Jazz music floated across the public library lawn and mellowed the stiff summer air as residents perused the farmers’ market offerings on July 10. The smooth sounds provided by Montclair musician Hunter Hayes on saxophone were one of the latest additions to the local market to generate greater appeal. The local farmers’ market relaunched July 10 offering up fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, assorted nuts and dried fruit, Argentinean empanadas, and jewelry.
While more populated municipalities like Hoboken and Jersey City have multiple farmers’ markets that start up earlier in the season and see a regular stream of shoppers interested in locally-grown and organic food, Secaucus hasn’t had as much luck with its own market.
After unsuccessful attempts on Fridays last year with many people leaving for the weekends, volunteer organizers Mickey and Paulette Halpin moved the market to Tuesday to generate more activity.
“I think you are more assured of getting fresher products.” – John Bueckner
“It is a little tough until people get acquainted,” said Deputy Mayor John Bueckner. “I think [residents] have to get used to the switch.” He said that the Secaucus Public Library offers ample parking, greater accessibility, and better visibility than the previous location in Buchmuller Park.
“This is a better location,” said Mickey Halpin. “They’ve had a steady flow [of shoppers].”
Halpin said she is still looking for new vendors to fill up the market, which only has a handful offering up goods at the moment.
“I think you are more assured of getting fresher products,” said Bueckner. He said the municipality is behind advocating for buying “Jersey type products.”
One vendor from Stella’s in Kearny sold homemade Argentinean empanadas and said that they were testing out the market in Secaucus. Cynthia Barulich, Stella’s daughter, had spent the morning making the empanadas before arriving.
“We are already doing better than last year,” said Jim Matarazzo from Matarazzo Farms in North Caldwell, who was offering up a variety of fruits and vegetables. His Jersey Fresh Farms table has been appearing on the farmers’ market circuit for 20 years. He has a farm in upstate New York and North Caldwell and goes to places like Ramsey, Pompton Lakes, and Montclair to offer fresh strawberries, grapes, peaches, greens, corn, and the ever popular Jersey tomato among other fruits and vegetables. He accepts WIC and government coupons and offers discounts to town employees.
“People like the idea of the cheese guy, the pickle guy, [and] the nut guy…,” said Matarazzo about the appeal of the farmers’ market and the types of vendors typically present.
The “nut” guys, Tim and Tom McManus, came from East Hanover to sell a variety of nuts and dried fruit. Similar to the other vendors they said that they appear at a number of markets throughout the state. Their most popular nut: the coffee pecan.
“I was looking forward to it,” said shopper Marlene Quinn. “I hope they stay.”
The farmers’ market runs every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. until October. For more information, call Town Hall: (201) 330-2000.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.