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Morris County hosts winter farmers’ market

By JANE PRIMERANO
AFP Correspondent

BLAIRSTOWN (Feb. 1, 2015) — Despite sub-zero temperatures, vendors of the Morris County Winter Farmers’ Market spilled out of the Fosterfields administration building into the pavilion across the parking lot and customers were crossing over to buy.
Katie Humphreys, historic program specialist for Fosterfields, said it is a perfect location for the market.
“The Foodshed Alliance contacted us and said they were looking for a place to hold a winter farmers’ market and we said ‘OK, come here,”’ she said.
Humphreys said it is an excellent location.
“We talk about and highlight life here 100 years ago. Agriculture was a big help, she said. “Although Fosterfields was a dairy cattle breeding farm, produce agriculture was important to Morris County 100 years ago.”
Among the local vendors is Grow it Green Morristown, a non-profit that operates an education garden on the property of Lafayette Learning Center in Morristown.
Grow it Green has unheated low tunnels for produce all year round.
Volunteers and students help with the one-acre plot, according to Shaun Ananko, known as Farmer Shaun.
Ananko is the urban farm manager for Grow it Green.
He is a native of Morristown who developed an early interest in gardening from helping his mother grow tomatoes in their yard.
Ananko has a degree in agriculture from County College of Morris. He did his internship with the Morristown-based CSA at Valley View Farm.
Grow it Green supplies Morristown High School with vegetables. Ananko said the food service provider was looking for local sources of food.
Assisting Ananko at the market was Lauren McTigue, office manager of Grow it Green.
McTigue also works in the garden and teaches children about the value of growing their own food.
Ananko said the greens he and McTigue brought to the winter market sold within an hour.
Other vendors included Villa Millagro winery from Warren County and Pittinger Farms from Sussex County as well as a beekeeper, bakery and, in the pavilion, Race Farms.
Summit Medical Group had a table where they were distributing literature.
A dietician was on hand with information on healthy eating.
Humphreys couted 724 visitors to the market with about 15 minutes until closing.