Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge Greenmarket turns parking lot into town square

Gentile sets up table at farmer’s market to meet constituents

June 2, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Tina Lei of Toigo Orchard display tomatoes and cucumbers. Eagle photos by Paula Katinas
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The Bay Ridge Greenmarket, which had its official grand opening on Saturday, is more than just a place to buy fresh potatoes, carrots and strawberries from the farmers who grow them, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile. It’s also a new type of town square, he said.

“This really is Bay Ridge’s town square on Saturday mornings,” Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) told a large crowd of local residents that came to the grand opening. The Greenmarket, located in the back of the parking lot at Walgreens at 9408 Third Ave., offers a chance for Bay Ridgeites to meet other local residents and talk about the latest neighborhood news.

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Getting into the spirit of the town square, Gentile set up a table so that he could meet constituents. But the main purpose of the greenmarket is to bring farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to urban denizens and in turn, help keep independent farmers in business, Gentile and market officials said.

Now in its eighth season, the Bay Ridge Greenmarket is part of the citywide greenmarket program operated by the organization Grow NYC with funding from the City Council. There are 54 greenmarkets in neighborhoods all over the city.

The Bay Ridge Greenmarket is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from now until Nov. 21.

The vendors include: Goodale Farms from Long Island; Jersey Farm, from Hunterdon County, New Jersey; and Toigo Orchards, from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

But this farmer’s market offers a lot more than just fruits and vegetables. There’s also a fisherman from American Seafood, a company based on Long Island, selling fish. Another vendor, Bread Alone, sells freshly baked breads, muffins and apple pies. And DiPaola Turkey Farm, from Mercer County, New Jersey, offers turkey parts, turkey burger patties, and other items. Lara Bock, manager of the Bay Ridge Greenmarket, made turkey meatballs as part of a cooking demonstration.

Cheryl Huber, associate director of Grow NYC, urged residents to shop at the Bay Ridge Greenmarket. “Our mission is to keep our farms, our fishermen, our bakers in business. Please shop and continue shopping throughout the season,” she said.

“We are only as successful as our customers,” said Michael Hurwitz, director of the citywide Greenmarket program.

Gentile suggested that shoppers buy strawberries. “The time is here today with the season’s first strawberries,” he said. Tina Lei, from Toigo Orchards, said strawberry season is short. “It’s only in season for another couple of weeks,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“We have great vendors lined up this year,” Gentile said. “From steaks to scallops and tomatoes to potatoes, we have it all.”

Gentile, who worked to secure funding for the farmer’s market, also sponsors another market in his council district. The Bensonhurst Greenmarket, located in Milestone Park on 18th Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets, will open on June 7 at 8 a.m.

For more information, call Gentile’s office at 718-748-5200 or visit



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