Gary residents offered fresh fruits, vegetables at farmers market - July 27, 2018

Courtesy of Chicago Tribune • Jul 27, 2018 • 03:30 pm

Written by: Cain Buchmeier, Post-Tribune

Some Gary residents took the opportunity to buy fresh fruits and vegetables Friday at the Methodist Hospital Northlake farmers market in Gary.

Methodist has been offering the Gary farmers markets since a 2013 Community Needs Health Assessment indicated that diet, nutrition and obesity were among the major health issues facing the community, according to Linda Hadley, marketing director for Methodist Hospitals.

“This was started as a way to give back to the community because Gary does not have a lot of grocery stores, so this was to provide that at a reasonable price,” Sue Rodriguez, sales consultant for Piazza Produce & Specialty Foods, which provided the food, said. “Earlier when we were setting up we had people asking ‘can we buy stuff yet?’ so the turnout has been very good.”

Collard greens, carrots, squash, Italian sausage and root beer were just some of the offerings available to customers. Some foods, such as kale from the Peaper Brothers in Indianapolis, were sourced fresh from farms, while other foods like strawberries were what one would find in a grocery store.

“Anything that’s locally grown is what we sell, like corn from LaPorte, people want to know where their food comes from,” Rodriguez said.

Gary resident Josetta Bulerin said she was pleased at Methodist’s decision to offer the farmers market, as well as the prices of the food.

“I was going to McDonald’s but now I don’t have to. It’s convenient, I don’t have to buy offline and putting it next to a McDonald’s was smart,” Bulerin said.

Methodist Hospital’s chef, Finesse Oliver, said she was bagging food and handling cash at the market.

“It’s very well organized and it’s bringing in a lot of people,” Oliver said. “It’s a good service.”

Linda McDaniel, another Gary resident, said it’s been a while since the last time she’s been to a farmers market in Gary.

“They used to have one on 8th and Broadway during the summer, the community really enjoyed it,” McDaniel said. “I’m glad Methodist put this on. This is great and I will be back.”