Green scene

Some farmers’ markets canceled, others thrive

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Hudson County residents who want vegetables fresh from the farm, as well as a variety of baked goods, sauces, and other delicacies, can find a local weekly farmer’s market for almost any day of the week. Most local farmers’ markets participate in the Jersey Fresh produce program under the state’s Department of Agriculture, which encourages people to buy state-grown food. Some markets accept benefit programs like WIC, SNAP, EBT, or senior FMNP.
One market that ran at Ellsworth Park in Union City last year will not be back. The Washington Park Association, which organized the market, determined there were not enough vendors or customers to make it financially feasible, said a spokesperson.
Hoboken and Jersey City do run several markets in each town.
According to its website, the state of New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country, has 9,100 farms covering 715,000 acres. They generated over $1 billion in sales in 2014.
Here’s a roundup of Hudson County’s current and upcoming farmers’ markets.
If we missed any or need to update our information, feel free to email us at editorial@hudsonreporter.com.

The markets

The Bayonne Farmers’ Market kicked off on Tuesday, May 23, at Fitzpatrick Park on Avenue C and 27th Street. The market runs every Tuesday from 2 – 7 p.m. at the park, which is right across from Shop Rite. Vendors include Ort Farms, Lizzmonade, Bread & Spoon, the Empanada Lady, Paolo’s Kitchen, Just Delicious Kettle Corn, Dr. Pickle, Gourmet Fruits and Nuts, High Mountain Foods, and NaturalVert, which sells organic gluten-free granola.
Nicole Ort, of Ort Farms, a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) share in Long Valley, said last year that her CSA is very popular with her shareholders, many of whom come back year after year. “I think what people like about ours is that we’re actually the farmers, so they know exactly where it’s coming from… They’re supporting the farmer, and the farmer is the one who is working hard.”

Throughout the county

Several markets have merged into one in Church Square Park, in central Hoboken. It will run every Tuesday from 2 to 8 p.m. through Nov. 21.
According to the Hoboken Farmers Market website, the organizers “feel that this new more centralized location will give us much more space for educational programming, music, and additional vendors.”
The Church Square market will feature Acres Farm, which has free-range and antibiotic-free meats, kosher chicken, ostrich, bison, or emu, as well as exotic pet treats.
The Garden Street Farmer’s Market, at 14th and Garden streets, runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 16. The market is popular with families for its children’s entertainment and a drawing station, its encouragement to recycle, its use of sustainable materials, and promotion of a smoke-free environment.
Vendors are encouraged to donate leftover produce to the Hoboken Shelter the end of the day. Participating merchants accept WIC vouchers. According to the Hoboken Farmers’ Market website, the farmers who come to Hoboken to sell produce plant close to 1,000 acres each year.
To volunteer or to get more information, visit Hobokenfarmersmarket.com.

Reaching the Heights

In Jersey City Heights, up the hill from Hoboken, the Riverview-Fisk Park Farmer’s Market on Bowers Street and Palisade Street is open every Sunday through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “This is how grocery shopping is supposed to be,” said Tim Newman, a Jersey City Heights resident who comes to the Riverview Park farmers’ market every Sunday. With live musicians playing in the background, he said, “You don’t get these kinds of vendors or this atmosphere at a grocery store.”
He said that he still does a lot of his shopping at a grocery store, but supplements that with what he gets from his CSA share every week. The Riverview Park market also has free yoga in the morning, something Tim does not participate in. He says, “I’m not flexible enough for that.”
The market features a calendar of events, including free kids’ programs, cooking demos, art/dance programs, and a flagship Music in the Park series. Music in the Park will be held every first Sunday of the month through Oct. 30.
Local business Yoga in the Heights will be offering an outdoor yoga class every Sunday at 11 a.m. through the end of September where participants are encouraged to donate.

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“It’s just about word of mouth.” – Kristen Mohabeer
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Affordable produce

While every farmers’ market accepts SNAP vouchers (or food stamps) and EBT (electronic benefit transfer), the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services and a company called Wholesome Wave have partnered with markets to provide incentives for people who feel they might not be able to afford the prices by implementing a token program, called “JC Doublebucks.” The program matches up to $10 of EBT/SNAP funds for purchase of produce.
“It’s hard to get people to participate because there are so many people [participating in SNAP and EBT] that don’t know,” said Kristen Mohabeer, the market manager at the Riverview market. “It’s just about word of mouth.”
For more information on the JC Doublebucks program, or the Riverview Farmers Market, visit Riverviewfarmersmarket.org.

Farm-fresh favorites

The Van Vorst Park Association (VVPA), a nonprofit that maintains the park, hosts a market every Saturday through December from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Van Vorst Park on Jersey Avenue and Montgomery Street in Jersey City. President of the VVPA Marc Wesson said, “We have this company that makes pork sandwiches with figs or cheese. We have another vendor with organic, flavored butters. They’re pretty amazing.”
For three Saturdays of every month, there will be a knife and scissor sharpener. Shoppers can find baked goods with organic or vegan products, 14 different types of pickles, fresh juices, nuts, a fresh fish market, and Caribbean sweet potato pie.
The farmers’ market at Lincoln Park, on West Side and Belmont avenues, runs from June 11 to Oct. 22 every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hamilton Park’s Farmer’s Market runs every Wednesday through December from 3 to 7.30 p.m. Vendors surround the gazebo in the park on Eighth Street between West Hamilton and McWilliams Place.
At the Grove Street PATH, find the Special Improvement District’s Farmers’ Market, every Monday and Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. until Dec. 21. Customers can find honeys, truffles, juices, pesto, produce, and more. WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers are accepted by some farmers.
The Farmers’ Market at Journal Square is back for its 18th season. It’s open every Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and located outside the PATH Center along Kennedy Boulevard across from the Loew’s Theatre. All farmers are Certified Organic.
The Sparrow Hill Farmers’ Market opens in Leonard Gordon Park every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Secaucus is another town without enough demand to sustain a full-scale farmers’ market. But city officials remain proactive about satisfying the needs of those who want produce straight from the farm. The city still runs a city-wide Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program that residents can sign up for on the Secaucus website, according to Lynn Kramer, who organized the CSA. A veggie truck run by City Green will also come to Secaucus every Thursday from 11-1 in the municipal parking lot between Golden Avenue and Humboldt Street, selling veggies, fruit, honey, and eggs.

Rory Pasquariello may be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com.