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Jan 15, 2014 06:25 PM

When did farmer's markets become "greenmarkets", and why?

I grew up in New Jersey and often accompanied my grandfather to local farmers markets where the goal was great produce at a cheaper price than the supermarket.

I moved to Los Angeles in the later 1990's and discovered the many (expensive) markets here.

My sister lives in New York and sometimes refers to the NYC "greenmarkets".

So, my question is, have NYC fathers markets always been refereed to as greenmarkets? If not, when did the switch occur, and why?

Mr Taster

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  1. Greenmarket is a trademarked term. Grow NYC (formerly known as CENYC), the non-profit group that runs all of the city's farmers markets, owns the term. They started the first farmers market in the city in 1976.

    Read more here:

    24 July 1976, New York (NY) Times, pg. 12:

    "Life in the big cities these days is such that the simple, direct way of doing something is often considered unusual, innovative or e new experiment. For example, farmers are bringing their produce - zucchini, varieties of lettuce, sweet corn, dill, eggs and tomatoes - and selling their wares off their trucks directly to consumers at a farmer's market at Second Avenue and 59th Street.

    This 'new experiment,' as it is referred to by its sponsors, the Council on the Environment of New York City, is called Greenmarket."

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks for this. Very interesting.

      Mr Taster

    2. My sister lives in NJ and goes to a "farmers market". That's what they call it - but it really isn't. They sell the same blueberries from CA and bananas and the like.

      Here in the city, "green market" and GrowNYC have rules about how far away the produce can come from and such. I like knowing that I am getting something local and not just stuff from across the country that a person got off the back of a truck (in popular parlance).

      4 Replies
      1. re: LNG212

        As a great fan of the NYC Greenmarkets, I'd only ask that the city consider opening them up a bit to local food purveyors, as you can find in San Francisco and Oakland--where you cna find amazing local produce plus interesting cooked foods from local restaurants. Imagine such a selection at Union Square, NY, like there is at SF's Ferry Terminal or Oakland's Grand and Lake markets..

        1. re: bob96

          well, a fair number of the outer borough markets draw local folks cooking for visitors. some wonderful Mexican stuff here in Jackson heights, for instance. not upscale or trendy but absolutely delicious.

          1. re: debinqueens

            New Amsterdam Market has a lot of prepared food, and it seems like most of the greenmarkets have some, but not much.. I think it is good to have both and keep them separate, it seems to me to maintain the honesty of the green markets that way.

        2. re: LNG212

          Many farmer's markets in NJ also have rules about where the products that are sold there are grown/produced. So it depends on who runs the market.

        3. I always assumed the word "greenmarket" was akin to the word "greengrocer" which is a produce store. I believe the word "greengrocer" has been around for quite some time. The word "green" in both referring to fresh produce. Well, that's my take on it anyway.

          1. I've always been of the understanding that 'Greenmarket' implies local or producer-only goods, meaning it has to be grown directly by the farmer or processed directly by the canner/saucemaker, etc.

            Many farmers markets include 'hucksters', which is a slang term for produce resellers. This creates an environment where shoppers have no idea where their foods came from, or how the foods were really grown. By changing their name to Greenmarket, CENYC was able to differentiate their brand image and highlight their mission.