On July 7, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center kicks off another season of farm fresh produce and other treats in Central Square.
The EBNHC Let’s Get Movin Farmers Market in Central Square will officially open this afternoon at 3 p.m. and last until October.
The market will be open each Wednesday until 6:30 p.m. (weather permitting) and according to EBNHC’s Program Coordinator for Community Initiatives Nancy Slamet the market will look a lot different this year.
“We are not going to have the same COVID restrictions and the special hour for seniors this year so it will be open to everyone each Wednesday from 3 to 6:30 pm,” said Slamet. “It will be more of a free-flowing market as in years past.”
While the COVID restrictions may be over, Slamet said that doesn’t mean EBNHC is throwing caution to the wind.
“We’ve really turned it around,” said Slamet. “I read in the news yesterday that Massachusetts is at 82% vaccination, which is amazing. Unlike last year we are not going to have a discreet entrance and exit and people will be able to enter the market freely. However, we are still asking people to follow CDC guidelines when they attend the market like maintaining social distance and wearing a mask if you are not vaccinated.”
Slamet said there will also be signage throughout the weekly market to remind people to sanitize and give space.
“We are mindful that this is still a transition time and although it’s been a good month since all the restrictions have been lifted we don’t want to have huge crowds around any one vendor,” said Almet. “We’ll have staff on hand to gently and in a friendly way remind people to be mindful and considerate to one another. So there is still an emphasis on health and safety.”
Like last year there will still be curbside pickup through the WhatsGood app for those still not comfortable going out into crowds just yet.
The market is also getting some help from the City of Boston. The City of Boston has doubled EBNHC allocation of farmers market coupons. In addition to distributing booklets to families in need, EBNHC will also provide coupons to customers on each market day. The City of Boston coupons are only valid for fresh produce, dairy, eggs, meat, fish and baked goods.
“The city has been extremely generous with food access,” said Slamet. “The economic impacts from the pandemic are still obviously reverberating and there are many members of the community that haven’t yet been able to regain their employment or return to the level of employment they had before the pandemic.”
The Farmers Market will also introduce the summer eats free meal program for kids with help from the YMCA.
“While kids won’t be able to eat their meals on site they can stop by the market on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 and pick up a free meal to bring home,” said Slamet. “And because of COVID we’re allowing parents to pick up meals for their kids and even siblings.”
The first market will kick off with EBNHC collecting raffle entries for the annual Bike Raffle and Helmet giveaway on July 21st. EBNHC staff will collect raffle entries on July 7 and again on July 14. The winner will be drawn on July 21st at 5 p.m.
The Farmers Market accepts cash, debit, credit cards, and phone apps. Other acceptable forms of payment include WIC coupons, Senior coupons, SNAP/food stamps/EBT, and P-EBT.
SNAP/EBT customers receive a 100 percent incentive (a dollar-for-dollar match up to $40-$80, depending on household size) for each SNAP dollar spent on targeted fruits and vegetables purchased at the Farmers Market.
WIC supports farmers as well as good nutrition through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. WIC Farmers Market coupons may be used at the East Boston Farmers Market on fresh, uncut fruits and vegetables.
The 2020 list of local farmers and vendors for this year’s market is;
Baby Greens of Boston –microgreens
Beraka Juice—natural juices
Buddy’s Bagels—local bagels and cream cheese
Drunk on Jam— Homemade “boozy” jams
Eastie Farm— herbs, garlic and seasonal greens
Farmer Dave’s—Fruit and vegetables
Farmers Market Lobster—fresh lobster and crab
Flats Mentor Farms— Central American, African & local vegetables
Hillside Harvest—Gourmet American Caribbean hot sauces
Katz Bagels— packages of bagels
Humble Bones—natural granola
Magic Bird Salsa—hand crafted salsas
Maverick Landing Community Services—custom journals
Meadowbrook Orchards—Fruit, baked goods, eggs
Oriental Farm—Specialty vegetables and herbs
Sherman & Cheries Beezy Bees—Honey & bee products
Uvida Shop—natural home goods
Veronica Robles Cultural Center—Mexican street corn
Wild Robbins Farm—naturally raised meat, poultry, eggs
Freed Foodies—gluten free flour products
Gnarly Vines Farm—naturally raised poultry, eggs and meat
Lost Art Cultured Foods—Sauerkraut
Siena Farms— organic produce and pantry items
Steve’s Original Sauces— Gourmet barbeque sauces.