Vendors this year include new and returning businesses, including the Empanada Lady, Gourmet Fruits and Nuts, Lizzmonade, Just Delicious Kettlecorn, Dr. Pickle, Paolo’s Kitchen, High Mountain Foods, and Ort Farms, which sells produce, meat, and community sponsored agriculture (CSA) shares.
On a sunnyTuesday afternoon, Bayonne residents were perusing produce under the Ort Farms tent. “I like to get the fresh vegetables directly from the farm,” said Debbie V. “It’s wonderful that Bayonne finally has a farmers market.”
“I’m here seeing what produce they have,” said Amy Figueroa, who recently moved to Bayonne and was visiting the farmers market for the first time. “They have great variety here.”
Jillian Kressly, who runs Paolo’s Kitchen with her husband, sells precooked foods sourced from local farms. Her business is up and running at 14 markets throughout the region after taking a couple of years off.
“It’s very important to us to use local products and support local farmers,” said Kressly. “If you’re buying local and shopping local, you’re getting it as fresh as possible.”
“If you’re buying local and shopping local, you’re getting it as fresh as possible.” – Jillian Kressly
The produce stand at the market is run by the Long Valley-based Ort Farms. Produce from local farms is typically more expensive than produce sold at large grocery store chains but are often more nutritious. Small farms like Ort Farms minimize the use of pesticides and practice more sustainable soil techniques that do not overburden land with manure. Because it’s local and does not need to transport produce long distances, the farm can harvest produce when it is ready to be eaten. Industrial farms, on the other hand, harvest food before it has reached its maximum nutritional value.
“Everything here is fresh, in-season, and I know where it’s coming from,” said Susan Kaufman, who works at Ort Farms during the growing season when she’s not working at Shop Rite. “I enjoy coming to work. I learned what’s in season and where the produce is coming from. Farmers markets treat their workers great, and they treat people nice.”
Community supported agriculture
One of the best ways to buy local produce is to order a community supported agriculture (CSA) share, which is offered by Ort Farms. Unlike other CSAs that have only one bundled option of harvested food, Ort Farms gives customers a little more freedom in choosing what produce they get.They can even add milk and cheese. With the purchase of a CSA share, customers get 10 percent off at the farmers market.
Ort Farms offers three sizes that take the customer through the entire growing season, which ends around October. The personal share costs $350 and is best for one or two people. The half share costs $500 and is best for families of 2-4. The full share costs $800 and is meant for families of more than four. Unlike other CSA shares, Ort customers can pay over time instead of paying one upfront fee.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s official cost of food estimates, a “liberal” monthly estimate for a single man eating at home is around $350. For a family of four: $1,300.CSA shares could theoretically replace much of the produce purchased at the grocery store, leaving meat and other items not grown locally to be purchased elsewhere.
More information and CSA applications can be found on the Bayonne Farmers’ Market Facebook page or at www.ortfarms.com. The link to the Farmers’ Market Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/BayonneFarmersMarket/. If you have any questions about the farmers’ market program, call the Bayonne Urban Enterprise Zone at (201) 858-6357.
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.