A sure sign of summer in this suburb is the opening of the Montclair Farmers Market, which kicks off its 20th season on Saturday, June 2, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Walnut Train Station parking lot. The weekly market continues into November.
When a committed group of residents conceived and opened the farmers market in 1993, there were three such markets in North Jersey. Today there are over 100 farmers markets throughout the state.
All five of Montclair's familiar farmers—Tree-Licious Orchards, Sunden Farms, Vacchiano’s, Matarazzo’s, and Farmer John (the organic grower)—will return to town this season with produce usually picked within 24 hours.
Plus, this year’s market boasts more than a dozen delicious food artisans, such as Montclair's local organic Bread Company, a cheese maker, a seafood fishmonger, a beekeeper with honey (and wax candles), a specialty condiments purveyor, a vendor selling locally-grown range-fed bison meat, a vintner, a pesto maker, a pickler, and a pastry baker. No candlestick maker, though, because this authentic farmers’ market only sells foods that are grown or produced here in the Garden State.
A new addition is a booth shared by a different vendor each week, on a monthly rotation, adding variety and fresh interest. Throughout the season, as new produce becomes available, a chalk-board sign will announce that week’s choice for Best of the Market.
The Montclair Farmers Market has become a popular Saturday morning meeting place for hundreds of residents, visitors, families and friends, who enjoy not only the healthy, tasty food, but also a tangible sense of community due to the presence of the farmers, neighbors, chef-prepared food tastings, lots of music, and non-profit info tables.
Shopping at farmers markets also supports family farmers, preserves farmland in the Garden State, and keeps food-purchase dollars in our regional economy.
And, it is more environmentally sustainable, because foods which travel shorter distances from field to table require less additives, refrigeration, and much less energy.
Vibrant retail produce outlets like the Montclair Farmers Market reduce the “food-miles” traveled, and help keep farming alive in New Jersey. In turn, preserving farmland increases property values, saves tax dollars, and protects our heritage and precious natural resources. Additionally, farmers' markets not only bring life to the Garden State’s agricultural community; they also bring vitality to our own downtown shopping areas. The Montclair Farmers Market attracts hundreds of shoppers to the town's commercial districts every Saturday for six full months, especially during the typically quieter summer season (the region’s peak growing period).
See you at the Market!