Food & Drink

Spring is Finally Here; Madison Farmers Market Opens

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MADISON, NJ - The ribbon cutting of the Madison Farmers Market’s 26th season was delayed a few minutes while the participants waited for the ribbon and the scissors.

Mayor Robert Conley sampled some salsa from one of the vendors while he waited. Council President Patrick Rowe visited several vendors before the brief ceremony.

The market is a project of the Downtown Development Commission. The ribbon cutting was a little after 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 31. The market will run each Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. on Central Avenue between Main Street and Cook Avenue through Oct. 25.

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Of the 26 vendors, five are new this year, John Hoover said. He said the DDC has a table and allows for two “pop-up” non-profits each week. Amanda Wisolmerski of the Community Pool and a few helpers were setting up their pop up as he was explaining.

At the DDC table, the group was handing out cards to customers. The cards are punched each week. After 12 visits, the customer gets 10 free market dollars.

Among the new vendors are Stoneybrook Farm from Hopewell. Dr. Ann del Campo said the farm was a mother-daughter enterprise started 20 years ago. It produces pasture-raised eggs and sustainable sheep and pork. ‘We use every part of the animal,” del Campo said gesturing to the sheepskins hanging above her head. She also pointed out local honey that she sells and Sourland Mountain Maple Syrup from her neighbor, Sweet Sourland Farms.   

“People wanted infused syrup,” she said of customers at some of the other markets she does. Since that is too big a job for Sourland Mountain, she gets infused syrup from Runamok Maple in Cambridge, VT.

Melick’s Town Farm of Whitehouse Station, Oldwick and Bridgewater, has been at the Madison market for years but employee Grace Lamport of Oldwick is working there for the first time this year. She worked summers and during the school year in Oldwick while at community college, but once she starts Drew University in the fall she will leave her summer job. Although, she added, “I could walk down here if they need me, it’s not that far.”

Stacey Smollen of 11th District for Change was reminding patrons of the upcoming primary.  She said four people she stopped said they wished they could vote but did not have their American Citizenship yet, including one of the vendors. She said most people were aware and planning to vote.

The only thing that can interfere with the market is Morris County’s planned repaving of Central Avenue. Lisa Ellis, the borough’s director of business development, said the county was supposed to fill in the potholes before the season.

Rowe said the borough is redoing its water system. “Our water pipes need enlarging and updating,” he explained. In addition, there is a sidewalk project planned. He explained the borough owns its own electric and water systems and shares a sewer plant with another municipality. The systems were set up 100 years ago and the water system is most in need of work.

Once the work is complete, the county will repave its roads in the borough, Rowe said, with as little disruption to the market as possible. Neither he nor Hoover could estimate exactly when that might happen.

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