Farmers Table offers plenty of options
SERGEANTSVILLE — What was once Bobbie’s Sandwich Shop and later Nina’s Waffles is now the Farmers Table in the heart of this Hunterdon County hamlet.
The farmer at Farmer’s Table is Heidi Kovacs who operates Sugar Maple Jerseys right outside of town.
Kovacs started the farm 10 years ago after working on other farms, finally managing cows for Sam Santini in Warren County.
When he got out of the dairy business, she could have bought the herd, but looking back, she realizes she didn’t know as much as she thought she did and is pleased with her decision to wait.
After being turned down for loans three times, she finally received enough funding to buy a herd, 25 Jersey cows from Kempton, Pa., a milking system and a less-then elegant tractor.
“Who wouldn’t want a new John Deere, but. …” she said.
The farmer she bought the cows from kept them until her loan application was approved, she said, then came with them when they were delivered to her farm.
“They are great cows,” she said, noting, “You don’t always know what you’ll get.”
Kovacs is among the farmers who are dyed-in-the-wool Jersey cow fans. “I like all cows,” she said, “I love Jerseys.”
Their sweet disposition and intelligence are the main reasons, but from a purely practical standpoint, they are also easier to handle than the larger Holsteins.
“If I have to, I can pick up a newborn and carry it from the field to the barn,” she said.
She has kept the herd small, milking between 30 and 40 Jerseys at any given time.
She raises about 30 pigs a year and seven or eight steers to sell products in the Farmer’s Table.
After raising 1,000 chickens in one year during COVID, she raised 200 last year.
This year she’s raising 500 and thinks she will stay with that number.
Her husband, Rick Denby, raises crops and works full-time in construction.
The Farmer’s Table’s place in downtown Sergeantsville features a front porch and Kovacs said produce on the porch is definitely an attraction in the summer.
Kovacs also sells pet milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
“We aren’t an ice cream shop,” she explained. “We’re a shop that sells ice cream.”
Soap made from her Jersey milk is on one set of shelves. Another holds garlic and oils and other items from farms run by friends of Kovacs.
All of her products are made from milk from her farm. She doesn’t use any contractor who co-mingles from various farms.
Kovacs sells at a few famers markets as well as the shop. She just joined Duke Farms and goes to Wrightstown and Horsham in Pennsylvania.
The original farm store was on the farm, but it was located very close to the farmhouse and Kovacs felt the loss of privacy.
Her eventual goal is to eventually construct a store at the end of the farm driveway, she said, but, for now she is happy with the little shop. Bobbie, formerly of Bobbie’s Sandwich Shop puts in a few hours a week and a high school senior works weekends. Kovacs is hoping her daughters, Madeline, 14, and Miranda, 13, enjoy working there too.