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Initiative making it easier for Edmeston area residents to get fresh produce

By KEITH HUNT

EDMESTON, N.Y. (WKTV) - Pathfinder Village, a home for people living with Down Syndrome, has teamed up with the Bassett Healthcare Network to make it easier for people living in the Edmeston area to put fresh produce on the table.

Edmeston has just about everything a small village needs - a hardware store, pizza shop, and a post office, but what's missing is a grocery store.

"Roughly thirty minutes, forty minutes," said shopper Vivian Jeffers of the travel time, one-way, to get to a store with fresh produce.

"The Edmeston community having access to fresh fruits and produce was pretty much inaccessible to many, especially during the work week," said Lynae Wyckoff of the Bassett Research Institute.

So every Thursday, a room at Pathfinder Village gets a makeover and with the help of the residents, tables are set up and produce is carefully stacked and priced. The scales are cleaned and ready for action and out of nowhere, the store quickly fills with customers..

Mushrooms are bagged, apples picked and requests are filled and that's just what the doctor ordered as far as Bassett Healthcare is concerned.

"I come over, get my vegetables for the week, I'm good to go until the following week," said shopper Maple Wilson.

"I think people are definitely surprised, number one, just being able to hop in your car after the work day and drive up the road, walk right in and within ten minutes, you have all the fresh produce you need for your entire family for at least a week," said Stacey Hickey of Pathfinder Village.

Behind the scenes, another part of the initiative is the "Just Roots" program which, for the adult residents at Pathfinder Village, helps them build skills for possible employment .

"Anything that you learn here in what we call the classroom, you can, in turn transfer those skills to work in the community," Hickey said.

After only two days of operation, the program may need to expand.

Next time you're shopping, remember, that its not so easy for some folks to get fresh produce, but it is getting there.

Nearly 200 people shopped at Pathfinder's Fresh Produce Market the first two days it was open.

The hours are 2-5 p.m. every Thursday afternoon, and prices are below retail.

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