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Farmers Market Returns to Rockefeller Center

By Mathew Katz | August 7, 2012 5:12pm | Updated on August 7, 2012 5:13pm

MIDTOWN — At Rockefeller Center, even the farmers markets are staffed by tourists.

Marie Montels, stood nervously behind a table offering passersby samples of wine. The 21-year-old France native arrived in the country two weeks ago to spend part of her summer working for the Long Island-based Paumanok Vineyard.

"We sell wine here. That's what we do. That's what I came here to do," said Montels.

Farmers Market at Rockefeller Center returned on Tueday, giving a home to a wide variety of vendors Tuesdays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until August 24.

Among throngs of tourists snapping pictures and hoping for a celebrity run-in with Tina Fey, the market gives local farmers a chance to sell their wares in one of the most heavily trafficked areas of the city.

The market, which started in 2001, was bustling on its first day of the summer, though moreso with tourists looking for snacks and gifts than locals picking up groceries.

"We get more office workers at the end of the day," said one worker at a produce stand who declined to give his name.

Alison Chang, 22, works nearby and came to the market for a cheap lunch.

"I didn't know it was going to be here, but I wish it was here all the time," she said while scarfing down a muffin.

Over at the wine stand, Montels said that her stand sold "a lot of wine" throughout the day.

"We get some people who work here, but there's a lot of tourists," she said. "The French and Germans like the wine."

Werner Gruning, 43, was one of those Germans, though he was more interested in scoping out the produce.

"It's interesting to see the Americans giving this a try," he said. "It looks good. But our fruits look better."