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New Farmers Market Offers Healthy Alternative in Bed-Stuy

 A new farmers market at Marcy Avenue Plaza sells fresh fruits and vegetables to an underserved community.
A new farmers market at Marcy Avenue Plaza sells fresh fruits and vegetables to an underserved community.
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Eat good in the neighborhood.

A new farmers market that opened this month in Bed-Stuy aims to serve fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to a community that organizers said is underserved.

The market, which is in front of a Burger King and across the street from an Applebee's at Restoration Plaza, offers a healthy alternative to restaurants like those, said Robert Ennis Jackson of the Brooklyn Rescue Mission.

"At first we were like, 'OK, we're going to do a health thing in front of Burger King?'" Jackson said. "But it's really worked out."

There isn't enough healthy food access for people of low income in Bed-Stuy, Jackson said, and the market is a way to reach out to to people with low incomes and encourage them to eat healthier.

To that end, the market accepts food stamps, and hands out $2 in "Farmers Market Health Bucks" to whoever pays with them. The hope is this will encourage people to shop for healthier foods.

So far, it seems to be working, said Willy Sanchez of Bedford-Stuyvesant Retoration Corporation .

"A lot of [residents] are coming every week and taking advantage of it," Sanchez said.

The market is sponsored by Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and includes a local vendor from the Bed-Stuy Farm on Decatur Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Patchen Avenue, as well as Trinity Farm, a farm based in central New York.

On a recent visit, vendors were selling fresh peaches, corn apples, kale and yellow flesh watermelon.

Jackson said his hope is that markets like this one will begin to change food culture in Bed-Stuy.

"In the morning they actually wait for the farmers," Jackson said. "People are really hungry for healthy food."