By: Michele DiPasquale
Farmer’s markets have become all the rage for savvy and frugal shoppers: fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, farm-made cheeses, apple cider and candy, flowers and plants, organic and non-GMO foods, even meats and fish, all for a significantly smaller price than those at high-end food stores or specialty shops.
The Farmer’s Market in West Orange is back and far superior to its predecessor, featuring local vendors focused on quality products like locally-sourced meat, organic produce, cheeses, artisanal bread, eco-friendly everyday products and soaps, hyper-local heirloom eggs and microgreens, pure honey, a variety of lunch options, and so much more.
After a three-year hiatus, the market – which will host local and Northern New Jersey farmers and vendors – will open on May 18 through November 2 at its new location at 80 Main Street from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Sat. The new market digs are near the famous Thomas Edison Museum – the launch pad of modern America – along with Main Street’s excellent restaurants, shops, and services. You’ll find unsurpassed deals and great finds while supporting local businesses and staying on top of upcoming events throughout West Orange’s neighborhoods like The Valley, St. Mark’s, Tory Corner, Eagle Rock, and obviously, Main Street.
Stacey Reese, the West Orange Farmer’s Market manager, says that with real farmer’s markets like that of West Orange, shoppers have the opportunity to buy fresh food with no middleman. A lifelong advocate for self-sustenance, Stacey loves to grow her own vegetables and teach her son, Finn, how to enjoy getting dirty for a great cause.
“As a professional social engagement strategist, I love the smiles people bear when they take a bite of a fresh heirloom tomato, which is why I feel compelled to share my passion for supporting local farmers and eco-conscious entrepreneurs,” Reese shared.
She recently aligned with Megan Brill, executive director of the Downtown West Orange Alliance, to bring back the farmer’s market after a three-year hiatus. A denizen of West Orange, Reese said inspiration struck her to initiate her own garden after she enjoyed the West Orange Farmer’s Market when she first moved into town five years ago. Reese realized that in order for the market to return, she would have to take a leadership role and make it happen herself. Feeling that downtown Main Street was not the same without the Farmer’s Market, its return would grant residents of West Orange and visitors the ability to have access to high-quality organic foods and other specialty items often found in a boutique setting, but at an affordable price.
The farmer’s market will draw from farms and vendors within 20 to 30 miles of West Orange, including Essex and as far as Middlesex County. Vendors may choose to participate in all 25 weeks or less, so there’s no commitment for the full season if vendors and farms wish to spread their largesse to neighboring farmer’s markets like Maplewood, South Orange, and Millburn.
As more local farms and vendors are needed, they are encouraged to be a part of the great return of the West Orange Farmer’s Market. Vendors should arrive between 8 and 8:30 a.m. to begin setting up for the market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To learn more or to contact the committee, visit the West Orange Farmer’s Market 2019 Facebook page.