WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Farmers Market kicked off its 22nd season Saturday, June 3, with a formal ribbon cutting with Mayor Andy Skibitsky, the Downtown Westfield Corporation and members of the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
New and returning vendors braved the rain and cool weather on Saturday morning to set up this season’s offerings.
“I am trying to make this the morning destination on Saturdays,” said Chris Devine, chamber of commerce member and Westfield Farmers Market manager for the past seven years. “To me, there is a magic to the market — the freshness. Everybody that comes to the market loves it.”
The Westfield Farmers Market is open every Saturday, June through October plus a special pre-Thanksgiving date, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It's located in the South Side parking lot of the Westfield Train Station, where there is ample free parking in un-numbered spots on weekends.
This year the market boasts 17 vendors, including 2016 Farmer of the Year Chickadee Creek Farm and long-time vendor High Mountain Foods.
“We can do six other markets, but we come to Westfield because of the people,” said High Mountain Foods owner Vito Lombardo.
Lori Hart of Donaldson’s Farm added, “We have such a following here — the same customers, they become family.”
While rainy weather made for a slow start opening day, the market typically attracts anywhere from 500 to 1,500 guests. Throughout the season, Devine organizes additional entertainment and events to make the market not just a shopping experience but also an opportunity to engage the whole family.
“We organize activities and little things to help keep the kids entertained,” said Devine.
The Westfield Farmers Market relies heavily on community involvement — the public drives business and attention to the market that offers mostly natural and organic products.
“Everyone is mindful of the products they buy. You can sit with the farmer and have a conversation,” said Devine, who touted the dedication of his vendors and contributors. “The farmers are very particular about set-up and their produce. They work very hard and are so passionate and proud about their product.”
The Westfield Farmers market is part of the “Jersey Fresh” program that reinforces a commitment to fresh and local produce along with the preservation of farmland in the state.
“We are very proud of the Jersey Fresh program and we only have Jersey farmers,” Devine said.
Along with the support from the vendors and the public, The Westfield Farmers Market is made possible by Two River Community Bank. “They are a very very important aspect to the market,” Devine said.
Complete 2017 Vendor List:
Chickadee Creek Farm – Certified organic vegetable, flower and herb farm.
Donaldson Farms – Fresh produce.
Skeba Family Farm – Fresh produce.
Stonybrook Meadows – A mother and daughter owned and run farm operation in Hopewell, NJ. Their focus is happy animals and gourmet, quality products. They heritage breed hogs, lamb and laying hens on pasture using organic and permaculture techniques. They offer heritage pork – chops, ham, ribs, roasts – Kielbasa and more than 10 types of sausage, leg of lamb, ground lamb and chops in addition to a full line of many types of salami, pastured hen eggs, maple syrup and herbal teas.
(AM)2 – Organic, artisanal chocolate made with the non-GMO ingredients.
EF Education First – A world leader in international education since 1965. Offering educational tours, immersion language learning, cultural exchange and academic programs around the world. (June/July)
Ferrin Flowers – Local cut flower farm (stems and bouquets).
High Mountain Foods – Frozen pastas (such as ravioli), focaccia, pickles and fresh mozzarella.
Lara’s Bake Shop – Gourmet cookies baked from all-natural ingredients.
Lithuanian Bakery – Breads, pies and donuts.
Neil’s Sharpening Services – Bring your kitchen knives, scissors and tools (6/17, 7/15, 8/19, 9/16, 10/21 only).
Paolo’s Kitchen – Frozen prepared Italian-style entrees.
Patricia and Paul – Artisans of fine oils and balsamics.
Squeezed Fresh – Fresh-pressed lemonade and limeade sweetened with their own simple syrup. They offer classic lemonade, strawberry lemonade, blue raspberry lemonade, “Arnold Palmers” mixed with ice tea and limeade.
Unique Snacks of America – Organic, fair-trade chocolate, gourmet snacks, granola and more.
Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming – Specialty dog treats and bones as well as fashionable accessories.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce Farmers Market can call the GWACC office at 908-233-3021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.