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Young & Green: Alpha on Customer Service, Asian Apple Pears, and Putting a Stop to Soda

You’re reading Young & Green, the new group blog written by participants of GrowNYC’s Youthmarket. This network of urban farm stands is operated by neighborhood youth, supplied by local farmers, and supplies communities throughout NYC with fresh fruits and veggies. Pretty cool, huh?

THIS WEEK'S MARKET SUPERSTAR: Alpha Diallo, age 22

We asked friendly Youthmarket vet Alpha Diallo about the effects a three-year career at the market had on him. He's encountered nasty weather, tough customers, and cringe-worthy squash, but gained a wealth of knowledge and experience (not to mention a taste for exotic fruit!) Read on to learn what he has to say about his improved diet and awesome work ethic, and be sure to check out his two-week food diary.

Which markets did you work at?

I worked at the Seaport and Kensington Youthmarkets last year, and at Learn It Grow It Eat It Youthmarket 3 years ago.

What’s your favorite fruit or veggie that you tried for the first time while working at the market?

My favorite fruit that I tried for the first time at the market was the Asian Apple Pear. It’s crunchy and sweet.

What’s one you’re not crazy about?

I’m not crazy about pumpkin.

Has the market changed what you eat? In what ways?

Yes. Three years ago, I would drink two to three bottles of soda with chips almost every day. When I learned how much sugar was inside the soda bottles, it blew my mind. Nowadays, I don't drink soda because it reminds me of the sugar that I saw in those bottles three years ago.

Has the market affected how you interact with teachers?

The market definitely affected how I interact with teachers. In April last year, when I was attending upstate New York Fulton Montgomery Community College, one of my psychology teachers was looking for volunteers to go pick leaves in the garden. I was one of the few people that volunteered.

What have you learned about dealing with nasty weather?

You should always be prepared. Sometimes it will be sunny and the next minute it will be rainy and windy, especially in October and November.

What about dealing with tough customers?

I always apologize to tough customers, even if I'm right. If they see that I am not arguing back, they are going to stop arguing, buy whatever they want to and leave. 

What’s the most important question you think customers at the market should ask?

The most important question I think customers at the market should ask is how the food was grown and where.

What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about working for Youthmarket?

My advice would be to always be on time and be fully committed to your job.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve overheard at the market?

In the last two weeks before the end of the market, people told us they wished we would keep coming back every week. They didn’t want us to stop selling.

ALPHA'S FOOD DIARY (Click the image below for a larger version.)

MORE YOUNG & GREEN!

• Learn about El Barrio Youthmarket from Santos

• Get to know Hassaballah

• Meet Danny and read his food diary

• Also say hi to Dekendra and Phylisha

ALL PHOTOS: GROW NYC'S YOUTHMARKET

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