Metuchen’s farmers market during the summer is a time to not just enjoy the produce from participating vendors. To most of us, for the past year since its inception – these Saturday mornings are opportunities to spend time with familiar faces from town as well as meet new ones. It’s a time to say hello to friends who’ve decided to wake up early instead of sleeping in. Maybe you’ll have breakfast or brunch at nearby Metuchen Diner before of after the market opens at 9am. As the women take their cue at their favorite vendors, the men would often be seen grabbing a chair, drink coffee and watch all the people come in and out the Senior Center parking lot. You’ll see the half-awake three year old tugging along the leash of his puppy. There’s the baby in the stroller happily with mom on a very sunny Saturday morning. After the prized mozzarella has been identified and bought, you head over to grab a couple olive bread. Mmmm, maybe you’ll head over Cai’s Cafe this time and order coffee to go along with it. That sounds like a good idea. But not until you say hello to all the vendors who are now as familiar as the faces of you neighbors’, despite this once a summer interaction. So this market to you isn’t just a place to buy farm fresh goodies, its become a town event on its own. Metuchen summers are now incomplete without THE Market. An anticipated event every Saturday mornings from 9am to 2pm at the Senior Center parking lot, 15 Center Street.
The Metuchen Farmers Market has been in existence since 1996, but has enjoyed a revitalization starting 2011, when it grew from a few farmers to our current count of eighteen top-notch vendors. Managed entirely by community volunteers, the market hosts four “Jersey Fresh” farmers and other food-first vendors offering cheese, pickles, olives, fresh-baked breads, mozzarella, dried fruits/nuts, grass-fed pork, free-range eggs, farmhouse-baked pies and more.
Participating farmers range from long-time New Jersey growers like Farmer Al’s and Von Thun’s to the recently-started woman-farmed transitional-to-organic Whistling Wolf Farm. The variety of vegetables and fruits offered for sale every week is astonishing and mouth-watering.
In addition to being a market in the commercial sense of buying-selling, the Metuchen Farmers Market embraces opportunities to enhance the community fabric. For instance, the Market has initiated a program where farmers donate excess produce to worthy causes such as Kiddie Keep Well Camp in Edison (thanks Bob Von Thun!) and the Metuchen First Presbyterian Church’s food pantry (thanks Walt Zyck of Country Stand Farm!). We also offer a free table to community non-profit organizations so they can do outreach: participants include(d) Women Helping Women, Metuchen EMS, Borough Improvement League, Friends of the Metuchen Public Library, Metuchen High School Garden Club, Build With Purpose and Bike|Walk Metuchen. Finally, the Market aspire to support local businesses, whether they are currently Chamber of Commerce members (they get a free weekly table as well) or are a business that is thinking of establishing a store-front in Metuchen and can use a Farmers Market stall to “test the market”.
2017 Participating Vendors
Cherry Grove Farm: Cheese from grass-fed cows, meat/sausages/bacon
Chickadee Creek Farm: Organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown in Pennington, NJ
Country Stand Farm: Fresh produce, baked goods, honey and more
Farmer Al’s Market & Greenhouses: Fresh produce, flowers
Gourmet Nuts & Dried Fruits: Dried fruits and nuts
Hoboken Farm Stand: Breads, meats, pastas, fresh mozzarella, stuffed breads and sauce
Jersey City Fish Stand: Providing high-quality and sustainable seafood
Little Owl Soaps: Hand-crafted vegan soaps, body washes, lip balms and other body products
MahA Premium Granola: Real. All Natural. Delicious.
Mishrun: Chutneys and relishes
Pickles and Olives Etc: Wide variety of pickled vegetables and selection of olives
Sugar Maple Jerseys: All natural cheeses made from our primarily grass fed, high quality milk
The Farmer & The Chickpea: Seasonal menu items
Von Thun’s Country Farm Market: Fresh produce