It’s a strange, new world. But it’s not all unfamiliar. The farmers markets, for one, are still standing. An especially good thing because spring is upon us, in case you’d forgotten amid the onslaught of dire news. Farmers markets are considered a grocery under the state-mandated coronavirus closures, so the year-round ones have remained open and the seasonal ones will be budding to life over the coming weeks. Our handy (and, now, annual) guide follows to help you find your way.
Through May 3, the market will be open at Dvoor Farm from 11 AM to 1 PM on the first and third Sundays of the month. After that, it’ll be there every Sunday. While there’s always a healthy selection of seasonal veggies here (AquaSprout Farms, Comeback Farm, Sandbrook Meadow Farm, Sweet Valley Farm), even more impressive is the variety of mouthwatering foodstuffs, from artisanal breads (Apple Ridge Farm and Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse) and scratch-made granola and protein bars (I’m Hungry Truck and Depot) to free-range poultry (Griggstown Farm) and vegan burgers (Will’s Amazing Vegan Burgers). And that’s just an amuse-bouche.
Homestead reopens April 10, and not a moment too soon since it’s where we go to stock up on supplies for our own gardens. It’s that rare market where the fruits and veggies—every last one of which is plucked from a nearby farm—are maybe the second or third reason you’re stopping in. The in-house bakery is an authority on pies, everything from rhubarb to mince. Not as widely known, the market, supplements its prepared foods with a limited-but-can’t-miss Thai menu prepared by the former owner-chef of Siam Restaurant.
The Solebury, PA-based Roots to River Farm is one of the region’s largest certified-organic farms. It took over the Gravity Hill fields and farmers market in 2017. Housed in the same building is The Farm Cooking School, which sells prepared foods at the market. Beyond that and the seasonal produce, you’ll also find breads and made-to-order pizza, the fruits of a large wood-burning oven, as well as grass-fed meat and free-range eggs from Beechtree and Goat Hill farms. After limited winter hours, the market is expected to open for the season in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can register for a Roots to River CSA share here.
Yeah, it’s open year-round, but we’d be neglectful if we didn’t mention it. These farmers markets have evolved to the point that there’s something new and interesting going on there every weekend, whether it’s a pop-up vendor or Sunday-morning yoga and brunch. And come the warm weather, all of that activity is only amplified. Not to mention, it’s the most comprehensive market in the river towns. Where else is scoping out whatever’s in season a legitimate cover for munching macarons?
That wonderful catchall you’ve come to recognize as a farmers market, where Amish meats and a Polish deli exist under the same roof; where the baker’s likely to send you a few stalls down so that you can be led to the cheese that pairs sublimely with your warm loaf of bread; where the vegan are offerings are fresh, and vibrant, and plentiful; where the guy who grows the juiciest Jersey tomatoes can’t stop gushing about the hand-crafted soap that’s sold on the other side of the market? A lot of that started here. Literally, right here. Welcome to Jersey’s oldest, continuously-running farmers market.