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First Nighttime Farmers Market Brings Fresh Food to Harlem Workers

By DNAinfo Staff on October 12, 2012 7:59am

HARLEM — The first nighttime farmers market in Harlem brought fresh produce to shoppers usually too busy to make it to the stalls.

The pop-up Harlem Greenmarket  took place on West 117th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, and aimed to offer fruit and veg to the working crowd who can't shop during regular daytime hours.

"It's a great opportunity for Harlem," said Lakisha Alvarado, 34, a social services worker.

"We really don't have any fresh fruits and vegetables. I'm bringing my daughter out to see what fresh fruit looks like and where it comes from."

Adam Fachler, 26, a teacher and neighborhood resident, thought Thursday's market was a rare treat. His schedule never allows him to shop during the day, he said.

"This type of local, sustainable, organic food, it's very important to me," said Fachler. "I hope that they have more of these in the future."

In addition to produce, sellers offered cheese, flowers and  baked goods,  as well as specialties from neighborhood eateries. Kids also got to play in a pumpkin patch and have their faces painted. 

The organizers included GrowNYC, Fredrick Douglass Boulevard Alliance and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Michael Hurwitz, GrowNYC's greenmarket director, said the idea came from the success of other cities' nighttime markets.

He said he hopes that it will continue, at least on a quarterly basis.

Stringer called the empty lot used by the market — typically the site of the Treasure Chest Flea Market — a blank canvas for the community.

"Tonight, we’re painting this canvas green by transforming it into a showcase for local businesses, farmers, and entertainers," he said.

"With its evening and nighttime hours, New Yorkers who work into the late evening can still pick up healthy produce on the way home."