Time for Jersey Fresh

Did this week’s spree of high temperatures get you thinking of summer? For me, summer means getting reacquainted with my local farmer’s market.

I’m biased when it comes to Jersey markets. I started shopping at the Collingswood Farmers Market in 2006, and it’s one of the reasons I bought a house close to Collingswood’s downtown. I wanted to be able to walk to everything, including that market, which I am at every Saturday morning unless I’m down the Shore.

The market, which kicks off this Saturday, is entering into its tenth year and has changed the way I eat, shop, and think about food. My weekly trips to the grocery store become monthly as just about everything I buy – fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and breads, even dog treats – comes from the market.

But Collingswood isn’t the only farmer’s market in South Jersey, of course. This is the Garden State, and Cumberland County is a hot bed of  agriculture. To find a market near you, check out the New Jersey Department of Agriculture website for a list of markets by county.

A word of advice for the early days of the market: don’t be discouraged if your favorite fruits and veggies aren’t available in May. The farmers bring you what’s local and fresh at the time, which means you’ll have to wait for summer for peaches picked that morning, corn coming in right off the farm, and tomatoes that still hold the heat of the sun. But it’s well worth the wait. It’ll make anything shipping in from California taste like cardboard in comparison.

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