A delicious debut: Youthmarket comes to Kingsbridge Heights

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If you look for it, there is a small oasis of green beckoning in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Kingsbridge Heights. 

On Fridays, from noon to 6 p.m., teens from the neighborhood sell fruits and vegetables from New York-based farms at the Kingsbridge Heights Youthmarket, located on West Kingsbridge Road and Reservoir Avenue at Barnhill Square. 

Operating through Friday, Oct. 28, the market, which debuted on July 15, is a product of the collaboration between Community Board 8 and GrowNYC. 

The nonprofit works to establish environmental programs throughout New York City, to educate teens from underserved neighborhoods about healthy eating and to give the communities they serve a convenient place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. GrowNYC opened its first youthmarket in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brookyln, in 2006.  The network of markets is still expanding, with 13 operating throughout the city. 

CB 8 works with the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center to choose the teens from the neighborhood, who go through an application process to be accepted. 

The Kingsbridge Heights location is squeezed into what Nicole Stent, District Manager of CB 8, referred to as “one of the densest neighborhoods” in the area. And, she said, that’s the idea. 

“GrowNYC wants to get into areas that are busy,” she said. 

While the traffic zoomed by, the veggies stayed fresh. 

“I like the potatoes, cherries, apples and corn,” said 17-year-old Kiana Jackson, who helped man the market table last week. “I’ll take some of the vegetables home and cook them,” she said while eying her wares. 

Food for sale included fresh corn, peppers, collards and cabbage. The teens worked, weighing, bagging and adding up the price of the produce, learning the entrepreneurial and customer service aspects of the market. 

Jaylen Edwards, 15, had to ask an overeager little girl not to squeeze the tomatoes. But they were so plump, how could she resist?   

“When you see how many options there are you really get into the fruits and vegetables,” Jaylen said.

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