Market debut coincides with Green Fair

AFP Correspondent

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2017) — A rainy Saturday morning turned to bright sunshine on opening day of the Washington Borough Farmers’ Market’s 2017 season.
The market is sponsored by the borough council and the Business Improvement District.
Opening Day, Saturday, June 3, coincided with the Green Fair, an annual celebration of the environment by the borough’s Green Team.
A downtown parking lot was lined with vendors on one side and booths of environmental groups and green businesses on the other.
Councilwoman Josephine Noone is the council liaison to the BID and volunteered to run the farm market. She said the market is advertised on its own Facebook page as well as the “Growing up in Washington” page. She makes sure to post something every week.
Noone books musicians most weeks. The opening day act was George Marenich. The weeks without music have special event for kids, she said.
As a special treat for the Green Fair, Mike and Diana Dove of Dove Environmental had a booth and the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden had crafts for kids.
The Doves put on environmental programs for children in schools and libraries.
The garden, built in memory of a teacher at Washington’s Memorial School, was planted and is maintained primarily by students. Hospices and others use the space for memorials.
Another visitor to the Market/Fair was Spartacus, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.
Bridging the gap between the Fair and Market was a booth for the Warren Hills Regional High School FFA, Noone noted.
The goal, Noone said, is to bring people in to purchase from local farmers and to stay in the borough to do more shopping. Like most downtowns, Washington suffered from the construction of strip malls and big box stores and council is working to keep the remaining retail outlets and entice others back in.
Two vendors are new to the market this year.
Andrew Marchese of Hopewell does nine markets.
“I didn’t bring enough,” he said of his first time at Washington. He does markets down the shore which don’t really get busy until July.
Marchese and his wife, Catherine, have farmed for nearly 20 years on 20 acres of vegetable crops with some strawberries and melons. This year they have the “assistance” of their daughter, Julianna, 2, who alternates between telling customers, “don’t touch that, that’s Daddy’s,” and “thank you, you’re welcome.”
Also new to the market this year is Juniper Tree Spices, run by Washington residents Jennifer and Jason Foreman.
“I like messing around in the kitchen,” Jason said. “I find a blend I like and recreate it or customize it.”
Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval reenactment group, the Foremans enjoy recreating historic spices like Herbs d’Provence and Huntsman Game Rub.
They were happy with the response on opening day. Washington is their first market, but they are thinking of trying markets in Long Valley and Chester.
Jessica Wyble of Weeble Wobble Honey Farm is back for her second year in Washington but she brought some new products. Her creamed honey is selling well and she has also introduced reusable beeswax food wraps. She saw them online and decided to make them herself.
“People want to stay away from Saran Wrap,” she pointed out, saying they are east to make. She cuts fabric, coats it will beeswax and heats. They can be cleaned with cool water and milk soap, but not warm water so they are not useful for raw meat.
The market ran until 2 p.m. on the first day, but will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through September, Noone said. Although it is held on one municipal parking lot on Washington Avenue, there are other nearby lots for convenient parking.