By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo News Editor
UPPER EAST SIDE — The famed art auction house Sotheby's seems to have a yen for farm fresh food.
On the heels of last September's auction of heirloom prouce, in which people bid thousands of dollars for fruits and veggies grown from rare seeds, the purveyor of Picassos and Warhols is hoping to collaborate with nonprofit green thumb group GrowNYC, which runs the city's greenmarkets, to host a farmers market run by the city's youth in front of its York Avenue building on four Tuesdays in September.
Last year's sale of vintage varieties of tomatoes, eggplants and live poultry brought in more than $100,000 to help GrowNYC's New Farmer Development Project supporting immigrants starting up small farms in the New York region and the Sylvia Project, a program aimed to inspire young people to discover good nutrition on an upstate farm and in a Hudson Square kitchen.
The proposal for the Sotheby's Youth Farmers Market came before Community Board 8's Street Fair committee on Tuesday night, where members had mixed feelings.
Some were supportive of the small-scale event that would bring fresh food to the area and didn't think it would pose too much of a problem on the sidewalk in front of 1334 York Ave. Others were more skeptical and wanted to know where the kids manning the stand on between East 71st and 72nd streets — on Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27 — and the produce would be coming from.
The full board is expected to vote on the market Wednesday night.
Ethel Sussman, a representative for City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, told committee members that her office was supportive of the project.
"It's an opportunity for youth and the availability of fresh produce in the neighborhood," Sussman said. "We've worked with Sotheby's before," she said, noting that the auction house holds the councilwoman's annual East Side Children's Art Show.
"They are involved in the community, but don't take the glory," Sussman said.
Sotheby's did not immediately respond for comment. GrowNYC also declined to comment before the full community board's vote.
There are currently 11 youth markets in the city, including two in Manhattan, one on Ninth Avenue and West 16th Street, the other on the Lower East Side at Grand and Pitt streets.
Based on the greenmarket model, they are operated by "neighborhood youth, supplied by local farmers, and designed to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to communities throughout New York City," according to GrowNYC's website. They increase access to farm fresh produce and have helped youth earn money and learn small business skills, the site said.