A couple years ago, one of the first communities to test winter demand was Newton, in the heart of Sussex County farmland, explains Kendrya Close, 45, executive director of the Foodshed Alliance, Inc. The Blairstown-based non-profit, devoted to locally grown food, oversees several farmers’ markets in the northern part of the state.
“It was a small space and parking was an issue,” she says of their trial run, “so we looked into moving for more space and exposure.”
They found their new winter home this year in the Sparta Middle School, which will host a rotation of 20 to 32 vendors each Saturday morning, an increase in suppliers compared to the summer market.
“There seems to be an even bigger demand," Close says. "Since so many close down, folks come from the other markets. In addition to greenhouses, we have farmers who are putting in hoop houses and doing root cellaring” to extend the growing season. The group is also working to bring in a hydroponic farm for year-round greens.
Another cold-weather market in their alliance is the Morris Country Winter Farmers’ Market, held the second Sunday of every month at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm in Morristown. Now in its second year, the market brings in 800-1000 people every month to buy from 16 indoor vendors and four hearty souls who set up outdoors.
In addition to vegetables, the markets feature fresh eggs, meats, cheeses, pickles, hummus, pastas, jams, dried flowers and wines.
“Because of this, we’ve really been able to see our New Jersey farmers expand,” Close says.
Communities hosting winter farmers’ markets include:
– Berlin Farmers’ Market – 41 Clemento Road, Thursdays through Sundays
– Columbus Farmers’ Market – 2919 Route 206
– Denville Farmers’ Market – Bloomfield Avenue, every other Sunday
– Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market (Raritan Township) – 111 Mine Street, every third Sunday
– Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market (Morristown) – 73 Kahdena Road, every second Sunday
– Ramsey Farmers’ Market – 2 Monroe Street (Eric Smith School), Sundays
– Sparta Farmers’ Market – 350 Main Street (Sparta Middle School), Saturdays
– Stangl Factory Farmers’ Market (Flemington) – Mine Street and Stangl Road, Saturdays
– Stockton Farmers’ Market – 19 Bridge Street, Fridays through Sundays
SUZANNE ZIMMER LOWERY is a food writer, pastry chef and culinary instructor at a number of New Jersey cooking schools. Find out more about her at suzannelowery.com.Click here to leave a comment