North Charles Street Farm Stand

           The North Charles Street Farm Stand, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Project and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, gives a lower income neighborhood access to fresh produce.

           Now in its second season, the stand is located in Fowler Park at 2801 N. Charles St., and runs every Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. from June 10 to Nov. 11.

           “Our farm stands are unique in that … we work with the farmers,” said Farm Stand Coordinator Vicki Lish.

           The food bank orders all the produce from local farms — like Harvest Valley in Gibsonia, Soergel Orchards in Wexford, Wexford Farms and Greenawalt Farms — and sets it up with the help of nonprofit sponsor Pittsburgh Project.

           Lish said the Pittsburgh Project was a great fit for the Farm Stand Program, which has been running for 13 years now, because the nonprofit already had an urban farm and could contribute some produce to the stand.

           There are 12 stands throughout the region, and all accept cash, food stamps and farmers market nutrition checks, which are given to income-qualified seniors and those on the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program.

           For information and for a farm stand schedule, visit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on the web at www.pittsburghfoodbank.org.

North Side Farmers Market and Fresh Fridays

           As part of its farmers market program, Citiparks runs the North Side Farmers Market in Allegheny Commons Park by East Ohio Street and Cedar Avenue.

           The market runs every Friday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. until Nov. 24.

           Although the Citiparks farmers markets currently don’t accept food stamps, Tom Driscoll of the program said that he hopes to start accepting them sometime this year and that Citiparks is working on a grant to purchase the necessary equipment.

           And thanks to the Charm Bracelet Project, the Children’s Museum offers Fresh Fridays at the market from 4 to 6 p.m. each week from July 16 to Sept. 3.

           Mallory Laporte, marketing and administrative assistant at the museum, said that Fresh Fridays starts its second season this year. “We offer friendly, family art activities,” she said.

           Each week a featured chef from a Northside restaurant demonstrates how to make an easy recipe using the fresh produce and other goods from the market.

           “The recipe is available to the public, so the public can take it home,” Laporte said. Attendees can also sample the recipe in the park.

           Last year, chefs from Café at the Lofts, Hoi Polloi, Legends and others cooked up grilled zucchini, bruschetta, beans and greens, ratatouille, salsa and hummus, among other things.

           Café at the Lofts and Legends have agreed to return to the market this year, and Northside “food artist” Terra Lee Mayes will also appear.

           Fresh Fridays also gives young musicians a chance to show off their talents. Last year the Krunk Movement, a youth jazz and rap band that raps about healthy lifestyles, performed a few shows.

           The Krunk Movement will return in 2010, and the Pop Rocks and the Urban Pathways Steel Pan Band will join them, as will the Zany Umbrella Circus.

           “They’re not youth but we thought it would be fun,” Laporte said.

           For more information on Citiparks and the Farmers Market, visit www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/parks. For more information on Fresh Fridays, visit www.deutschtown.org.

East Park Flea Market

           From now until October, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., East Park hosts the East Allegheny Community Council Flea Market.

           Flea Market Coordinator Peg Cammarata said that between 15 and 25 vendors set up shop each week and sell everything from jewelry and sunglasses to books to furniture and toys.

           “We have a core of regulars who’ve been coming every year,” Cammarata said, but each week a few newbies show up as well.

           Spaces cost $10, and vendors must provide their own tables. They can choose whatever space they like along the park path that runs parallel to Cedar Avenue.

           “They start and the corner and wind their way up the central path,” Cammarata said. The regulars arrive early to claim their favorite spots.

           Cammarata has coordinated the market for 16 years, but Sweet Time Café owner and former councilwoman Barbara Burns started it before that. Cammarata thinks it’s such a popular event because it’s in a park, and vendors and shoppers alike don’t have to worry about concrete or cars.

           “It’s hard to find volunteers,” Cammarata said. “Every year we say this is the last year.”

           Hopefully the market will continue, as it supports not only the community council, but the council’s turkey and fruit basket program for local senior citizens at Thanksgiving time.

           If you’d like to volunteer or want more information on East Allegheny Community Council, visit www.deutschtown.org or call 412-321-1204.