Editor’s note: This story may be updated as more markets confirm their plans.
Not far behind spring rains and warmer weather are strawberries, asparagus and root vegetables, whose early harvests are prompting the reopening of the community’s farmers’ markets with South Jersey produce.
While some of these markets opened last weekend, most community farmers’ markets will return this week or later in downtown, parks and more rural areas of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
The largest farmers’ markets are in Collingswood, Haddon Heights, Wenonah, and at the Burlington County Farm Market in Moorestown, some offering their picks on weekends and others on weekdays.
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However, there will be fewer of these markets this year. In some cities, particularly those with smaller markets, organizers have not been able to recover from COVID-19-related closures as larger markets drew larger crowds.
Neither the market in Mount Holly, nor one run by students at the Center for Environmental Transformation in South Camden, plan to reopen this year due to a lack of consumer interest, according to their spokespersons.
Additionally, there is currently no plan for the resumption of farmers’ markets in Palmyra, Westmont or Lawnside.
Bordentown Mayor Jennifer Sciortino said the farmers’ market may not start until July instead of June as the city seeks new market managers to replace Sruti Desai and Hillery Lamb. They ran the market for several years but decided to step down this year.
Applicants can apply at cityofbordentown.com
As Haddon Heights Farmers Market co-founder Joseph Gentile explained, community markets have become an experience for shoppers while also providing attention to smaller communities. They’re a way to also promote downtown and local businesses, Gentile said.
According to organizers, most seasonal farmers’ markets have gained popularity among consumers who prefer to buy locally sourced Jersey Fresh, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.
But the markets don’t just offer the famous Jersey tomatoes and sweetcorn, fruit, meat and eggs from locally raised animals, flowers and organic produce.
Many also offer music, crafts, clothing, baked goods, chocolates, cheese, coffee, and food to eat on-site. Some now also offer wine, beer and spirits from South Jersey wineries, craft breweries and distilleries.
One of the biggest seasonal destinations is the Burlington County Farm Market, which begins its 16th season on Saturday in the county’s agricultural hub between Moorestown and Mount Laurel on the county’s protected farmland off Centerton Road. It’s also a working farm and has communal gardens and a farmhouse that hosts cooking classes on market days.
Last year was the most successful season in the history of the market with a record average of nearly 1,200 vehicles each Saturday during the regular season and more than 2,000 vehicles during two special holiday markets in November and December.
“Our county market is now one of the most popular in the state and continues to grow every year,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the board’s new liaison to the county government’s Department of Resource Conservation. “We are thrilled with the success of the market and the weekly boost it is providing to our local farmers and small business owners, and we look forward to another record-breaking season this year.”
More than 20 farms, two dozen food vendors, and 14 artists and craftspeople will be featured on opening day, including longtime vendors like 1895 Organic Farm.
New additions are Black Sheep Farm, Sparrow Lake Farm and Truly Seasoned, a new grocer.
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Craft beer and spirits sales are also back after debuting last season. Zed’s Beer of Marlton and Recklesstown Farm Distillery of Columbus will be present on opening day. The Third State Brewery of Burlington City and Forgotten Boardwalk Brewery of Cherry Hill are featured on other dates during the season.
The Collingswood Farm Market and Haddon Heights Farm Market have since expanded into their downtown plazas, attracting customers from both the local area and abroad, as do some other markets.
“The market is coming back with excitement and will be better than ever after coping with COVID,” said market manager David Hodges.
“We are most focused on Jersey Fresh so we have 28 farm stands and we include farm animal products from cows, sheep, lamb and chicken so we have eggs, yoghurt, lamb sausage and skins and fish caught in Jersey waters became, and horticulture.”
The Collingswood market is the most accessible, as customers can take the PATCO Hi-Speedline between Philadelphia and Lindenwold to the Collingswood station, where they can shop in the shade of the elevated platforms.
Downtown Haddonfield Farm Market is also within walking distance of the speedline station.
Haddon Heights Market, run by Heights in Progress (HIP) under the direction of Fabian Brown, Market Manager, opened in April and hosts weekly Coffee and Cars there in partnership with restaurant Local Links. The market also offers regular children’s programs coordinated by a local teacher.
“I’d say it’s the biggest turnout we’ve ever had on an opening day, with over 1,000 visitors,” said Gentile. “We’ve been in business for 13 years and currently have 31 providers hosting cars and coffee from 9am to 12pm.”
And for those in cities without a nearby municipal farmer’s market, Virtua Health’s mobile farmer’s market may be an option.
Virtua is hosting a special event on Friday, May 6th to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its year-round deployment of mobile farmers’ markets and grocery stores. The outdoor event includes free health screenings and giveaways. It’s set for 1-2 p.m. at the Virtua Health & Wellness Center, 100 Atlantic Ave., Camden, weather permitting
The market bus runs Tuesday to Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. It runs to Camden on Tuesdays, Pennsauken on Wednesdays and Willingboro and Westampton on Thursdays.
Here are the days, times, and locations of seven community markets:
Burlington County Farmers Market: Saturdays 8:30am to 1:00pm May 7th to October 29th with special Autumn Holiday Markets at 500 Centerton Road, Moorestown. Visit burlcoagcenter.com/
Collingswood: Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. April through Thanksgiving at 713 North Atlantic Ave. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Marlton: Wednesdays 4pm to 7pm from May 25th to July 27th at Evesboro Downs Park, Evesboro-Medford Road and operated by the Municipality of Evesham. Visit marltonfarmersmarket.com
Haddonfield: Saturday May 14th – October 15th at Kings Court, Kings Hwy E & Kings Court from 9:30am – 1:00pm. Visit: haddonfieldfarmersmarket.org
Haddon Heights: Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. through November 22 at 533 Station Ave. at the historic train station. Visit HaddonHeightsFarmersMarket@gmail.com
Virtua Health Mobile Market: Call or visit virtua.org/about/eat-well/mobile-farmers-market for locations and hours between 9:30am and 4:30pm Tuesday through Thursday
Wenona: Thursday 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; May 7th to September 15th at Wenonah Park, Mantua and Southeast Avenue Visit facebook.com/wenonahfarmersmarket/
Carol Comegno enjoys telling stories about South Jersey life, history and military veterans for the Courier Post, the Burlington County Times and the Daily Journal. If you have a story to tell, give her a call at 856-486-2473 or email email@example.com.
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