Farm markets start season across state

AFP Correspondent

(July 1, 2016) The Warren County Farmers’ Market, under the same management as the former Belvidere Farmers’ Market, is open for the season and seeing much more traffic.
“We’re happy with the move, happy with our relationship with the school,” Marie Menegus said on Sunday, June 26, the second week of the market in its location at White Township School.
She pointed out all the parking in the school lot as well as the traffic on State Highway 46 and County Route 519.
Dawn Hopkins, “The Kitchen Witch,” who makes and sells all natural soaps and healing products, bought and put up feather flags at the intersection to alert customers to the new location, is also happy with the move.
“It took us some time to get approval for the site,” she said.
“We accept anyone who wants to be a vendor,” she said, adding the market committee gives new vendors their first day free.
The market kept the same hours as it had in its old site, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The original site was on Second Street in Belvidere in front of the courthouse and the vendors likes the location, but couldn’t generate enough foot traffic, even from the three churches around Garrett Wall Park.
Menegus pointed out the United Presbyterian Church of Belvidere is still selling baked goods at the market.
Other non-farm vendors include Tupperware and Scentsy.
Hopkins pointed out the market is sponsored by the White Township School PTO and is looking for a few other sponsors.
She noted the Monroe County Farm Market in Stroudsburg, Pa., just across the Delaware River has 16 sponsors. A number of New Jersey farms do the Monroe market.
Keith Zipprich who farms about six acres on Montana Mountain in Harmony Township as “Zip’s Farm,” was having a good day selling strawberries. He said he might even have some in another week because he staggered planting and planted a few varieties.
“We’re having a record season,” he said, “but we need rain. It was a terrible winter.” The lack of both snow melt and spring precipitation is a concern for all the farmers.
Zipprich also sells produce at an honor-system stand at the end of his lane.
“People don’t want to go off the mountain for their vegetables,” he said.
Another Sunday market, in Hopatcong Borough, is starting its season with several new non-farm vendors. Ideal Farms, Danaray, Sparta Mountain and Humming Meadows Alpacas are back.
Farmer Dana Eisele has added a new art to her repertoire. Along with the goat’s milk soaps, she is now making artisanal soaps with more than one fragrance and is selling her pottery.
She is enthusiastic about another year at Hopatcong. “It’s good to see new people here. It’s a wonderful way to jump into being an entrepreneur.”
Denise Spina of Humming Meadows is starting to add fiber and a pattern to the value-added products she sells.
When she’s not in the field with the animals or making fiber items, she is taking her two small alpacas, Calisto and Perseus, to nursing homes to make friends with the residents. They are not only very friendly, they fit in her jeep.
At the Blairstown Market, sponsored by the Foodshed Alliance, John Mark Wojciki manages the Best Fruit Farm stand.
“There are more people, our sales are up,” he said at the second week of the market on Saturday, June 18.
His enthusiasm was echoed by market manager Savannah Dix, who was happy to announce the market is now accepting EBT and WIC.