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Farmers Market Brings Juice-Making Workshops and Live Music to Jamaica

 The Jamaica Farmers market reopens for the season this weekend.
The Jamaica Farmers market reopens for the season this weekend.
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Down to Earth Markets

QUEENS — Just in time for summer, the Jamaica Farmers Market is reopening this Friday, offering a variety of fruit and vegetable stands, in addition to numerous workshops and events.

This season, local kids will get a chance to learn how to make simple fruit juices from produce that is currently in season during a series of "Fruity Pop Workshops," the organizers said.

The free workshops, led by Nicole Caruth of With Food in Mind, a nonprofit that organizes drop-in classes and other educational programs that focus on food and visual elements, will be offered at the market beginning July 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The program, which was introduced at the Jamaica market last year, was so popular that the organizers decided to bring it back to the neighborhood and offer it for four weeks.

“We really want the kids in the neighborhood to be a part of it,” said Nicole Reed of Down to Earth Markets, which recruits farmers for the market.

During the program, meant for children ages 4 to 11, participants will be making juices using regular club soda mixed with peaches, strawberries, pears and other fruits that are in season. No artificial colors will be added, Reed said.

Reed also said that on June 20 and 28, a jazz trio will be playing live at the market from noon to 2 p.m.

Throughout the season, the market will feature numerous cooking demonstrations as well as free produce tastings and shoppers will be able to take recipes home.

The market will also host the annual Harvest Festival in October.

Several farmers will be selling starter plants for those interested in growing their own vegetables at their homes and gardens, Reed said.

Among the farmers offering their produce this season will be Alex’s Tomato Farm, selling fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants, John Madura Farms, offering eggs, dairy and honey, Migliorelli Farm, which sells herbs, sauces, salsa and apple ciders, and Gajeski Produce, which offers fruits and vegetables, according to Down to Earth Markets.

Residents who receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits can pay for produce using Electronic Benefit Transfer. The market also accepts Health Bucks, a program in which shoppers who spend $5 in SNAP benefits at the market receive an additional $2 in Health Bucks for additional purchases.

The Jamaica market, founded in 1974 and sponsored by the nonprofit Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, is one of the oldest farmers markets in New York.

The market, located on 160th Street, off Jamaica Avenue, will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will remain open until the third week in November.