Governor Donald DiFrancesco has declared August
5-11 as Farmers' Market Week in New Jersey. The
proclamation mirrors one issued by U.S. Secretary
of Agriculture Ann Veneman and encourages New Jerseyans
to visit their local farmers' markets and to enjoy
the bountiful harvest of Jersey Fresh fruits and
vegetables they'll find there. To mark the week,
Agriculture Secretary Art Brown will visit the Hoboken Farmers' Market on August
7 and the Jersey Fresh Farmers' Market of Lacey
Township in Forked River on August 10. "Farmers'
markets offer consumers a varied selection of delicious,
nutritious fruits and vegetables locally grown
and freshly picked," said Brown. "There is nothing
that can compare to the taste of Garden State fruits
and vegetables picked just hours before you bite
into them." New Jersey's farmers' markets date
back to the 1600s. Currently, there are 35 urban
farmers' markets attended by more than 150 farmers
in over 30 municipalities throughout the state.
Urban markets usually cater to several different
consumer groups, including the residents of the
surrounding area, those who work in the area and
those who travel through the area on their way
to work or other destinations. No matter what brings
shoppers to the farmers' market, they are likely
to become loyal patrons. "Urban farmers' markets
have enjoyed a tremendous resurgence of popularity
in the past several years," Brown noted. "They
bring a new sense of community to the host cities
and offer a colorful, enjoyable place where consumers
can buy the freshest locally-grown produce available."
Brown said customers also value the chance to talk directly to the
farmers who grow the produce they buy. "One of the most important results
of a farmers' market is the person-to-person bond that's created between
the farmers and their customers," he noted. "The farmers get to know
what kinds of produce their customers like and customers experiment
with fruits and vegetables they may not have enjoyed before." The urban
farmers' markets operate on various days and times during the week.
For a listing of the farmers' markets and their operating hours, contact
the New Jersey Council of Farmers and Communities (NJCFC) at (973)
236-1875 or visit their web site at www.njcfc.org.
The Garden State also boasts nearly 400 markets right on the farm.
Some are open year round, some seasonally and many offer a wide variety
of family-oriented events throughout the year. For a complete listing
of farm markets in their area, consumers can contact NJDA's Division
of Markets at (609) 292-8853 or visit the department's web site at