echo "custom header code goes in here"; ?>
After a seven-month absence, the Denville Farmers’ Market opened for its second year on June 19, and not a moment too soon for loyal customers who eagerly awaited this day.
Wandering around the Bloomfield parking lot on a Sunday morning, checking out the various stalls with items ranging from farm fresh produce to pickles, bread to biscotti, and honey to homemade baby food has become a weekend ritual for many.
The market did open a week earlier than the starting date last year.
Market Manager Liisi Lascarro said, "Customers would love for the market to start already in May; however, we needed for the produce to ripen to provide the local produce that is the main purpose of the market. My farmers were confident to have produce a week earlier, so the date changed per farms’ readiness."
Along with the vendors that were there last year, Sweet-Niche, Anthony & Sons Bakery, Fontanarosa’s Gourmet Specialty Foods, Melick’s Town Farm, Union Hill Farm, PickleLicious, Nature’s EnerQi, and Starbrite Farm with its organic items, are newcomers such as Denville Seafood, Sugar Mommy Cupcakes, and Baby Bear baby food which will be there once a month as will an alpaca farm. Gooserock Farm, a Montville Township-based purveyor of honey will now be at the market every week.
Besides the variety of vendors, the farmers’ market offers a positive shopping experience. There is a community feel with many of the merchants from right here in Denville.
Lascarro said, "It is a great opportunity to promote their product. Sugar Mommy Cupcakes went as far as a custom-made cupcake van that she sells out of to keep her product cool."
Adding to the ambiance, Lascarro plans for more cooking demonstrations and music. Performing this day was Carolyn Messina and the following week, Denville’s Ben Wolkins was scheduled to perform jazz.
When looking for vendors to add to the market, Lascarro looks for fresh produce and artisan specialty foods.
She said, "At this point I am controlling the variety and making sure not to create unnecessary competition within the market. I am looking to have a nice variety of products where customers can consider farmers market ‘a one stop shopping place.’"
Visiting the market on the opening day was Betsey Adams of Parsippany. A regular at the market last year, she appreciates having a place to get local farm fresh produce. A newcomer to Morris County, it is also how she became acquainted with area merchants, such as Anthony & Sons, which is popular with quite a few of the market attendees.
Nicole Kallas of Denville, frequented the market last year and was pleased to watch as it got bigger with more vendors. On this day, she was happy with her purchases of "amazing" plantain chips from Grab Em Snacks and whole wheat French bread from Anthony & Sons.
"We will be here every Sunday. It is one of the big parts of our weekend. We load up on produce for the week. We try to support local farmers," said Kallas.
Lucille Talbot called the market a "great addition to town." The Denville resident enjoys seeing neighbors as she does her shopping. Today, Talbot was with her friend, Dorothy McCarthy, who said, "This is the perfect way to start Father’s Day."
The two were then off to check out the Denville Seafood stand.
There, Amy McEntee, whose father owns the restaurant/market, said, "I was a weekly visitor last year. I loved the concept, the community, the whole thing."
As for her first day as a vendor, she said, "So far, I am liking it, chit chatting with people, seeing regular customers from the store and people we know from town. I’m looking forward to walking around. It is the same feel on either side of the table."
Denville Seafood plans to sell sea scallops, shrimp, and clams each week along with whatever is fresh and available. Additionally, each week there will be a specialty item. On this day, it was shrimp, avocado, and mango salad.
Returning for her second year at the market, was Lisa Rossetto, owner of the Mountain Lakes-based Sweet-Niche.
"I couldn’t wait, it’s a lot of fun. I enjoyed myself last year," said Rossetto.
This year, her biscotti come in additional flavors, like Hoodoo Voodoo, a vanilla-based cake with peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate-covered potato chips, which Rossetto dubs, the "PMS Buster" because of its flavor blend of sweet and salty.
Situated in the stand next to Anthony & Sons, which sells her biscotti at its Luger Road location, Rossetto likens their relationship, which started last year at the farmers’ market, to a marriage.
"I have so much fun with them," she said.
In fact, Rossetto’s business started last June, with the market. The exposure has given her enterprise a boost. Besides Anthony and Sons, her biscotti is available at Sweet Expressions, helping her get through the winter months.
Looking out at the people taking in the market, Rossetto said, "Everybody is so nice. People come with their dogs. It’s so nice."
Each week, a different local non-profit organization is on hand to let people know about its particular cause. On opening day was the Joey Bella Memorial Fund, Inc.
Inside the brochure handed out by volunteer Dan Napolitano, information states, "Nonsectarian and nondenominational, the Fund offers a single outlet for the many civic and religious organizations in the Denville area to provide direct assistance to families in need. Operating from the guiding principle that every man, woman, and child is entitled to the best and most advanced medical treatment available, the fund provides financial assistance for necessary health care and related expenses."
Established in 1988 and named for a local young boy who died from acute lymphatic leukemia, the organization also helps with day-to-day living expenses, such as mortgage payments, taxes, and utility bills. It serves Denville, the Rockaways, Township of Boonton, Mountain Lakes, Mount Tabor, Rainbow Lakes, Morris Plains, and Randolph.
The Fund was not only making people aware of the help given, but also of a Band! Beer! BBQ! fundraiser to be held July 3 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Gardner Field, Route 46 and Savage Road, in Denville. There will be music by the Infernos Band, pulled pork, hot dogs, burgers, microbrews, and more. Price is $45. For more information visit www.joeybella.com or call 973-627-2663.
Making her rounds at the market, Lascarro was pleased with the opening day.
"We have a nice line-up of vendors and people are excited to see the new vendors. The alpacas, I felt like a kid around them," she said.
For her, being at the market is her job, but as she said, seeing familiar faces and the community feel, "it doesn’t feel like work."