MADISON, NJ—Summer is upon us, and that means the return of the Madison farmer’s market to Central Avenue. Mayor Conley arrived today at the market’s opening day for a ribbon cutting ceremony to usher in the new season, which will now run two weeks longer.

Lisa Ellis of the Downtown Development Commission (DDC) said people last year were disappointed that the market ended so early, and requested that it extend into pumpkin season.

The DDC’s mission is to “improve the downtown for residents” so listening to resident concerns is important, she said. Market attendees can now enjoy two extra weeks of locally grown produce and handmade products every Thursday, 2-7 p.m., through Oct. 26.

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More than 20 vendors showed up for opening day, with quite a few first- or second-timers returning this year.

“Lisa has done such an awesome job of bringing in new vendors,” Madison resident and business owner Tracee Palmer said.

The market has known many homes throughout about 20 seasons since it was first established, and Palmer has been a staple there for many years.

Owner of Secret Garden Soaps, Palmer has a goat farm at her home in Madison and handcrafts bath and body products from goat’s milk. She was also there to welcome the market’s newly extended season with Mayor Conley at the 2 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.

Palmer herself brought one business to the market this year for the second consecutive season—Stefans’ Pure Blends of Pompton Plains, a stand where visitors can enjoy homemade pierogi, stuffed cabbage and smoked kielbasy.

“The customers have accepted us with open arms,” said Stefans’ owner Lisa Bochna.

Both Palmer and Bochna said they want to promote buying from local farmers because of the personal connection and face-to-face contact it allows buyers to make with people who produce their food.

Bochna said one of the reasons she returned this year is the amount of loyal customers she acquired in a single season.

“I would say I see some of them more than I see my own distant family members,” she said. “They become family."