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Farmer Ban

Warding off the organic rabble.

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The upper East Side finally had its victory over those Greenmarket hayseeds. “I’ve never seen anything like it, in terms of the outrage,” says Tom Strumolo, director of Greenmarket’s 53 locations, of the response to a plan to open another one in the schoolyard of P.S. 6, a block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The revolt started a few weeks ago, when members of Community Board 8 voted yes. Locals, along with fancy-grocery guy Eli Zabar, staged on-street protests against potential noise (from trucks) and sanitation (from scraps of leftover food). Strumolo attended two board meetings, but when he went to a rally to dispel concerns, he says, he almost came to blows. “Strumolo was quite worried about being lynched,” says anti-market activist Michele Harkins. Zabar calls Strumolo a “religious fanatic” for engaging in a myopic mission to turn the city organic while disregarding organic-friendly store owners—i.e., Zabar. “A religious fanatic?” Strumolo asks. “Well, I do have a master’s degree in philosophy, and I go to church.” C.B. 8 chair David Liston says that he is disappointed. The “real benefits far outweighed the imagined risks.”


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