Douglaston's Green Market Draws Large Crowds

Community leaders say they believe market will assist revitalization of Village's shopping strip.

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.

jacqueline July 16, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Unfortunately, you obviously do not know of Mr. J. Douglas Montgomery, (not the other way around) who never had a home office. there is no fact that he was upset with Mr. Von Schmeling's objection with the green market,& as there are so many opinions out there, that for you to point out only his is absurd.The closing of the Douglaston market is not relevant to the opening of the green market. I am very disappointed in the closing, as I agree with everyone that it was a pleasure to see my kids there as well as the commuters, etc. The fact is that I utilized the Dougalston market when i was PTA president, seeing a wonderful opportunity to use his expertise in good food, helping the PTA with all of our requests, & baking pies for our holiday fundraisers. Mr. Montgomery was a part of this, helping me to utilize the local community for the PTA rather than me establishing an outside relationship. Don't pick on one person when you do not have the facts. The Von Schmelings are a great family, as i still have great pictures of their kids & mine together at my house. As for the water, we decided to teach the incoming PS 98 fifth graders to develop a fundraising event at the green market. We didn't have enough kids & parents to keep the children safe, so Mr. Montgomery gave them away. We are currently working on the fundraiser. You sir, or Madam have no idea who Mr. Montgomery is. And congrats on the new space, Mr Montgomery.
Dorothy Matinale July 16, 2011 at 10:46 PM
We welcome all your comments as it creates a dialogUE which is thought provoking and an impetus for change. I am replying as the President of the Chamber of Commerce, an LDC board member, the Owner of Station Realty (a local business on the South side of the Douglaston LIRR station) and a Douglaston resident for over 18 years. The mission is the same for all of us… revitalize the Village and assist the current businesses to thrive. This takes time and a great deal of work. We meet 2x a month trying to find solutions. The key is getting both local and new consumers to shop there. All our events are aimed at accomplishing that. Personally, I think twice before leaving the Village to purchase goods or services to support my fellow Chamber businesses and encourage others to do the same.
Dorothy Matinale July 16, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Green Markets have documented success in attracting consumers, not only for themselves but to the surrounding businesses. In fact some are in supermarket parking lots and both thrive side by side! We have already seen some direct evidence of increased business for the existing businesses on the very first week. Charlie (the deli) said that coffee sales from 8-10 in the morning were like his Monday morning traffic and business was up all day! We have a new business next to our office, Giftalicious, who was thrilled to see the amount of foot traffic increase from the previous Sunday. They will be offering free samples and coffee as it is their grand opening this weekend. We at Station Realty also saw an increase in foot & walk-in traffic as people passed on their way to and from the Green Market. Our local homeowners trying to sell their co-ops on Douglaston Parkway had 3x as many visitors this week. Some would like to trade up and remain in the community and continue to support the local merchants so they too view the increased traffic as a benefit.
Dorothy Matinale July 16, 2011 at 11:04 PM
At our Chamber of Commerce meeting this week we brainstormed on how to capitalize as businesses on the increased traffic. We are very excited about some of the ideas and welcome your suggestions as well...Pike Bikes is considering a free bike delivery service to help shoppers to their cars. Giftalicious will be offering free coffee and samples of their goodies outside their shop. Strawberry's Chef is trying to visit the market this weekend to see if he can use the items in creating a menu item using the fresh goods so that people can taste how to prepare some of the items they pick up.
Debbie Zammit July 17, 2011 at 12:45 PM
It remains unclear as to why anyone, especially the president of the PTA, would need assistance to utilize and support the local community "rather than establishing an outside relationship." It might be more beneficial to teach the fifth graders to support their local shopkeepers and teach fundraising as an event that would not be at the expense of their own community. It is sad that there was a feeling that kids were not safe at the green market which could perhaps be due to the amount of strangers entering our private community. Had the Douglaston Market been there, no one would have doubted the safety of the children. This is defintely not about the Von Schmelings being a "great family." Not even sure why that comment was made. Whether it's about the Douglaston Market or selling water at the green market, it is clear that the leaders of this community are supporting outsiders and not the local vendors. This is just wrong.
jacqueline July 17, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Dorothy, what great ideas! i just bought fresh food for the week. i saw the new Giftalicious postcards. it was a pleasure to see some friends i haven't seen in awhile. Oh, & BTW to DZ-safety is important not just for kids but for everyone! have a great day!
george July 17, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Let us be truthful, there is no "vitality" in the Village esp. on Sundays! I agree that with the closing of the Douglaston Market, the children suffer from having a safe place to go after school. The reason the Market closed is because the business was not making enough money for it to be viable. We live in a capitalist system and unfortunately it does not always work out the way we hope. Why do some people feel that the community support the local Green Market but NOT our local businesses? I believe this community supports ALL businesses whether it be local storefronts or local weekly markets that meet the NEEDS of the customers. What I would like to know is what the landlords of the THREE empty storefronts are doing? They are also accountable for this desolation of our Village.
judi August 07, 2011 at 05:12 PM
Why does everything have to be about money. What about the fact that people are out walking and talking to each other. Isn't that what a community is about.
Debbie Zammit August 07, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Judi, I couldn't agree with you more. We had a wonderful community where people would walk and talk at the dock, at Memorial Field, at the Club, just walking around the point and at Diego's. Now, for the sake of personal gain (money) we have been invaded by strangers with absolutely no benefit to this community. Our community vendors are now forced to give "free" merchandise and services while the outside vendors and those who solicit the shoppers, achieve personal financial gain. Our community now sports a barrage of signage which is a distraction, not very pretty and certainly not a common occurrence in a neighborhood community such as ours was.
judi August 08, 2011 at 03:19 AM
i think you've missed my point. People are now getting out of their houses and walking to the farmers market to buy fresh wholesome produce. in addition greeting each other with "good morning" or "beautiful day". This market didn't put those stores out of business. It's the landlords who are not making it easy to open a thriving business. It's literally a ghost town by the train. I welcome sundays and the market. Hopefully soon the vacant stores will open and we could support them as well.
James Smith August 08, 2011 at 11:04 AM
I do not believe any of you have anything to worry about. From what I see at this farmers market - is the lack of support from the Douglaston Community. All I know is - The vendors are not selling out all of their food - If they are not SELLING OUT they will not come back next year. I have been to a lot of farmers markets in lower income areas and the farmers sell out all of their food. I know most of the farmers are not happy at the Douglaston Farmers Market. We need to get the word out to support each vendor - If we purchase one product every Sunday from each vendor I believe this will help them very much. I do this every weekend - I purchase something from each vendor - regardless.
James Smith August 08, 2011 at 11:21 AM
The Greenmarket is not a success the same thing is happening to the farmers - NO SUPPORT! I am totally disgusted with all of this bickering that is going on. If you do not support the local vendors now the GREENMARKET VENDORS - All you end up with is a bunch of EMPTY STORES and an EMPTY TRAFFIC CIRCLE on SUNDAYS.
Debbie Zammit August 08, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I don’t think I missed the point at all. Where I live in Douglaston Manor people are always out with a pleasant greeting for their neighbors and friends, not just on Sundays. Are those you speak of local residents? If they were supporters of the Douglaston Market and the local stores, then surely they did not need the green market to have a meet and greet for a few hours on Sunday. Of course the green market did not put stores out of business; it only opened a couple of weeks ago. According to our community leaders, “The green market initiative began over two years ago". According to the Patch, on June 4th, after The Douglaston Market reopened, there was a complaint filed for after-hours construction at the site. The Douglaston Market, a longstanding community vendor, who supported the neighborhood, constantly gave back, provided a safe haven for children and drew crowds daily, not just for a few hours on Sunday, was working to improve its facility and then was anonymously reported and eventually shut down. Where were all the community leaders then? Why weren’t they expressing their outrage and investigating what happened?
Debbie Zammit August 08, 2011 at 11:22 PM
This is not at all about bickering. This is about loyalty. All of our local vendors, the new ones and the old ones are encouraged and forced to offer free and discounted services. What are the green market vendors offering for free or even discounted? It still has not been made clear why it is so important to support the green or farmers market (referred to as both lately). As stated in a prior post, if the farmers are not happy at the Douglaston green or farmers market then they should not be there. If there is a better market for them in a lower income area, then they should go there.
James Smith August 09, 2011 at 12:50 AM
WOW! I cannot believe what I am reading - You say forced to offer free and discounts - You know I was at the market this past Sunday and I was browsing through the brochures that were at the market information booth and I could not help hearing a man talking with the meat man. He had two daughters with him and he was telling the meat farmer that he was unemployed for almost 2 years. He and his wife were living off of packaged foods from the church. The farmer listened and told him things will always work out. The man told the farmer that he just could not afford it - the farmer told him - he understood his situation. As they were talking the farmer was going through his coolers and putting food in a bag - as the man and his two daughters were leaving the farmer said Sir - you forgot your food. The man was shocked and the farmer told him to take the food. It was something I have never seen before - After the man left I moved over and started talking with the farmer - I asked him why he did what he did - He told me everyone gets into situations and the kids really wanted burgers - He also told me that he gave him 4 cornish game hens and about 10 pounds of ground beef plus a few packages of burgers. This was touching to me and my wife. We bought some food and it is fantastic. We never ate anything that tasted that great.
Debbie Zammit August 09, 2011 at 01:11 AM
What a wonderful story! I would sincerely hope that most people in that meat farmer’s position would have done the same. I’m sure The Douglaston Market would have been happy to help that poor family and maybe had done so in the past and we never heard about it. I’m not sure of the connection between that and our local vendors being forced to offer free and discounted merchandise and services. The gentleman you referred to made a charitable donation. I am certain all of our local vendors would have done the same. One issue has nothing to do with the other.
James Smith August 09, 2011 at 01:18 AM
I do not think most people would do such a thing - most of us are selfish and self-serving. I understand where you are coming from and know that you want the stores to re-open. These stores closed because the local community lacked the ability to support these vendors. I know that you supported them just by your responses but it takes a lot more than just a handful of people to support a business - it take the entire community.
Debbie Zammit August 09, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Thanks for the compliment, I think! But I do disagree. I think any one of us would be hard pressed to ignore the plight of an out of work man with a family, including you!
judi August 09, 2011 at 01:33 AM
All around the world there are farmers markets and people love and support them. I'm not sure why it is an issue here for a few people. For years and years green markets have thrived along side local businesses. I would much rather buy garlic grown locally vs store bought garlic from China. As for giving out free coffee that is just a smart business women trying to develop a new business. Let's just agree to disagree. I'll keep supporting the market and the local merchants.
James Smith August 12, 2011 at 11:05 AM
Do not forget to go to the Farmers Market this Sunday - The farmers will be at the market Rain or Shine. It is suppose to rain but support the farmers - No Farms No Food. Buy Local and Support your Local Businesses
judi August 13, 2011 at 02:12 AM
I'll be there. I've also been buying for my mother in law who is from Italy, she is over the moon happy to get such beautiful produce and fresh fish. They usually go to Arthur ave in the Bronx.
Debbie Zammit August 13, 2011 at 03:02 AM
You might want to try North Shore Farms, right here in Little Neck, open seven days a week, until 10:00 pm every night. Your mother in law would love the fresh beautiful produce, fish and all products at really great prices. They are a local vendor, just like the Douglaston Market was. They support our neighborhood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Establishments such as North Shore Farms pay rent and contribute to our community every day. Be sure, as a community, to support your local establishments, so that we have more than just a few hours on a Sunday only to shop for specialty items. The Douglaston Market clearly was not the recipient of this sudden onset of support from the neighborhood and leaders of the community that have recently appeared on behalf of the green or farmers market (????). You can not afford to make that mistake again. Support your local vendors; they are what this community needs.
Martha August 13, 2011 at 01:40 PM
I am really shocked that some people here wish the new Green Market to disappear. I guess Douglaston is really not a borough of New York where people are open and welcoming to new things, especially healthy choices. I say if you don't like the market, then just don't go, but please leave the other people the enjoyment of the market.
Debbie Zammit August 13, 2011 at 09:18 PM
I believe the residents of Douglaston are open, welcoming and make healthy choices all the time. We, who live here, think Douglaston is the best section in the borough of Queens. This is not about shock, wishing or guessing. This is about business, community and loyalty. Mr. Smith told a wonderful story of how a vendor at the green/farmers market made a charitable donation to a gentleman who was unemployed with a family. Has anyone thought about the proprietor, the employees and the families of the Douglaston Market who were abruptly removed from this community? The leaders of this community need to support the old, reliable, faithful community markets that give back every day before they embrace the outsiders. The people of this community are free to make their own, informed choices.
James Smith August 14, 2011 at 12:06 AM
I do not disagree with what you are say Ms Zammit but currently their are no shops selling what these folks are bringing to the market in Douglaston. What would be nice if we could find a local store that would sell some of the farmers food - A lot of companies say that they have local but are truly only providing us with a small amount of local food. Even if you are not for the market that is your choice - I personally believe that they are bringing great value to our families. Probably for the first time in most of our children's lives they can meet some of the people that actually grow, raise, harvest and bring to market what we eat. When I talk to the people that are the actual farmers - the hours and efforts they put into bringing their product to market amazes me. Some work hours that you and I would not even consider viable. My grandson was so very excited to meet some of the people he was shy so I asked some of the questions. I hope to see you all at the market tomorrow rain or shine. One more thing Ms Zammit just go to the market and browse.
judi August 14, 2011 at 02:33 AM
We do shop at North Shore Farms. As for the Douglaston market, I went to Diego's every morning since the day it opened. I am very found of Diego and his family and was saddened to see them close. One thing has nothing to do with the other. The Douglaston market was not a farm stand it was a deli. As for loyalty have you noticed the number of fresh direct trucks in the Manor? And yes I'm one of the people receiving it. Just trying to eat healthy.
Debbie Zammit August 14, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Once again, please understand, this is not about being fond of Diego and his family. This is not about a farm stand verses a deli. This is not about eating healthy. Everyone is free to support whatever organization they chose to. Just don’t be fooled into thinking that by supporting the green/farmers market, you are supporting your community. This community gains nothing by allowing outsiders in to sell their products. There might be individuals that will have personal financial gain by advocating for the new market to be placed in the center of one of the most private communities in the borough of Queens. There is no gain for the Douglaston community. Our community leaders were so busy supporting the initiative of the outsiders for two years that they did nothing when a devastating injustice was done to one of our own community vendors, who had always contributed to our community. Please, be careful what you wish for, we must support our local shop owners as they support us.
judi August 14, 2011 at 08:35 PM
I supported the Douglaston market everyday as did many of our neighbors. Perhaps the rent was too high, they were getting a rent increase, or any other factors we are not privy to. It sounds like you think there was a big conspiracy around the Douglaston market closing. Sometimes business just fail. I must end this dialogue, it just keeps going round and round. Most people are thrilled with the change and look forward to the building of new and existing business. Yesterdays fair was a clear example of this.
Debbie Zammit August 14, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Unfortunately, you must have missed the part about the Douglaston Market being anonymously reported after spending time and money on improvements. This was not about a longstanding business just failing. Yesterday’s fair was about community and a clear example of what our wonderful community markets (not the green/farmers market) contribute to both our community and charitable causes. Was the green/farmers market there? You can end your portion of the dialogue and support whoever you like, but be sure that you understand it is not the community you are supporting, it is the outside vendors.
judi August 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Unfortunately you've missed the point.


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