It is hard to think that the warm weather is just around the corner, but the groundhog’s six weeks is not a long time! The Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce is already planning the 2014 Farmers’ Market. This year, it will begin on June 6th and continue until October 10th (and maybe beyond). This will be the town’s 7th year of presenting this very popular market. The chamber is already receiving inquiries from vendors about booths in Veteran’s Park (across from Borough Hall on First Avenue).
A real local farmers’ market is not a supermarket, even if “farmers’ market” is in their name or advertising. It is not a store with something produced once upon a time on a farm. That would mean a gas station shop could be a “farmers’ market!”
Real local farmers’ markets go back to ancient times. When farm families grew more than they consumed, they began bartering their vegetables for another’s goat, chickens, or whatnot. This led to agreeing on a place in the village where farmers could meet regularly and trade.
A real farmers’ market today is not that different. Farming families regularly bring their fresh products to an agreed location and trade them, nowadays for money.
Farmers’ markets are becoming more and more popular as people recognize that there is an alternative to supermarkets. The community is finding more choices and healthier options for our families.
The Farmers Market Foundation recently published:
“Ten Reasons Why Farmers’ Markets are More Healthier and a Wiser Choice”
1. “Purchasing from farmers’ markets helps keep farmers in business and contributes to the local economy.
2. Seasonal produce: Our bodies need different nutrients over different seasons, like root vegetables during autumn and winter and to ‘ground’ us during the cooler months.
3. Ethical Meats: (if available) Grass fed beef and free range pork is sold at farmers’ markets – a healthier alternative to factory raised animals.
4. Interactive Experience: You can speak to a farmer about the product, ask questions, and ask how it is prepared.
5. Nutrient packed produce: Farmers’ markets sell local produce which was just harvested to provide you with the most vitamins and minerals for your health.
6. It’s good for the environment: Cutting down on food processing, packaging, and travel will reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned.
7. Tasting samples: You will always discover new fruits and vegetables that farmers will offer to you to try, especially if it’s something that is not common.
8. Variety: At the farmers’ market, you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, chicories, green garlic, watermelon radishes, kohlrabi, wild mushrooms, and much more.
9. Knowing where your food came from: Meeting and talking to farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about where food is produced.
10. Hidden Gems: Most markets will sell all-natural body products, locally sourced chocolates, homemade ice cream, and homemade baked goods.
The Atlantic Highlands Farmers’ Market will also offer an assortment of flowers and plants for planting. Adding to the flowers and plants for opening day will be a mix of produce, herbs, honey, pickled products, pirogues, relishes, baked goods, candy, dried fruits and nuts, and much more! The market runs every Friday starting at 12:00 p.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m. Market closes October 10th. If interested in being a food vendor for the 2014 market season, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 732-872-8711 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are sponsorship opportunities available as well for local businesses.
Remember: Support small towns – shop local!
For further information about the chamber and other upcoming activities visit www.atlantichighlands.org.