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Mobile Fruit and Vegetable Market Fills Void Left by Nojaim Supermarket Closing

St. Joseph’s Health is trying to fill the gap left by the closing of Nojaim supermarket by partnering with a food truck that brings healthy fruits and vegetables to the near west side.  Residents seem eager to snap up the produce.

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Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
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WAER News
Near West Side resident Patti Sprague selects her fruits and vegetables at the Farm Fresh Mobile Market adjacent to the closed Nojaim Supermarket.

Patricia Sprague was picking up her allotment of fruits and greens Thursday after attending a diabetes education program at the St. Joe's Health Center on Gifford Street.  Each patient gets 10 dollars worth of coupons to encourage healthy eating.  

"It gives me salad for the month.  I don't have to worry about not having the things that I need because I'm able to get them.  Fruits, vegetables, greens...you can get all that at the truck or Nojaim's when it was open.  It's a blessing."

St. Joe's struck an agreement with the Farm Fresh Mobile Market to accept the coupons after Nojaim closed.  The food truck is one of many programs under the umbrella of the Southside Interfaith Community Development Corporation run by Diane Turner. 

"We wanted to get into the food deserts.  A lot of the areas just don't have the fresh produce that they need.  We tried it with the corner stores, but they don't want to provide what we have."

Turner says her truck was already on the near west side two days a week, but will likely park outside the medical center three or four times a week to meet demand. 

"It'll go.  There's a lot of food in the truck.  I'll say I'll be pretty much empty."

Resident Patti Sprague says she was pretty upset when Nojaim closed, and has had to search for other markets that sell produce.  She’s thrilled the food truck can fill the void, and help her stay healthy.

"In the last four months I've lost 20 pounds.  In fact today, I came in and told her I lost four more pounds.  I was really excited about that."

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Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
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WAER News
Nojaim Bros. supermarket is boarded up and closed right next door to St. Joes Medical Center West, where the Farm Fresh Mobile Market will set up a few days a week.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.