BAYONNE, NJ - The Bayonne Farmers Market opened Tuesday with a lot of hope but very little fanfare, as organizers scrambled to find a good location.
“We didn’t know where we were going to be until recently,” said Lauren Dellabella, the founder of the market, who has once again reprised her volunteer role as the its organizer. “I work with the city to put this on every year.”
Dellabella is a jack of all trades when it comes to the market and is planning to work with the city to promote the market. “The mayor is going to send out a message about it,” she said. “We’re looking to put a banner over Broadway.”
Several of the vendors celebrated the return of the market to its traditional location on DelMonte Drive this year after being located on Avenue C near the ShopRite last year.
Dellabella said the DelMonte site did not become available until the last minute due to the same construction that prevented it from being used in 2019.
Over the years, the Bayonne Farmers Market, in partnership with the Bayonne UEZ, has provided a healthy mixture of local and regional vendors, and this year is no different. “Usually, we look to bring something new every year,” Dellabella said. “But this year we’ve decided to focus on safety because of COVID-19.”
While the opening day had about a dozen vendors, she said many of the “tried and true” vendors of the past would be coming on board as the season progresses. “Some of the vendors are looking for ways to do this safely,” she said. “This means some may be offering packaged products or products that people can buy online.”
Rebekah Alstede, owner of the family owned Alstede Farms, said most of her product is grown on the family farm, although only a handful of the huge assortment of fruits and vegetables presented on the first day were.
“We will be bringing more of our own product here as the season goes on,” she said.
Farmer Kurt, a native of Chester and a first-generation farmer, founded Alstede Farms in 1982, and the operations continue even today the family’s grandfather Hermann Alstede, wife Barbara and children Rebekah, Sarah and Karl.
Garfield based Buon Antipasto, a fixture at the Market for the past four years, is run by Frank and Jean Apello and provides a healthy mix of Italian specialties, although at the moment he was devouring a sandwich he brought from one of the vendors. “All of the food is good here,” Frank said. For them the farmer’s market gives them an opportunity to reach a broader audience.
Impacted by the COVID-19 shut down Apello also and sees the markets as a well to recoup their losses over the winter.
Also hailing from Garfield is Clyde's Homemade Italian Ice and Ice Cream. Don’t expect to find Clyde when you saddle up to the ice cream truck at the Bayonne Farmers Market. While Clyde founded the ice cream company more than 100 years ago, for the last 36 years, Tim Debens has been owner and operator.
Although his Italian ices are considered some of the best in the region, for some reason, Bayonne residents seem to like his egg creams, he told TAPinto Bayonne.
Adding to the variety of the vendors on the first day is Empanada Lady (cold only), an eight year veteran of the farmer’s market circuit. Traveling from Verona, Bayonne’s is the only one in the area they attend.
Paolo’s Kitchen out of New Providence offers prepared dinners on the go, fresh pastas, sandwiches, soups, and salads daily. Sergio Vasques said he expects sales to be even better this year in the past, partly because people will be seeking health alternatives from farmers markets.
Making the weekly trip from Fairfield is Dr. Pickle who is third in a line of picklers, beginning with the family’s grandfather, who started out making pickles in his basement. He would then sell them at Bungalow Colonies in the Catskill Mountains, and various farmers markets under the company name, Shimmy's Pickles. He later opened the Paterson Pickle Company that sold various pickled items to supermarkets and restaurants.
Now calling Bayonne home, Brant Reitner, has earned his entrepreneurial chops in the cannabis industry making and selling CBD plant-based superfoods under the brand name Velobar. His CBD protein bars, he believes can be both a filling snack and something to calm the eater down.
The CBD Protein bars have all the natural benefits of sustainably grown hemp CB, but none of psychoactive of marijuana. “We started as a medical marijuana provider,” he said, pivoting into the healthy snack line when he came to the realization that most of the dispensaries he worked with sold nothing but sugary junk food.
This is the second year Pies and Quiches has been a vendor at the Bayonne Farmers market.
“I make everything from scratch,” said Karen Trento, Pies and Quiches, a second year Bayonne Farmers’ Market vendor. Opening her first store in 2014 Trento revealed that using quality ingredients has been the secret behind her success.
Meanwhile, Melisa, at Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruits, out of Hanover already had her own variety of products ready for the public.
The Bayonne Farmers Market is located on DelMonte Drive between 22nd and 23rd. (Behind Verizon on Broadway) (parking in lot on 22nd street).
Face coverings must be worn, and social distancing is required when shopping at the market.
Some vendors will offer online ordering for pick-up. We will post that info as it becomes available.
The market is open every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.