HOPATCONG – The Farmer’s Market began its season Sunday with just over 30 vendors set up in the parking lot of the municipal building. By noon, the market had close to 600 visitors pass through, said Councilwoman Marie Galate. This is the second year for the market in Hopatcong.
According to Galate there have been a few changes for the new season. There are new vendors this year, which has bumped up the overall number since last year. Some of the vendors will set up every Sunday while others she said will come every other week. A weekly list is posted on the Hopatcong Farmer’s Market Facebook page.
There will be a musical band playing while the market is open. The band, Stillwater Station was the opening day act.
And, there will be a raffle drawing each Sunday at 1:30 PM, with all the prizes being donated by the vendors. Participants must be present to win, said Galate.
The market expects to get between 200 and 700 visitors each Sunday, said Galate, in between greeting visitors and handing out canvas totes. They are hoping to continue their streak of rainless Sundays, she said.
“Last year we did not have rain on any of the Sundays we were open,” said Galate. “We had cloudy days but never any real hard rain. We’re hoping to continue that streak this year.”
The market offers a variety of vendors from fresh produce, dairy and meat, all farmed locally, to baked goods to brick-oven pizza and even a chance to visit with Alpacas from Hidden Pastures Farm.
Four of the vendors did not have to travel far to sell their wares. Struble Gardens, selling cut flowers, annuals and hanging baskets, Lakeside Maple, selling their own jarred granola, Lola’s Natural Alternatives, selling natural body care products and All Things Good, selling organic body care products, are all Hopatcong-based businesses.
“Business is getting better,” said All Things Good owner Jennifer Goldenberg, a self-taught herbalist. “There is a lot of overall competition but not here at the market,” said the 35-year-old who develops all her own products including the very popular face cream, bug repellent and lip balm.
“My face cream is a big seller,” she said. “I’m working on an anti-aging product but its in early development right now,” she added. Goldenberg’s products are also on sale at shops in Denville, Chester and Newton, and at Genesis Farm in Blairstown.
Hopatcong residents Dave and Kelly Beach and their two children, one-year-old Emily, and six-year-old Caitlin, visited the market mid-morning.
“We came here a few times last year,” said Dave. “What we like the most is the fresh local foods. The prices are a little higher but we can accept that,” he said as they strolled from one vendor to another with pickles, cherries and garlic pesto already in their bag.
"Look, halfway through and we're already $30-$35 in to it," he said smiling.