The State We're In
The Garden State’s most wonderful time of the year
By Alison Mitchell, Co-Executive Director
For those who love fresh produce – delicious Jersey tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, corn and much more – it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
New Jersey’s farm stands and farmers markets are packed with just-picked fruits, veggies and herbs – the mouth-watering stuff we can only dream of in winter. Many also offer an assortment of other farm products, including flowers, pies and baked goods, pickles, cheeses, honey, jams, relishes, meats, dairy items and prepared foods. Some even have cooking demonstrations and live music!
Farmers markets are a win for everyone. Shoppers get fresher, tastier, more nutritious produce – and a chance to meet the farmers who grew it. Farmers see higher profits because of the reduced costs of packaging and transportation. Farm markets help boost the local economy.
Relationships and a sense of community are formed at farmers markets. Farmers can inspire shoppers to try new foods and recipes, and shoppers can encourage farmers to experiment with different crops or switch to organic and sustainable growing methods.
Now is the time to celebrate summer’s bounty! Since 2008, the American Farmland Trust and Farmers Market Coalition have sponsored “America’s Farmers Market Celebration,” highlighting the important role farmers markets play in communities across the nation while honoring the farmers, staff and volunteers who make the markets happen.
The celebration includes a fun contest to pick America’s favorite farmers markets. Anyone who loves their local market is eligible to vote from now through Sept. 19. Winners will be announced in the fall.
Though it’s still early in the balloting, here are the top 10 New Jersey farmers markets so far:
West Windsor Community Farmers Market – Now in its 19th year, this thriving market is open Saturdays at the Princeton Junction train station. Learn more about participating farms, vendors and community groups at www.westwindsorfarmersmarket.org/.
Scotch Plains Farmers Market – The Scotch Plains Farmers’ Marketplace, located in the municipal building parking lot, is one of the most popular open-air markets in the Union County area. For more info, go to www.facebook.com/ScotchPlainsFarmersMarket.
Burlington County Farmers Market – This popular market, located at the Burlington County Agricultural Center in Moorestown, has it all. In addition to farmers and vendors, the market regularly features cooking demonstrations and live music. Get more details at www.burlcoagcenter.com/farmers-market/.
Historic Downtown Jersey City Farmers Market – Operating for over a decade, the market is located by the PATH Train station and Grove Street bus stop in the heart of the city’s historic downtown. It’s open Mondays and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m., a schedule convenient for commuters on their way home from work. Find out more at https://jcdowntown.org/event/farmers-market/.
Duke Farms Market – In keeping with Duke Farms’ environmental stewardship mission, the farmers market connects consumers and growers to support a food system that is local, sustainable, healthy, inclusive and humane. Located in Hillsborough, the market is open Sundays from 10-2. Learn more at www.dukefarms.org/visiting-duke-farms/FarmersMarket/.
Collingswood Farmers Market – This popular Camden County market was voted one of the best in the nation last year by a panel from USA Today. For information on farmers and vendors, go to www.collingswoodmarket.com/.
Bedminster Farmers Market – This bustling open-air market is open Saturdays at River Road Park in Somerset County, so visitors can shop and also take a walk on a hiking path! For information, go to www.facebook.com/bedminsterfarmersmarket/.
Blairstown Farmers Market – This market operated by Foodshed Alliance Farmers Access Network is located in the parking lot next to the Blairstown Fire House in Hardwick Township, Warren County. Get more information at www.facebook.com/blairstownfarmersmarket/.
Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers Market at Dvoor Farm – The barn at the historic Dvoor Farm in Flemington is iconic, and so is the market that operates every Sunday. In addition to organic fruits and veggies, the market often features attractions like yoga, advice from master gardeners and local history programs. Learn more at https://www.hunterdonlandtrust.org/farmers-market/.
Little Falls Farmers Market – This Passaic County market operates on Sundays, and sometimes features ice cream trucks and fun family activities. Learn more at www.facebook.com/LittleFallsFarmersMarketNJ.
AP Sunset Farmers Market – This market serving the Jersey shore operates Saturdays at the Sunset Farm & Garden Center in Ocean Township, near Asbury Park. For details, go to www.facebook.com/APSUNSETMARKET/.
Don’t see your favorite farmers market on the list? No worries – voters can also make nominations. To vote or add a market to the list, go to https://markets.farmland.org/.
Last year, more than 2,000 farmers markets across the nation participated in America’s Farmers Market Celebration, and over a million supporters engaged through voting and social media.
The celebration is a great reminder that shopping at farmers markets yields a bumper crop of benefits for consumers, farmers, the environment and the local community. It also highlights the importance of preserving farmland to protect the highest quality soils for food production.
To learn more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources – including productive farmland – visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Authors
John S. Watson, Jr.
Michele S. Byers
Executive Director, 1999-2021
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