SPARTA, NJ-The Sparta Friends and Neighbors organization hosted three Sparta Farmers Market vendors who spoke at their monthly meeting on May 14, 2014 at the Sparta Ambulance Building in Sparta.

Sparta Friends and Neighbors is a social organization that welcomes newcomers to Sparta. Their purpose is to help women become familiar with Sparta and all our community has to offer. 

They offer monthly meetings, monthly social activities, and special events throughout the year. The motto is, “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't yet met.”

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Liz Van Fleet, the Sparta Friends and  Neighbors Vice President of Programs remarked, “The ladies of Sparta Friends and Neighbors really enjoyed learning more about our Sparta Farmers Market.”

Jan Jorritsma from Ideal Farms of Lafayette Township was a speaker.  She discussed their local garden center and how they grow their own vegetables and fruits and sell them at their farm and at farmers markets. Ideal Farms carries a wide variety of annuals, perennials, vegetable plants, shrubs, roses, etc. During the Fall Ideal offers pumpkin picking and hayrides. They also have a bakery where they bake fresh pies and donuts.

Jorritsma said,  "It was fun meeting such a lovely group of ladies. Hope to see them at the Sparta Farmer"s Market this season and up the road at Ideal Farms.”

Hannelie Rheeder attended from Churutabis Farm, located in Branchville.  Her  discussion was about her sustainable farming practices. Churutabis has goats, chickens for eggs and meat, Rouen and Muscovy Ducks and guinea-fowl. All of the animals have access to sun, fresh air, and the pasture.  

Maria Lange from Maria’s Biscotti in Lafayette. Lange’s mission is to have fun creating and sharing great flavors without sacrificing quality, nutrition, or good social values to do so.  Founded in 2008 after too many years of putting her dreams on a back burner, Lange started living her dream. Along with a special biscotti recipe she had, she joined the with farmers' markets and got her products on the shelves of local gourmet markets. With corporate and private catering events in the works, Lange set out to create a buzz. 

Liz Van Fleet went on to say, "It was so interesting hearing about life on working area farms from Jan and Hannelie. Maria also had us all wanting to taste her wonderful biscotti and other specialty food items that she offers at the market.

"Many members came up to me after the meeting saying how excited they were to visit the market on Saturdays this summer to buy the local, organic products offered there.  One member said that she was recommitting herself to getting much of her food from market since it is so healthy and delicious.

"Now we have another reason to go; and that is to visit our new friends Jan, Hannelie, Maria and our new honorary member, Mitch.”   

Mitch Morrison from the Sparta Farmers Market commented, “We were thrilled to be asked to participate in the Sparta Friends & Neighbors meeting.  We look forward to our Sparta Farmers Market fourth season and our opening day on May 31 starting at 9 a.m. at the Sparta Municipal Building located at 65 Main Street in Sparta."

Please contact Liz Van Fleet for details pertaining to the Sparta Friends & Neighbors organization.

The Sparta Friends & Neighbors:

The Sparta Farmers Market:

Maria’s Biscotti

Churutabis Farm 

Ideal Farms