By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Despite record-setting heat, throngs of Washington Heights residents, workers and politicians gathered to celebrate the opening of Northern Manhattan’s third Greenmarket on Tuesday.
“I love coming to the farmers market,” Washington Heights resident Esperanza Mendez, 35, said in Spanish, while picking lettuce with her daughter Rachel Gutierrez, 3. “I find the food to be more nutritious, fresh and the taste is more delicious.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat and other officials participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony on Fort Washington Avenue, between 168th and 169th streets.
“Greenmarkets like these bring neighborhoods the local vegetables they need and in turn support local farmers,” Quinn said. “This market really means we are paving the way to make Washington Heights that much healthier.”
The market offers fruits and vegetables, honey, cheese and assorted items from seven vendors and will regularly offer cooking demonstrations by GrowNYC, which operates the Greenmarket in collaboration with New York Presbyterian/Columbia University’s CHALK (Choosing Healthy & Active Lifestyles for Kids) program.
It is the city’s 51st Greenmarket, and one of 40 markets to accept food stamps and EBT cards.
Washington Heights and Inwood offer two more Greenmarkets during the week, with one Thursdays on Broadway and 175th Street from July through early November, and another year-round on Saturdays in Inwood on Isham Street, between Seaman and Park Terrace West.
“It’s so great to be able to be involved in helping people and communities get healthy food by bringing them locally grown fruits and vegetables,” said Queens native and vendor Julian Jimenez, of Nolasco Farms in Hackettstown, N.J. “We’re so happy to be a part of the green movement here in New York.”