You’re reading Young & Green, the 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: Stiphany Lopez, age 21
“I had a great experience working at the Youthmarket. I wish I could have kept this job forever – it is a fun place to work and you are always interacting with new people. I loved being able to work in a group, and having such a friendly boss is a plus, too. Sometimes you’d forget that’s your boss. Working at the Youthmarket was my favorite part of my internship not only because I got to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, but I also got the chance to cook easy and healthy recipes for the customers. I enjoyed teaching the customers nutrition facts about the meals they should not be eating such as McDonald's or other fast food opportunities.”
Which market do you work at (or did you work at)? How long?
I worked at GrowNYC and Learn it Grow It Eat It for two summers, in 2013 and 2014.
Has the market changed what you eat? In what ways?
I started eating much healthier and fresher foods once I became more aware of where and how they came to my plate.
Do you cook at home?
Yes, I cook a lot at home. I am very good in the kitchen and know how to cook a variety of meals.
What’s your favorite easy meal to make and how long does it take?
I love scrambled eggs and omelets. I even use ingredients that I learned how to grow and add them to the eggs. They normally take me 10 minutes to make.
Do you cook for your family members? What do they think about your cooking?
Yes, I cook for my whole family at times. They like my food. I cook just like my mom, so everyone likes my cooking.
Yes, it made me more responsible, more sociable, and I have a greater understanding of the fruits and vegetables I use in the meals I like to cook.
Or school plans? How?
Being near food that I helped grow has made me appreciate it more, and even made me consider going to culinary school.
Has the market affected how you interact with teachers?
It has made me more open to talking and more responsible, so teachers can now be more confident that I’ll be responsible.
What about classmates?
I am more sociable now, so it’s easier to be friends with people I work with in school.
What have you learned about dealing with nasty weather (super hot or cold or rainy or windy)?
I learned to push through when bad weather was manageable, but also learned when I would have to pack everything up for the safety of others and the merchandise.
What about dealing with tough customers?
I learned to be calm, respectful and to try my best to have them leave happy. At the same time, I’d always want to make sure they don’t cross any boundaries that could be bad for me or other employees.
What’s the most important question you think customers at the market should ask?
I believe that they should ask about what the benefits of eating fresh vegetables are.
What’s your favorite fruit or veggie that you tried for the first time while working at the market?
I had never had nectarines, but now they are one of my favorite fruits.
I tried kale for the first time and I wasn’t that fond of it.
What’s the funniest or the most interesting thing you’ve overheard at the market?
I can’t really cite a specific incident, but I can say with confidence that funny and interesting moments happened all the time while I was working at the market. For example, people would routinely tell us facts that we had told them the week before at the market, which was amazing because it showed they remembered everything we said.
What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about working for Youthmarket?
I would say be friendly, be patient and be willing to get your hands dirty. It’s a great experience and if you give your all you will have a great time.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to cook, watch movies, and I like softball.
STIPHANY'S FOOD DIARY (Click the image below for a larger version.)
MORE YOUNG & GREEN!
ALL PHOTOS: GROW NYC'S YOUTHMARKET