BRICK – Hannah Infantolino came to the re-opening of the Brick Farmers’ Market at Windward Beach Park early on Saturday, and was sorting through vegetables at one of the five produce stands who have signed on as vendors there.
“I come every week for all the fresh food, like vegetables, bread, coffee, pierogies – it’s all fresh and wonderful here,” said Infantolino, who lives in Cedarcroft.
“They say you should eat less, and eat well, and try to stay away from processed food. The produce here has no pesticides, no GMOs, and it’s healthier for you – you know it’s local and not coming from another country,” she said.
Recreation Department coordinator Christine Hessenkemper said that a total of 41 vendors have signed up for the Brick Farmers’ Market this year, with 27 selling their goods on the first day. More vendors come to the market as fruits and vegetables are in season.
Some vendors are sharing a spot and take turns, but most have returned from last year, she said. In addition to produce and plants, the Farmers’ Market features a wide variety of goods, from pickles to homemade soaps, baked goods, kettle corn, candles and much more. There are even food trucks on site if you want to stay for lunch.
Some new vendors include sellers of fresh seafood, gourmet nuts, nut butter, and others, Hessenkemper said.
Brick residents pay $20 for a 10-by-10-foot space, while non-residents pay $40. Some vendors rent two or three adjacent spaces, she said.
Over 830 people came to the Farmers’ Market in the first two hours on the opening day, Hessenkemper said. Volunteers from the Brick Recreation Youth Club took attendance, helped people load their cars, and manned the tables at the entrance to the market, which would count towards their community service hours.
Wagons are now available for the first time for anyone who needs them, Hessenkemper said.
Returning for the fifth year, Todd Marchetti’s Colony Market has become a staple at the Farmers’ Market, and he always rents two spaces for his business that began in 1903 when his great-grandfather began selling produce in Brick. His son (Todd’s grandfather) eventually took over the business, which would become Colony Market on Mantoloking Road.
The business passed down to Aldo Marchetti (who is now 75 and in failing health), who went into partnership with his son Todd in 1995, who has turned Colony Market into a “mobile storefront.” Colony Market makes the rounds at five farmers’ markets, Marchetti said.
“I should have brought three times as much product,” he said on Saturday morning. “I get all my produce from a local 200-acre farm in Howell, and if they don’t have what I want, I go to the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market where we have been members for over a century.”
Herbertsville resident Gina Bonomo said that Saturday was her first visit to the Brick Farmers’ Market.
“The prices are very good, I’m surprised at how many vendors are here, and at the variety,” she said.
Bonomo bought artichokes and elderberry juice, which she’d heard was a supervitamin.
The Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., rain or shine, through Sept. 21.