ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ - In recognition of the many farmers and local craftsmen, Andover Township’s “Green Team” hosted their first outdoor Farmer’s Market on Sunday, September 23.
The event included nearly 30 vendors from all over Sussex County, and nearby areas. Some of these vendors were local farmers, health food or even Zen living specialists.
“A big part of Sustainable Andover is helping the community connect with local farmers to buy and support local food,” Eric Derby, representative from the Green Team, said.
“Many ask, 'What can I do about climate change?', and one of the first places to start is to support local farms and food to help the community stay sustainable in any climate or situation,” Derby said.
This year’s farmer’s market showed the community how many different ways there are to support local farmers. One vendor was from Willow Brook Farms, a Community Support Agriculture farm.
Karen Opilla, Owner of Willow Brook Farm in Frankford Township, explained the CSA process.
“A person buys a share of our farm, and we plant whatever is in season for them,” Opilla said."We do all seeding, planting, and harvesting, and you come to the farm once a week, and pick up your share of the farm once weekly."
Opilla usually chooses the fruits and vegetables that are planted, unless the shareholder has a preference. However, she said, the members appear to be happy with her choices over the past two years.
Willow Brook Farm has also been a Christmas Tree Farm in the community for many years.
Another vendor represented at the market was the Willow Tree Fiber Farm, selling handspun yarn and knitted hats. The owner was sitting nearby knitting and sharing her techniques with those who stopped at the booth. She sold not only sheep wool, but alpaca wool as well, both from her own animals raised on the farm.
Another vendor from a sheep farm sat nearby giving a spinning demonstration and explaining the different types of fibers.
The market also offered workshops for the family, such as beekeeping and cobb building, an alternative building method.
Several vendors from Blairstown, N.J. often attend markets together and share the same healthy living vision. Chow and Zen, a massage and alternative healing business, works with Adansonia Healing Botanicals and All Good Things, natural body care products, and want to provide the community with organic and vegan eating choices.
Chow and Zen plans to work with a local farm to have a vegan café option, which is not available in that area. They also offer massage therapy to provide another option for healing.
Sustainable Andover held one other farmer’s market last winter, which hosted mostly craft vendors, and hope to host many more in the future.
Sustainable Andover meets once a month at 7 p.m. at Kittatinny State Park. Their next meeting is Thursday, September 27.
The mission of Sustainable Andover is, “to bring people, businesses, and the community together to develop policies and practices to create a sustainable Andover Township for all to enjoy.”
The team is working towards certification with the Sustainable Jersey Program through projects implementing Green Energy, recycling and other sustainable practices within the Township. Any Andover resident can be part of the program or attend the local meetings.