SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The South Orange Farmers Market kicked off Wednesday afternoon with new and returning vendors in a new location at First and Sloan streets.
New offerings include homemade wines from Villa Milagro, oatmeal squares from Happy Belli, Lebanese and Mediterranean food from Zen Bread and Kitchen.
Villa Milagro opened in 2007 and is based in Finesville. Their homemade wines include Rosita, Gracias and Inciendo. “All of the wines are blends of different grapes,” Villa Milagro vendor Nick Kowalczyk said. “I’d probably go with Rosita’s; it’s very sweet and good for the summertime.”
Happy Belli offered an assortment of oatmeal squares such as peanut butter, mixed berry, almonds and mixed fruit. “It’s like a breakfast bar meets a cookie, meets a granola bar, and meets oatmeal,” owner Tatiana Duarte said.
Zen Bread and Kitchen contributed to the international flair with items including organic pita bread with an assortment of meats. “For the meats we do a mixture of beef, lamb, chicken and that’s about it for the meats,” Ziad “Zen” Khoury of Zen Bread and Kitchen said. “We also have a lot of vegetarian items. Some of our most popular items are spinach, pita triangles, spinach and lentil, and Za’tar which is a spice in the Middle East.”
Among the returning vendors was Vesco Foods, which sells items such as pickles and olives. Vesco Foods’ Volkan Demirci said he enjoys doing business at the farmers market because people are very enthusiastic about their products.
According to Melissa Hodge, the events and operations coordinator of South Orange Village Center Alliance, the goal of SOVCA was to grow the market this year.
“We have the major farms that we’ve had in the past,” Hodge said. “We have Alstede Farms, Hoboken Farms, and Stony Hill.”
The Farmers Market is just one activity SOVCA organizes, Hodge said.
“We just did a major survey for, not just the residents of South Orange, but for Seton Hall students and all of our commuters to ask them what kinds of businesses they want to see here at the village center,” SOVCA Executive Director Bob Zuckerman said. “We’re going to be releasing the details of that report very soon, probably at the June 23 Board of Trustees meeting.”
The Farmers Market runs Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. until October. The market is on First and Sloan streets between the firehouse and the Sloan Street lot.
The reporter is a student participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.