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Late summer is the best time to visit the Hasbrouck Heights Farmers Market. The summers harvest is at its most abundant.
Farmers Markets are much more than a place to buy and sell produce. They have become an important community institution.
They are a venue for socializing, where residents meet farmers and their neighbors.
They have figured in the revitalization of our business district, bringing people to The Boulevard.
Who benefits from the Farmers Markets?
1. Small farm operators: those with less than $250,000 in annual receipts who work and manage their own operation meet this definition (94% of all farms).
2. Farmers and consumers: Farmers have direct access to markets to supplement farm income. Consumers have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce and the opportunity to personally interact with the farmer who grows the produce.
3. The Community: Farmers Markets also help to promote nutritional education, wholesome eating habits and better food preparation, as well as boosting the communitys economy.
This is seen in full action every Tuesday afternoon outside Corpus Christi Church, where for the last five years the Farmers Market continues to grow to the delight of our residents.
The farmers who participate in our Farmers Market come back year after year and its always a pleasure to talk to them. They bring a much needed service to many residents of Hasbrouck Heights, especially those who enjoy the walk to our downtown area.
George Asprocolas of Asprocolas Acres in Millstone Township has been farming for 13 years. George participates in nine markets.
George enjoys conversing with customers. "I have been dealing with the same people for many years and its nice to talk with them every week.
I find that Farmers Markets are strong because people want farm fresh produce and know that we pick our produce daily which is better than some supermarkets."
Georges produce is the gourmet variety, with different types of tomatoes, zucchini and, during the fall season, pumpkins and squash.
George also helps out fellow farmers from the Peplowski Fruit Farm, who supply all the seasonal fruits that George carries during the season.
George thanks residents for their concern and support of his oldest son, who used to work for him at the stands and now is training for the Marines in South Jersey.
"It means a lot to me and my family that so many people in town wish us well."
Another long time member of the market is the Von-Tuhns Country Market owned by Robert Von-Tuhns. Robert owns the 90 acre farm that is located in Dayton, New Jersey and is part of the fourth generation to run the farm that has been in the family for over a hundred years.
The Von-Tuhns also have an agreement with the Blossom Hill Farm to supply all sorts of seasonal fresh fruit to the stand.
The stand is being run by farm staff members Lynn Colantuono, a student at Rutgers who is majoring in Plant Science, and Jayme Van Liew, who recently graduated from South Brunswick High School and who will be attending college at Johnson & Wales.
When asked how they got started working on the farm and at the market, Lynn replied, "I got involved through school in a teaching agreement with the farm. Cindi Von-Thun (Roberts wife) is an agriculture teacher with Piscataway Vo-Tech and I work with her."
Jayme admitted, "I kind of fell into it while waiting to attend college." When asked about agriculture in the state, Lynn admitted it is getting tough to farm. "There are few farms left in New Jersey and its getting tougher for people to find fresh produce. We are seeing an increased demand for our produce."
"We enjoy working with the people in town." Lynn added that for many older people it brings back memories of when they were little and used to visit the farms that used to be all around North Jersey.
"Its so different from going to a supermarket and they know it is picked daily, plus we give a lot of customer service." Some of the items that are offered by Von-Thuns Farms are numerous types of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and zucchini.
The ladies invite residents to visit the farm. "We have our own farm stand, we have pick your own vegetables, and, in the Fall, we have hay rides. Its also great to help children to understand where food comes from."
Dr. Pickle has returned for another summer with our Farmers Market. Josh Nadel and his brother, Stephen, used to deliver their products in an ambulance, thus the name -- Dr. Pickle.
"We like our repeat business here and we even have customers ask us where they can get our products in the off season. Right now we are trying to develop a web-site for our products."
Some of the products for sale at the brothers stand are sour garlic and three sour garlic pickles, black and green olives and sweet red peppers.
"New products we introduced this year are pickled green olives, oil cured olives and a jardiniere mix of vegetables. We have seen an increase in demand since we started the company and have doubled our staff to accommodate the extra business," Josh said.
The business at the Farmers Market has been so good that the brothers will be expanding the business to introduce a concept called, "Spice is Right," a line of dry spices displayed in bins.
The brothers are trying to increase the business by offering items that customers might not find in a supermarket.
A new member of our market this summer is Hoboken Farms, which was founded in 1992 by Brad Finkle. His family has lived off and on in Hoboken since the late 1800s.
He started the company while he was in college when people kept asking him to bring products from Hoboken stores to their homes.
He started producing his own mozzarella cheese and became known as the "King of Mozzarella."
He said his growth has been attributed to selling quality products to people who want a little piece of Hoboken.
Hoboken Farms is being represented by market manager, Peggy Samuels, who says their items have been very popular since they opened the stand.
"People have reacted well to us since we came to Hasbrouck Heights," Peggy said. "A lot of people from Heights originally used to live in either Hoboken or Jersey City." Peggy said, "Working in the markets you get to meet so many people who have their own stories, especially the ones that used to live in the Hoboken area."
Many of the items sold by Hoboken Farms are names that are recognizable to many of our residents.
Many of the breads come from Maries Bakery in Hoboken, the pastries out of Balthazar Bakery in Englewood, homemade ravioli from Brunos Ravioli in Hackensack and meats and seafood from a vendor in Paterson, as well as their own fresh-produced cheese.
Some of the prepared items that are ready to cook are Lemon Chicken Breasts, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Stuffed with Broccoli & Cheese, Stuffed Salmon and Sole, and Peggy added, "the most delicious Crab Cakes you ever ate."
All of the members who participate in our Farmers Market encourage residents to come out each Tuesday for an array of fruits, vegetables and prepared foods where quality is excellent and could not be fresher.
George Asprocolas summed it up when he said, "We appreciate all the business that the residents give us.
It helps benefit small farmers who need the most support. The Farmers Market is strong for the town and we would like to see it continue to grow." ###
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