Jefferson Farmers Market Move to Firemen’s Field Offers More Space, More Parking, More Potential

Editor’s note: This story was published exclusively in The Jefferson Chronicle DIGEST magazine prior to being made available online. To receive the DIGEST magazine when it is released digitally, subscribe free.

The first Sunday of the Jefferson Farmers Market at its new location was busy. “It’s very airy,” said market manager Tom Galfo about the location in the parking lot of Firemen’s Field off Route 15. The original location, in the municipal building parking lot, had less parking and a narrower footprint, he pointed out.

Not everything is new this year. Returning vendors include The Feisty Pepper (Galfo’s business), Sparta Mountain Farm, and Jersey Pickles, which usually had a long line of customers. Also returning was local musician Jeiris Cook on the guitar. Galfo said there will be entertainment every week, with acts rotating from week to week.

The owners of Sparta Mountain Farm stand behind their products available for sale at the Jefferson Township Farmers Market. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)
Attendees shopping the Jersey Pickles stand at the Jefferson Township Farmers Market. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)
A few of the product offerings at the Jersey Pickles stand at the Jefferson Township Farmers Market. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)

The market is totally dog friendly, Galfo noted, and among the new vendors was Mojo Dog Treats, which attracted a number of human customers with their canine friends. Jersey Girl Cheese of Branchville offered free samples of freshly made mozzarella and aged Italian-style cheeses. GrowingDirt from Great Meadows sold its pasture-raised meat.

Cheese samples on display at the Jersey Girl Cheese stand at the Jefferson Township Farmers Market. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)
A sign outlining the many offerings at the GrowingDirt stand at the Jefferson Township Farmers Market. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)

The original vendors also introduced new products. In addition to its jams and jellies, Sparta Mountain Farm sold a new line of hot sauces. Galfo handed out samples of “cotton-candy-flavored” grapes, which are not local but were popular among the youngest visitors.

Township recreation director Grace Rhinesmith had a table for the Mayors Wellness Campaign. Most weeks will see representatives of the campaign at the market, she said. Among the local initiatives promoted was a wellness program that is going national, Park Rx America, a community health initiative that started in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Rhinesmith said that doctors can write prescriptions for activities in parks, and park managers can enter their locations in an app to enable people to easily find them and the activities suggested by doctors. According to Rhinesmith, these outdoor activities are very helpful for people with mental illness and anger management issues. Her daughter, Amanda, who is entering Jefferson’s parks in the app, said that Morristown has already done so and other municipalities, as well as the county, are in the process.

Galfo stationed himself as a representative not only of the market, but also of buying local in general. He pointed out that although purchasing from local farmers may be more expensive than buying at supermarkets, it has many advantages. One is that fruits and vegetables are fresher. In addition, keeping land in farming is good for the entire community, as is teaching children where their food comes from.

The Farmers Market is located at 750 Route 15 South, behind Bank of America at the intersection with Bowling Green Parkway. It is open every Sunday from 10:00-2:00 through October, rain or shine. For more information, contact Tom Galfo at TheFeistypepper@gmail.com or 973-919-5657.

Kevin L. Pattky, Jr., founder, president, and editor-in-chief of The Jefferson Chronicle, stands at the ready, distributing the latest DIGEST magazine to attendees of the Jefferson Township Farmers Market. (Photo: Carene Kratzel)

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