Healthy Orange Farmers Market continues into autumn

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 9/28/21

On Tuesday morning, Healthy Orange Farmers Market prepares to open for the community of Newburgh, continuing its seasonal push till the end of October.

Pastor Jeffery Woody of The Cathedral at …

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Healthy Orange Farmers Market continues into autumn

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On Tuesday morning, Healthy Orange Farmers Market prepares to open for the community of Newburgh, continuing its seasonal push till the end of October.

Pastor Jeffery Woody of The Cathedral at The House sponsors the market and works closely with Manny Gonzalez, the farmers market manager and Meg Oakes, a health and wellness coordinator from the Orange County Health Department (OCHD).

According to Woody, six years ago, the market previously was held in the parking lot of the church and then with the continuous expansion and collaboration with OCHD, the market then moved across the street. The market, now held on a Broadway lot next to the DMV Building, not only offers fresh produce but offers information about health insurance and health and wellness programs.

This year, the market applied for a grant through the Double Up Food Bucks program, which was approved and was integrated into the market. The program works with SNAP, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, where people can purchase products with their SNAP funds. They will be given double the amount that they spend in tokens that can be used for purchases.

According to Woody, the market also offers a popular program that has helped residents in acquiring quality produce called Farm2Go Bags that is operated by Jewish Family Services. This service prepares the product and delivers it to the residents from the market itself.

According to Oakes, other programs that are implemented through the market include a program called A Prescription for Produce. The program assists residents who go to healthcare sights, if screened and identified as having food insecurities, they will be given market vouchers to purchase produce. There is also a program called Senior Coupons through the Office for the Aging that gives senior citizens a booklet of coupons that they can use at the market.

For the vendors, returning or joining the market from the previous year, each share their own perspective on the market and how its presence benefits the community.

Kaylyn Fino, market manager for Fino Farms in Milton works various markets with her mother during the course of the season. Fino Farms has only been with the Newburgh Market for a year, whereas previously, the farm was involved in a market in Hyde Park for several years. It was Kaylyn’s father, Anthony Fino, who made the initial contact with Healthy Orange and was asked to be a part of this market this year.

For Kaylyn, she encourages the community to come out and see and inquire about fresh produce that can be used in their everyday meals and learn more about its health benefits. In addition, she is also happy to just talk to the various customers that come to her stand and connect with them.

“It’s awesome to just see everybody’s smiling faces,” Fino said. “It’s fun to just talk to everybody.”

Angel Family Farm of Goshen specializes in Mexican herbs and Mexican hot chili peppers. With a stand already established in Corona, Queens for the last 15 years, Lizbeth Angel was first contacted by Oakes in the early spring and came on board to the market here on Broadway.

With the produce that she provides for the community, Angel is grateful for the return of more customers and supporters of the market. With only being here for a year, the diversity of the market’s community is what makes the market special for Angel and she is happy to return the next season.

“I love it. I love it. I really really love it,” Angel said. “That’s one of the things that I love most about this market. I love the diversity.”

Robert J. Muthig of R.J.M. Honey, born in Newburgh, has been a beekeeper for more than 20 years and has been selling honey based products to the community with his wife Maria.

Similar to most of the vendors at the market, their stand was newly invited and has only been there for four weeks. Woody made the initial contact at the Newburgh Mall at the market there and asked the pair to come on board and join their market as well.

Even during the pandemic, Muthig personally delivered his products to community members and looks forward to the time after the market season ends to go back to the customers he served and continue bringing them quality products.

“They taste this (honey) and they know it’s the real thing. You go to the store and buy it and it just don’t have the flavor like it,” Muthig said.

For the last 30 years Terry and John Lassiter have lived in the town of Newburgh. With a desire to educate people in food and a necessity for healthier produce, Terry founded and runs The Diva Gardener. When John retired, he came on board and helps her with the business.

The Diva Gardener focuses on the growth, distribution and education of microgreens. Terry was first reached by Healthy Orange through another vendor of the market that told her to come on board and provide her produce.

For both Terry and John, connecting with their neighbors and larger community makes the work all worthwhile and hope the community support continues going forward.

“If I don’t sell anything, I think I get the most joy out of talking to everybody that comes around,” Terry said. “Speak to people. Talk to people.”

Radeé Anglin, a longtime resident of Newburgh and former market manager, founded the Tree of Life, a business that specializes in homemade skin care products.

For Anglin, with these products he makes and provides, the hope is to garner community support in the days to come, but more importantly, he wants the community to show support for its own vendors.

“Come out and support. Even if you don’t totally know about something, if you totally don’t know about what’s going on, come by,” Anglin said. “A community is not just one person, but it takes all of us.”

Manny Gonzalez, originally from the Bronx, is the Farmer’s Market manager for the Orange County Health Department. Only being in Newburgh for the last three years, Gonzalez is happy with the work he does within the community and has noticed with this specific market, that not only does it provide food, but a place for the community to come together.

For Gonzalez, during the course of the pandemic, he kept the market open and distributed food out of the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, but being in the market, he could not be happier.

“It makes me feel good. It’s what gets me up at seven in the morning. I don’t see it as work, I just see it as a necessity,” Gonzalez said. “I wish we could continue throughout the whole year.”

The market continues to operate every Tuesday, starting in July until the end of October from 10 - 2.

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