The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) Farmers Market has returned for its 11th season with more fresh, locally grown produce than ever before.
The Farmers Market, which runs every Wednesday starting at 3 p.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. in Central Square, usually has fun family-friendly activities each week.
The highlight of last week’s Farmers Market was a special bike safety day and bike raffle. EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes was on hand all afternoon measuring children for bike helmets and picking raffle tickets for the free bikes.
Winners of the EBNHC bike raffle were 8-year-old Anthony Umana and 4-year-old Guadalupe Sanchez, both of East Boston.
Each year the Farmers Market sees more and more new customers and a variety of vendors both old and new. Each week throughout the summer there are special activities like Zumba, music, bike safety lessons and local celebrity chef cook offs to bring attention to the Farmers Market and get more people to participate in the annual tradition.
Eastie’s Farmers Market began when organizers at the Health Center’s Let’s Get Movin’ program asked how could they help families in the community increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diets.
The market brings produce picked that day at Massachusetts’s farms to Eastie. The selection changes throughout the season, from lettuce and greens in early summer to apples and squashes in the fall. At the Market, vendors feature produce important to the many cultures represented by the community.
Shopping at the Farmers’ Market is affordable. Families that qualify can use a range of vouchers and coupons to make fresh fruits and vegetables even easier to purchase.
SNAP/EBT customers receive a 100 percent incentive for each SNAP dollar spent on targeted fruits and vegetables purchased at farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.
WIC also supports farmers as well as good nutrition through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. The East Boston Farmers Market also participates in the WIC Fruit and Vegetable voucher program.
“The Market is also more than a source for healthy food,” said Lopes. “It is also a gathering place for the East Boston community. Many residents come to shop but also to see neighbors and friends.”
Musical and educational events planned for the market this summer will attract more people from a wider area, and will be listed on the East Boston Farmers’ Market web page, www.ebnhc.org/Farmers’Market.php, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EBNHC and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/EBNHC.
The Farmers Market will run through October 17.