Montgomery-Area Farmers’ Markets
By Lea Florentine | Posted May 25, 2023
The Montgomery Farmers’ Market opens Saturday June 3. It will return to the center aisle of the Village Walk parking lot (on Route 206 near Mooyah) from 9 am until noon.
Opening Day will include entertainment by the Blawenburg Band from 10:30 am until noon. Montgomery Friends of Open Space (MFOS) Market Manager Lorette Pruden notes, “We have 15 local growers and vendors; carefully vetted, curated, and balanced for a full shopping experience.”
Market Manager Lorette Pruden
One of those new to the market is Peterson Farms of Flemington. Since 1955, when John and Esther Peterson began their dairy farm, four generations of the Peterson family have lived and worked on the farm. After John’s death, Esther preserved the farm from development. Her son John and grandson Matthew switched to hay, later adding corn, soy beans, and wheat.
Great-grandson Jake says, “To build on our pick-your-own customer base, my grandparents and parents planted strawberries and Christmas trees 25 years ago to help pay for college for me and my siblings.”
Jake and Emma Peterson
Recalling his childhood growing up on the farm, Jake says, “I’ve been working on the farm since I was a little kid. My summers were spent bailing hay with my dad and grandfather, and riding on the hay wagon and tractor. Ever since I was young, that was the only thing I’ve ever pictured myself doing. I’ve always enjoyed it.”
Jake says the farm is “a whole family effort.” “My grandfather retired last year, but he still helps out. Other family members and friends help out too,” he says. “This is my first year full time on the farm.”
The Petersons use beneficial insects, so they use less chemicals. “It’s hard to be organic,” Jake says. “There is too much disease pressure, especially with fruit trees. Peaches are susceptible to bacterial spot and brown rot, which we’re constantly fighting.”
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Jake studied agriculture at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pa and later worked at the Rutgers University’s Snyder Research Farm. Three years ago, he joined his father in planting apple and peach trees. His family will sell their first crop from those peach trees this year.
New Jersey is the third largest producer of peaches in the country, with 80 farmers currently growing them. Yet the number of farmers and acres devoted to peaches in NJ has decreased dramatically in recent years.
According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, 14,000 acres of peaches were harvested in the state in 1982; 4,100 acres in 2018; and just 3,600 acres in 2021.
The high value of land in New Jersey often pushes farmers to quit the long hours and hard work and sell their land to developers for housing, retail space, and warehouses.
According to Rutgers University and the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station, the average age of farmers in the Garden State is nearing 60, when retirement is approaching. In addition, frosts, which can damage or even wipe out fruit when it is first developing, have been occurring later in the spring due to climate change. Jake adds, “Last year, I lost a few of my peaches to a late frost.”
This is the first year Peterson Farms will be selling their produce at farmers’ markets. “We also started selling community supported agriculture (CSA) shares,” Jake says. “We’re excited. We’re trying to diversify; we might look into cherries, pears, and plums.”
Peterson Farms will be offering strawberries in June, sweet corn in July, and apples and pumpkins in September. They will also be offering their sweet peaches and a variety of vegetables this summer.
Vendors New to the Montgomery Market
New vendors will include:
• Backer Farms, with pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, and chicken cuts and sausages from their Mendham farm.
• Andrea DeRiancho, Jardineira Flowers of East Amwell with cut flowers.
• Boas Park, Elm Park Roastery with coffee and beans.
• Mari-Liis Heinmae of Pickle Culture, also selling olives.
• Ed Zimmerman, Princeton Café with sweet breads, cookies, and breakfast burritos.
• Jarad Roper, Roper’s Way Farm Jams of Rocky Hill.
• Kayla Reed, Soupeteer of Flemington, with ready to eat and frozen soups.
The Granola Bar-Princeton is a returning vendor.
Vendors and farmers returning to the market include
• Jimena & Mikl Hajek, Catalina Empanadas of Hopewell
• Christopher Deibert selling Christopher Soaps (vegan-
based, made from NJ grown oils)
• Advah Zinder of the Granola Bar of Princeton, selling handmade bars and loose granola (some organic);
• Caroline and Bob Phinney of Montgomery’s Orchard Farm Organics, with organic eggs, herbs and herbal products, organic produce, flowers, and shelf-stable and frozen jams, sauces, soups, and pesto;
• Reema Gupta of Tript Foods of Princeton, selling Northern Indian style sauces and foods
• George Zell of Zell’s Farm in Hillsborough, offering pastured chicken and duck eggs, mushrooms and Asian vegetables.
• Rashmi Gupta will be selling Ray Candles (On market days that are not too hot).
About the Montgomery Market
Market Manager Pruden says, “Our market team is busy planning additional educational and musical events and children’s activities to make every week at the market a new adventure.”
The Montgomery Farmers’ Market will be held Saturday mornings from June 3 through October 28 at the Village Walk, 1378 Route 206 in Skillman.
The Montgomery Friends of Open Space is a nonprofit, volunteer organization formed 20 years ago. Their goals are to preserve open land in Montgomery Township; to act as stewards for properties already preserved; and to support local agriculture through their farmers’ market. Visit montgomeryfriends.org to view vendors, to become a sponsor, or to volunteer.
Regional Farmer’s Markets
Fairgrown Farm hosts the Hopewell Farmers' Market.
Hopewell Farmers’ Market:
Sundays, 9 am to 1 pm, now through November 19 at 62 East Broad Street.
Vendors: Beechtree Farm, pasture raised beef, lamb, pork and eggs; Bread & Culture sourdough bread and pastries; Catalina Empanadas; Fairgrown Farm; Lee’s Honeybees of Rocky Hill; One Up One Down Coffee (every other week); Queen Mab’s Herbs; Sprouts Flowers; and Zell’s Farm.
Princeton Farmers’ Market:
Thursdays, 10 am to 2 pm, May 25 through November 16, 172 Alexander Street.
Vendors: Barking Good Bakery; Burek Mediterranean and Italian specialties by Zeni; Catalina Empanadas; Cherry Grove Farm artisan cheese; Chickadee Creek Farm organic vegetables; Cookie Maven; Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms; The Granola Bar; Lima Family Farms grass-fed beef, pastured pork and poultry, and vegetables; Little Star Middle Eastern Foods; Lost Bread Company; Mediterranean Delicacies; Picklelicious; OM Champagne Tea; and Pies and Quiche. Also: Queen Mab’s Herbs; The Shepherd’s Pasture wool, cashmere, and goat milk soap; The Soupeteer; Terhune Orchards; and Tript Foods, Whimsy Design.
Montgomery Farm Stands and Shops
Montgomery-grown produce and meats are also available at these farms:
• Bridgepoint Run Farm:
Regeneratively produced vegetables (especially sweet corn), melons, and grass-fed and finished beef, Bridgepoint and Dead Tree Run Roads, Belle Mead.
• John H. Drake Farm:
Produce, eggs, and flowers, 889 Route 518, Skillman.
• Pariso Farm: Vegetables, berries, fruits, and flowers, 404 Skillman Road, Skillman.
• Simply Grazin’: 100% grass-fed organic beef and pasture raised chicken, turkey, and pork (including bacon, ham, and sausage). Skillman Market and Butcher Shop, 1932 Route 206, Skillman. Open Wednesday 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday 10 am to 4 pm; and Sunday 9:30 am to 3 pm. Skillmanfarmmarket.com. ■