For over a year, area residents with a green thumb have been lending their talents to the Hyde Park Community Garden, and now all of West Scranton has the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The West Scranton Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch and the Hyde Park Community Garden are hosting the West Side Farmer's Market on Tuesday, Sept. 4, from 4 p.m. to dusk at Allen Park, located at the corner of Main Avenue and Price Street in Scranton.
Among the several vendors that have already reserved a spot to sell their locally produced items at the farmer's market will be members of the neighborhood community garden, located at the corner of Jackson Street and North Bromley Avenue, who are excited to share with their community the garden's first cash crop.
"The community garden started last year," said Neighborhood Watch President Karin Foster. "Last year, EarthBox donated 40 boxes and we have two retired master gardeners (Dave Taylor and Hal Bower)….they came to us with some plants that they had started… (and) we basically threw the garden together in three weeks. We took down the playground and we got some mulch, and then we put those boxes in and it took right off."
"Last year it did really well. Despite the fact that we had less than perfect plants, they all produced, but we did have a little bit of problem with what we now know is blossom end rot, and we corrected that problem this year."
Foster explained that in addition to Taylor and Bower, who were previously with the Penn State Master Gardener program, there are 15 volunteers who help with the garden fairly regularly throughout the season as their schedule allows.
Many of the volunteers also helped out last year, and the experience combined with hard work resulted in a pleasant surprise for everyone involved.
"We had a surplus of food this year," said Hyde Park Community Garden Chairman Tom Borthwick.
"We had a year to prepare, but the garden did really well, beyond anyone's expectations."
Those who volunteer their time are allowed to pick what they would like to take home from the garden, and some of the crop is donated to members of the community who are in need. The surplus left some extra for the community garden to begin selling a portion of its crop.
This summer the volunteers began selling tomatoes, peppers and squash at the South Side Farmer's Market, held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Iron Furnaces, 159 Cedar Ave., Scranton.
The market gave them a chance to meet other vendors who expressed an interest in selling their goods in West Scranton. Foster said that the Neighborhood Watch had been planning to hold a farmer's market next year, but after learning of the interest from the vendors and doing some research, the group realized they could have it this year and decided to go for it.
In addition to the vendors selling their products, Marywood University's nutrition and dietetics faculty member Diana Cuy Castellanos, Ph.D., R.D., will be on hand with several of her students.
The group will be passing out recipe cards and putting on a cooking demonstration showing those in attendance two recipes they can make using food available that day at the farmer's market.
Castellanos and her students are planning on being at the farmer's market weekly. Foster said the group is planning on holding the farmer's market every Tuesday through September and possibly the first two weeks of October.
For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/pages/West-Side-Farmers-Market/462446730443012.
What: West Side Farmer's Market
When: Tuesdays in September, 4 p.m. to dusk
Where: Allen Park, the corner of Main Avenue and Price Street in Scranton.