With the hint of Spring and warmer weather arriving soon, many outdoor activity schedules resume.  One such activity to be considered is the Chatham Borough Farmers’ Market, a Saturday morning destination at Railroad Plaza South off Fairmount Avenue in Chatham Borough for Jersey Fresh produce and food products sourced from local vendors.

The Chatham Borough Farmers’ Market, celebrating its fifth year of operation in 2011, is completely supported by an all volunteer advisory board, under the auspice of the Borough.  In fact, the committee is seeking additional members and support from the community to join in their effort to bring the best market place to the community as they mark their first milestone.   “We have high quality, just picked, fresh produce…It’s the way people should eat, it’s the way we were always meant to eat” remarks Laura Masterson a Chatham Borough resident and Farm Market volunteer since 2008 and a past market contest contestant.

The Chatham Market holds the distinction of being a Certified member of the New Jersey Council of Farmers and Communities, a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving working farmland while supporting community economic revitalization, and Jersey farmers.   NJCFC President Joseph Mikulewicz notes “Each year, the popularity and nutritional benefits of sourcing local food increases, and the New Jersey Council of Farmers and Communities continues to grow with our current membership supporting 40 markets and farmers.  In the nation’s most densely populated state, it’s often easier for farmers to sell out to intense development pressure than to keep farming.  NJCFC’s farmers’ markets help to keep New Jersey Agriculture alive in the Garden State.”   Mikulewicz initiated the Market in his home town of Chatham while serving as a member of the 2007 Borough Council.  

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So how can you help the source verified, consumer confident movement in Chatham?  Volunteer to man the Chatham Borough Farmers’ Market Booth one or two Saturdays during the market’s operational season of June 25ththrough November 19thfrom 8 AM to 1 PM each Saturday.  Call Borough Hall at 973-635-0674 x 200 to speak with the market manager, Janice R. Piccolo and offer your involvement on the advisory board, so you can share your talent and expertise.  Or perhaps, do as Steve Simonfay of Simonfay Landscape Services did.  In 2010, Steve offered his company services to Chatham’s newly formed Public Arts Council to create a much needed Commuter Oasis at the train station parking lot off Fairmount Avenue in Railroad Plaza South, the exact location of the weekly farmers’ market.  While the Public Arts Council provided for the visual art sculpture, Simonfay Landscaping Services excavated the pocket park area, provided all materials, labor and shrubbery to create a peaceful, well designed, resting space in the heart of the community.  Simonfay’s benefactor efforts supported the Arts in Chatham Borough, the community Farmers’ Market, and the residential train commuting population.  This year, Steve returned to the same destination after identifying a well traveled pathway that was cut through a landscape bed that was in fact a direct entrance to the market and parking area.  “It seemed only natural to complete what we have started at the Commuter Oasis site constructed last year, to provide the necessary equipment and labor to complete this portion of the parking lot.  I intend to maintain this Railroad South Lot upgrade by periodically refreshing and routine maintenance.  Simonfay landscaping Services has always had a strong sense of community and we’re willing to help.”  Supporting local community projects and giving back to the community is what Steve feels sets his business plan apart from others.

Plans for this year’s market have already begun, like the site preparation that Steve Simonfay undertook, but new ideas, programs and volunteers are always welcome.  Consider showing your community spirit by joining in the effort!  Through the Junior League Volunteer Subcommittee of the Chatham Borough Farmers’ Market, community youth ages 8-17 are welcome and encouraged to provide community service through a variety of opportunities.  Please call 973-635-0674 x 200 to learn more or to participate.