Northeast Queens residents turned out in droves on Sunday to buy fresh vegetables, breads, meats, cheeses and a variety of other goods at Douglaston’s long-awaited .
Community leaders said they believed the market would be a significant step in revitalizing Douglaston Village’s commercial strip along 41st Avenue and 235th Street.
“It’s alive down here again,” said Dorothy Matinale, president of the Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce.
The market opened for business at 9 a.m. and was scheduled to remain open until 3 p.m. It will operate during the same hours every Sunday through Nov. 20.
Margaret Hoffman, one of the managers for the Douglaston green market, said the morning turnout for the market’s opening day had been steady.
“So far, so good,” she said. “We’re having a great day. A lot of people seem very enthusiastic.”
A majority of the market’s Sunday morning patrons were Douglaston, Little Neck and Bayside residents, Hoffman said.
The market, which is located in the traffic circle at Douglaston’s Long Island Rail Road station, is operated by GrowNYC, which also runs the massive green market in Union Square as well as a number of other sites across the five boroughs.
The market’s vendors include New Jersey’s DiPaola Turkeys, Suffolk County’s American Seafood, Ulster County’s Bread Alone Bakery, Mercer County’s Cherry Grove Farm, Delaware County’s Lucky Dog Farm, Orange County’s Madura Farms, Hartford County’s Newgate Farm and New Jersey’s Nolasco Farms.
Visitors were able to choose from a variety of goods, such as mushrooms, baked goods, cheeses, lamb, organic vegetables, shellfish and pastries.
Nearly two hours after having opened, Bread Alone Bakery had already sold out of its bread, pastries and organic foods.
Sergio Nolasco, whose farm grows Mexican specialty produce and herbs, said he was pleased by the number of patrons who had visited his booth.
“It’s been pretty busy,” he said around noon, “And right now, we’re getting more of the church crowd coming in.”
Rev. Linden DeBie, pastor of The Community Church of Douglaston, was among that crowd.
“I think this is a charming addition to the community,” he said. “It brings attention to the downtown in a delightful way. The food is extraordinary.”
Douglas Montgomery, the vice president of the neighborhood’s garden club, has been pushing for the market’s creation in the community for two years. He said he thought its debut ran very smoothly.
“People are coming here and shopping for 10 minutes and taking off, so the parking has not been too crowded,” he said. “But we’re getting a ton of people down here. It’s a social event for the neighborhood and the quality of the produce is amazing. It’s been really wonderful.”
Victor Dadras, a local architect, said he believed that hundreds of people had already visited the market during the day’s first half.
“It’s been very steady – some vendors are already running out of food,” he said. “This is a vital step in the revitalization of the Village.”
Dadras said he spent an estimated $75 at the market on everything from cider donuts and strawberry rhubarb pie to scallions and tomatoes.
For more information, visit the green market’s website.