Winter farmers’ market bustling in former train station
BERNARDSVILLE — The railroad station in this historic borough in the Somerset Hills open on Jan. 29, 1872, the same year the railroad came through town.
The borough owns the station and has sanctioned the use of the parking lot for a summer farm market for 25 years.
Last year opened the interior for a winter market that will run through March 28.
Market Manager Ed English explained about three years ago a closed bridge on one of the roads into town cut back on the customer base for the farm market and people started talking about making some changes and from that the idea of a winter market was born.
Mayor MaryJane Canose was very much in favor, English said.
She even spoke to her church about hosting it. But English liked the idea to keep the market in the same location summer and winter.
English had to work with both the borough and New Jersey Transit, which took negotiations up to 3 p.m. the Friday before opening day, he said.
Fortunately, English optimistically had posters and other advertising prepared ahead of time.
One of his challenges was talking the borough into removing the barrier over the ticket window.
Now, the winter market has 13 vendors, every space is filled. He said it was his goal to keep it a real farmers market with either locally grown products or value added products produced from locally-grown items.
Critics said the summer market was turning into a flea market, so English is especially careful to keep both markets local and farm-based.
“We always try to keep New Jersey products,” he said.
The market goes through Saturday, March 28, and is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sal Pisani of Jersey Girl Cheese sells his Italian-style cheeses in three markets. He is doing well at the Bernardsville market, especially with his fresh mozzarella. Jersey Girl partners with a farmer who milks 70 Jersey cows. They produce a number of varieties of fresh and aged Italian cheese in Branchville, Sussex County. They sell locally to farm-to-table restaurants and shops as well as at the farm markets.
Another vendor is River Lea House from Branchberg. Steve Price, the owner, started out producing garlic, especially black garlic. He now produces his own spices and pickles. His specialty is Black Garlic Fire Cider, a holistic tonic good for many ailments.
Griggstown Farm sells poultry and eggs as well as Diane Luvich’s soup and pies in West Windsor and Philadelphia as well as Bernardsville. She enjoys the warmth of an indoor market as well as the new faces she’s seeing in Somerset County.
Katrina Krakus of Krakus Deli in Phillispburg said Bernardsville is the only winter market they do, although they appear at 10 over the summer. PickleLicous, which has a store in Teaneck does eight winter markets, said Marins Hihne. Other vendors include a baker who takes advantage of the lack of barred windows in the ticket office, a vegetable farm and an alpaca farm
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925