, 2010—The East Boston Farmers Market returns to Central Square in East Boston on Thursday, July 15. Sponsored by the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), the market will provide fresh, locally grown produce every Thursday from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. through October 7.
Alison Smizer, Community Initiatives Coordinator at EBNHC, has led the effort to establish the market in East Boston over the past three years. “We began with just two vendors in 2008,” she says. “In 2010, thanks to the efforts of Eleanor Chandler, market manager, the market will triple in size to six vendors. Families in East Boston will find even more of their favorite fruit, vegetables, and herbs at the market this year.”
The East Boston Farmers Market began when organizers at the health center’s Let’s Get Movin’ program asked, “How can we help families in our community increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diets?” The market brings produce picked that day at Massachusetts farms to East Boston. The selection changes throughout the season, from lettuce and greens in early summer to apples and squashes in the fall.
At the East Boston Farmers Market, vendors feature produce important to the many cultures represented by the community. Dave Dumanesq, also known as Farmer Dave and one of the original vendors at the market, tailors his offerings to the requests of his customers. “We bring chiplin to East Boston because it is an important flavoring in many Salvadorean and other South American dishes. We also sell a lot of yierba mora, cranberry beans, and papalo. Whenever I have jilo, a kind of eggplant, my Brazilian customers often say they haven’t seen it since they left Brazil.” With the arrival of new farmers to the market, including Pamuzinda Farm of Littleton, vegetables and herbs of Southeast Asia and Africa will be offered, including amaranth and collard greens. As the harvest continues, customers will also find tomatoes, corn, peppers, peaches, apples, cilantro, and basil, among other familiar crops.
Shopping at the Farmers Market is affordable. Families that qualify can use a range of vouchers and coupons to make fresh fruits and vegetables even easier to purchase. SNAP/EBT participants can use their cards at the market and receive 50% off purchases up to $20, thanks to the Boston Bounty Bucks program sponsored by the Food Project and the City of Boston. WIC participants can save in two ways with the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and with WIC Fruit & Vegetable vouchers. The East Boston Farmers Market is the only market in the city of Boston participating in this new nutrition voucher program.
The East Boston Farmers Market is more than a source for healthy food. It is also a gathering place for the East Boston community. Many residents come to shop but also to see neighbors and friends. Musical and educational events planned for the market this summer will attract more people from a wider area, and will be listed on the East Boston Farmers Market web page (www.ebnhc.org/FarmersMarket.php), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EBNHC) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/EBNHC).
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center has been a vital part of the East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Winthrop, and Revere communities for 40 years. EBNHC provides easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work in East Boston and the surrounding communities, without regard to age, income, insurance status, language, culture, or social circumstances. For more information contact: Eleanor Chandler, Market Manager, email@example.com