The State We're In

Visit winter farmers’ markets!

Nov 24, 2021

You may think of farmers’ markets as summer events, with tables laden with fresh-picked seasonal crops like Jersey tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, melons and blueberries – and a wonderful sense of community.

But winter doesn’t mean the end of healthy foods and local farm products, or even gathering with neighbors! By popular demand, several New Jersey farmers’ markets are now open year ‘round, shifting their offerings to fit the season.

Instead of summer fruits and veggies, shoppers at winter markets will find local cool-season produce, along with vegetables and fruits that keep well in storage, like potatoes, apples and pears.

For example, farmer Mark Canright, who grows organic fruits and vegetables at Comeback Farm in Hunterdon County, extends his growing season by covering his hardy crops. “We don’t get down to 12 degrees in New Jersey winters much anymore, and that makes it easier to grow kale, bok choy/tat soi, turnips, carrots, arugula, rutabagas and more through most of the winter,” he explained.

And that’s only the beginning! The Garden State’s agricultural diversity means shoppers can find artisanal cheeses, fresh baked breads and pies, fruit preserves and jellies, honey and beeswax products, pickles, handmade soaps and candles, wool and alpaca items, pasta and sauces, fresh meat and seafood, dried flowers, gourmet soups and coffees, and handmade crafts. They may also find tender lettuces and greens grown indoors.

“We have so much demand,” said Lisa Alexander, executive director of Grow It Green Morristown, which runs a winter farmers’ market that is relocating to Convent Station this year.

Last year, she noted the Morristown winter market saw as many as 1,100 people each day.  “A lot of people like to walk to the market and socialize,” she said. “Someone told me last year that her favorite part was seeing the smiling eyes over face masks.”

Demand also comes from farmers, bakers, cooks and crafters themselves, who must keep their businesses running to earn a living. “Our (summer) vendors pressed us to stay open in winter because they didn’t have anywhere else to go to sell their products,” Alexander said.

Here are some winter markets worth checking out:

Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market – This twice-monthly market begins Sunday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic Dvoor Farm at 111 Mine St., Flemington. Other winter market dates are Dec. 19, Jan. 2 and 16, Feb. 6 and 13, March 6 and 13, April 3, and May 1. Customers are encouraged to check the Hunterdon Land Trust website at www.hunterdonlandtrust.org for information about vendors and weather-related closings.

Morris County Farmers’ Market – This market will be held every Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Convent Train Station, Convent Road off Madison Avenue (Route 124), in Morristown. Each week, shoppers will find a revolving list of local vendors offering cheeses, produce, prepared foods, and baked goods. For more information, go to www.growitgreenmorristown.org/wintermarket.

Historic Downtown Jersey City Farmers’ Market – The market is located at the Grove Street PATH Plaza. Its regular autumn hours are Mondays and Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. until Dec. 20. After a short holiday break, the market will reopen on Jan. 14 with winter hours on Thursdays from 4-6. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/downtownjcfarmersmarket.

Montclair Farmers Market – From December through May, this winter farmers’ market will be held every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Walnut Street Train Station, 86 Walnut Street, Montclair. For more information about vendors, go to www.montclairfarmersmarket.org.

Princeton Farmers Market – This winter market will operate two Thursdays a month, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 46-80 Franklin Ave, Princeton. Winter dates are Dec. 9 and 23, Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, March 3 and 17, and April 14 and 28. Visit the website at www.princetonfarmersmarket.com for more information.

Trenton Farmers Market – This permanent indoor market at 960 Spruce Street, Lawrence Township, has been the center of local shopping for over 70 years. Its winter hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, go to https://thetrentonfarmersmarket.com/default.php.

Stangl Factory Farmers’ Market – This all-indoor market in Flemington is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with over 30 local farmers and vendors. For information, go to www.stanglfactory.com/farmers-market-2/.

West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market – The winter markets are held every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Princeton Junction train station, 877 Alexander Road, West Windsor. Dates are Dec. 4 and 18, Jan. 9 and 22, Feb. 5 and 19, March 5 and 19, and April 2 and 16. For information go to www.westwindsorfarmersmarket.org.

Columbus Farmers Market – This huge market in Columbus, Burlington County, operates year ‘round from Thursday through Sunday and includes a farmers’ market, Amish market, seafood market and flea market. Days and hours differ for various businesses; go to www.columbusfarmersmarket.com for more information.

Why not get out this winter and support local farmers in the Garden State while putting healthy, delicious food on your table?

For information about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources – including farmland – visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

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About the Author

michelle_author

Michele S. Byers

Executive Director

Michele joined New Jersey Conservation in 1982 as coordinator of our advocacy efforts in the Pine Barrens. In 1999 Michele became Executive Director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. View her full bio here.

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