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Read the press release here.

New Farmers Markets Looking to Fill Hunters Point's Hunger for Produce

LONG ISLAND CITY — Hunters Point is looking more like Farmers Boulevard these days.

Two groups are looking to open farmers markets this summer in the Long Island City neighborhood, which hasn't had an outdoor produce stand for the last few years.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and GrowNYC announced plans to open a weekly youth-run farm stand at 48th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, staffed by teens recruited from the neighborhood's YMCA, according to a press release.

Another group, Down to Earth, is looking to open a farmers market at the same location on the same day, Saturdays.

"That is the location that we're looking at," said Frankie Rowland, communications director for Down to Earth, which currently runs markets at seven locations in the city and in Rockland and Westchester counties.

She said the Down to Earth market would differ from GrowNYC's because in addition to produce, it would offer specialty products from local area vendors like pickles, cheese, jams and baked goods.

"We do provide a somewhat different type of market, where we would offer a wide range of products," Rowland said.

Both projects have the support of Queens Community Board 2, according to chairman Joe Conley, who said the board would like the two markets to work together to create one large outdoor market at the site.

"We're hoping it's a combination, not a competition," he said. "It would be one large market instead of two small markets, so there would be more variety."

The GrowNYC market will run on Saturdays between July and November from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and would by staffed by teens from the neighborhood. The farm stand is part of GrowNYC's youth market initiative, which provides summer jobs to children, teaching them small business skills and about food sustainability.

"Bringing a Greenmarket back to Hunters Point/Long Island City has been a top priority for me and I am proud to announce it's coming back," Van Bramer said in a statement. "Not only will we be bringing in locally grown farm fresh fruits and vegetables directly into Long Island City but we will be providing our local youth with jobs."

GrowNYC used to run a green market at the same location in Hunters Point several years ago, but it closed in 2010 because of low sales.

GrowNYC staffer Olivia Blanchflower said youthmarkets tend to be more financially sustainable than their traditional markets because they sell products from a number of farms rather than have the farms staff the markets themselves, which can be more costly.

"Those farmers have to put out a table, get somebody to work it, take a day off from the farm — and that market has to be profitable enough to cover those costs," she said.

"The beauty of the youthmarket program is that it's able to provide food access to a neighborhood where a traditional farmers market is either predicted not to be profitable or where we've had a market not work out," she said, adding that all the teen workers would be paid competitive hourly wages.

Conley said the markets should fare better this summer, thanks to the influx of new development and residents in the area over the last few years.

"We thought it would be a good time to revisit it," he said. "The market has a better chance of survival now."