A popular program that provides fresh fruit and vegetables to the Flanders community will be back for a second season -- and has won a state grant to fund operations.
The Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market recently won a $10,000 grant from New York's FreshConnect program, which aims to provide produce to low income or underserved areas.
This year, the market will open for the season on June 30 and run through October 13 on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders.
At a meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association last week, FRNCA president Brad Bender said this year, vendors will be situated closer to the street so they will be more visible to drivers passing by on Flanders Road.
The program, Bender added, provides invaluable employment opportunities for area youth and opens the door for possible future careers in agriculture.
Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who said the market meets a need in the community, whose residents have long been hoping for a supermarket in the area.
"Flanders, Riverside and Northampton don’t have a local supermarket,” Fleming said.
The closest supermarkets, she added, are in Riverhead on Route 58 and in Hampton Bays.
The market accepts Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks, EBT, and WIC - -and Fleming said after only one year, 38 percent of residents who answered a customer survey said they had increased their fruit and vegetable consumption due to the Farmers Market.
Donations to local food pantries will also be coordinated.
"We’re excited about another successful year and we’re looking forward to growing the market," Fleming said. "It helps stimulate the local economy, support local agriculture, engage young adults, and create a sense of community all at the same time."