Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo and Councilman Mike Francis at the opening of the Hopatcong Farmer’s Market The joys of attending a farmer’s market are many – there’s the inspiration for tonight’s dinner browsing through the tempting array of fresh vegetables, there's seeing your friends and neighbors and catching up on the latest news and there are delicious things to see, taste and smell. The vendors who participated in Sunday's market were Struble Gardens of Hopatcong, High Mountain Foods of Kenvil, Maria’s Biscotti of Lafayette, Glenmalure Farm of Wantage, Everything Homemade of Lafayette, Ideal Farm and Garden of Lafayette, Sweet Pea Tea of Bound Brook, Sparta Mountain Farm of Sparta, Hidden Pastures Alpaca Fiber Shop of Branchville, and Sabretti’s Hot Dogs of Landing. “The community was really ready for this,” said Mayor Sylvia Petillo at yesterday’s grand opening of the Hopatcong Farmer’s market at the Hopatcong Municipal Building.
Bob Ricadela of Sparta Mountain Farms and Mike Francis with one of Bob's chickens The farmer’s market has been a labor of love for Councilman Mike Francis. “It’s been two years in the making and it is a dream come true.“ Having visited many markets in his travels to Europe, Mike saw how the open markets are an integral part of the community. Farmer’s markets are important to a town socially and they are about more than just the food. “The town needs this – it’s important,” he added. According to Mike, the market is running on a “zero” budget. There is no charge for vendors to participate. “All of our vendors are very civically minded. We want to keep the market grassroots and I’d like everyone in town to support it. It’s nice to put your energy into something that is fun. I’m looking forward to more vendors coming next week. When I started out, I said I wanted a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker. I’ve got the butcher and the baker, the candlestick maker is coming next Sunday. We’re just going to get bigger and better.”
Emily and Kim Sokirynsky along with Julianna Nelson at Sweet Pea Tea.
Marcie Mack spinning alpaca yarn in the Hidden Pastures Alpaca Fiber booth with her husband Harry, and son, Harry Jr. The market was jumping as soon as it opened. When the shoppers were asked how they found out about the market, all of them said “the BANNERS all over the municipal building.” There were about ten vendors set up selling everything from gorgeous local produce to socks made from llama yarn, to scented soaps and New Jersey honeys, to crab cakes and foccaccia, to grass fed lamb and beef.
Peggy Kelly Toni Litterio of Glenmalure Farms.
“Our beef, lamb and pork are all grass fed. We have free-range chickens and organic eggs. Come to think of it, all of our animals are ’free-range‘. They only go inside when they want to.”
Struble Gardens employee Brianne Scholl says: “Business, in general, ‘is blooming’.”
Ryan Ostertag of Ideal Farms Cynthia Deermount of Maxim Drive doing a little after-yoga shopping.
Those beautiful strawberries.
Janet Joritsma of Ideal Farms in Lafayette, NJ, was so busy that she needed to call her husband to bring another truckload of produce down by 11:00 Sunday morning. “The market has hit the ground running. We’re selling all Jersey produce right now. NJ sweet corn will be coming in next week and we will have our own corn the first week in July.The strawberries are ours. They weren’t exactly a bumper crop but are very sweet. It was a tricky year. When you’re a farmer you can’t control the weather.” The strawberries were exquisite, by the way - petite, vividly red and intensely flavored!
Cheyenne Borkowski slices off a sample of stuffed bread from Maria’s Biscotti Maria Lange owner of Maria’s Biscotti said “Everyone has been very enthusiastic about the market coming together. It’s a nice local venue.” Maria’s breads, biscotti and pastries all showcase local ingredients. The “Branchville Sunrise” bread features local eggs and Mangalista pork, which is raised in Sussex County. Maria also sells fresh pasta - today’s varieties were egg and whole wheat fettuccine. She plans on bringing chilled summer soups such as gazpacho as the local produce ripens.
Bob Ricadela of Sparta Mountain Farms explaining showing Shelby Cole, 9, and her family of Hopatcong just how charming a chicken can be. The Hopatcong Farmer’s Market is held every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm through September in the Hopatcong Municipal Building parking lot at 111 River Styx Road in Hopatcong. If you are interested in participating, contact Mike Francis. We look forward to seeing you and your neighbors. Don't forget your canvas shopping bag! Joy and Eli Galicki of Hopatcong with Maria Weingard from Everything Homemade.
Richard and Frances Vasquez with Bob Rehe of Hopatcong.
Abigail and Jennifer Weidenbaum visiting dad, John Landers of Hopatcong with Cindy Brummer and Siera Simons
Bobbie Rehe sporting a classic farmer's market look.
Rohan Shetty, AJ Fasano and Bianca Petrosino of Sabretti's.