"Blueberries," "Peaches" and "Fresh! Local Sweet Corn," read the signs posted along Second Avenue in Hazelwood. The hand-lettering announces Dylamato's Market, a 16-foot-long converted hay wagon that began selling produce July 10.
Hazelwood is a food desert, with no grocery store and just one half-day-a-week farmstand. Dylamoto's is the brainchild of Dianne Shenk, a former Chatham University food-studies student who hopes the simple but attractive displays of strawberries, cabbages and zucchini will help neighbors eat better and keep grocery money in the community.
Shenk rents this vacant lot — featuring free parking — from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. With help from Hazelwood's food-buying club and Lawrenceville-based distributor Paragon Foods, she gets produce wholesale, sourcing much of it locally — sometimes hyperlocally, like garlic from a neighbor's garden.
"When we first started, people were staring and looking and wondering," says Leroy Dunning, a Hazelwood resident who staffs the stand. So far, he says, the many commuters who traverse Second Avenue supply most customers, but locals use Dylamoto's, too.
The stand is open six days a week through October; eventually, says Shenk, who lives in Squirrel Hill, she hopes to acquire affordable indoor space to share with other local vendors. But for now, she says, "People like to stop and get fruit and vegetables from a stand. They like that idea."