Photo by Lucia Reed

Bushwick Farmers’ Market is back! Our local purveyor of farm-fresh produce returns Saturday, May 31 to its flagship location in Maria Hernandez Park. In honor of its emergence from hibernation (a sure sign that summer is nigh), we’re giving you five reasons you should absolutely get out to Bushwick Farmers’ Market this season if you’re not already a regular.

1. Expand your culinary horizons

Add some spice to your tired cooking routines. A trip to the farmers market can be a real botanical education, introducing you to vegetables and herbs you never knew existed. At the market last fall, we learned about the culinary and medicinal uses of epazote and received a crash course in herbal tinctures.

2. Eat tasty treats from Bushwick-based vendors

Besides farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, you’ll find bakeries, coffee roasters, and other local artisans vending delicious goodies. How does bourbon-laced popcorn sound? Or would you prefer sriracha? Both varieties were offered by Bushwick startup Thick Bakery at last year’s market. You’re sure to find such inspired creations by local vendors at this year’s market too.

3. Get to know your community

It’s been reported that people have ten times as many conversations at the farmers market as they do in an average trip to the supermarket. Farmers’ markets serve as a gathering place where groups representing a range of community interests can engage with the public. To kick off the new season, Bushwick Farmers’ Market is hosting an Eco/Health Fair on Saturday to connect market-goers to resources and organizations promoting environmental health, personal health, and community health. Biking and safe-streets advocacy group Transportation Alternatives will be there offering a free bike repair workshop. There will also be cooking demonstrations and a wide range of local businesses and groups involved in fitness, nutrition, and public health–in other words, plenty of opportunities to learn about resources in our community to support your health, and maybe even pick up a new skill or two! To boot, Arts in Bushwick will simultaneously be having its 2014 Community Day in the Park, as part of Bushwick Open Studios.

4. Support local (urban) farms

Now, we all know that farmers’ markets offer produce grown at regional farms, and ours is no different. But few farmers’ markets have the distinction of offering produce grown in the very same neighborhood. Bushwick Farmers’ Market offers produce grown with the help of neighborhood youth at Bushwick Campus Farm, a working urban farm and greenhouse operated in a partnership between a local high school and the Market’s parent organization, EcoStation:NY. At the season opener on Saturday, you’ll be able to purchase plant starts raised by the students at Bushwick Campus. Green thumbs take note.

5. Support EcoStation:NY’s programs

Travis Tench, EcoStation:NY’s Director of Markets, tells Bushwick Daily that one of the organization’s major goals for the year is to continue their urban agriculture education programs and see them grow. The Eco/Health Fair marks the launch of EcoStation:NY’s Farm-In-The-Sky 2 Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to bring back their rooftop farm project and incorporate it into their summer youth program. By getting out to the Market, you’re supporting programs like these–and on Saturday, you can do so directly with a contribution to the Kickstarter campaign.

The first Bushwick Farmers’ Market of the season and the Eco/Health Fair will take place this Saturday outside Maria Hernandez Park (corner of Starr Street and Knickerbocker Avenue) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Market will resume its normal hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m. each Saturday thereafter.

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