HOWELL – Bakers extraordinaire added some enticing aromas as the Howell Farmer’s Market Association celebrated its inaugural relocation to Echo Lake Park and Pavilion.
Everyone turned out winners in the association’s first pie baking contest as five judges dug into slices of mince, apple and pumpkin pies. No one seemed the least bit worried about the prospect of indulging in juicy calories as they savored morsels of traditional holiday delights.
Three of the featured judges came from Howell Township’s governing body. Mayor Theresa Berger (D), Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond (R), and Councilwoman Suzanne Brennan (R) don’t often come to easy agreement. However, the Harvest Market’s first pie baking contest resulted in unanimous results.
Joan Osborne, who serves as president of the Howell’s Farmer’s Market Association, doled out the slices to each of the judges. Onlookers gathered at the forefront with hopes they’d have an opportunity to conduct their own taste tests.
After sampling each of the pies, the three members of the governing body huddled together with the other two judges. Public Works Director Paul Noviello and locally renowned pie connoisseur Brian Wooley all agreed with the others on selecting the final blue-ribbon winner.
Samantha Fleming submitted the first-place apple pie entry.
“This one (Fleming’s entry) was definitely number one,” announced Berger. “We liked that it wasn’t too sweet, and it still had a touch of warmth. All of the pies had different qualities that the others didn’t have, making it difficult to settle on a choice.”
After securing permission from all of the participants, the remainder of the pies were divvied up among community members eager to check if the judges made accurate assessments.
The mid-November pie baking contest represented just one feature of the Howell Farmer’s Market Association’s Harvest Market move to its new home at Echo Lake Park. For the past three years, the group sponsored events at Howell Township’s Municipal Building.
“The move to Echo Lake is a great opportunity to grow the market and provide more amenities to the vendors and the customers who visit the Market on Sundays from May to October,” Osborne said. “Echo Lake Park has a nicer esthetic for a farmer’s market than the current highway location and offers shade trees, picnic tables, playground equipment, the lake, bathrooms and an indoor pavilion for inclement weather.”
Of the 36 vendors who participated in the Harvest Market, none offered fresh produce as the season was over. However, an assortment of vendors presented food and drink – with one even targeting furry friends with special treats.
Handmade craft items from scented candles, to knitted scarfs, jewelry, and toiletry items were among the products offered for sale. Bag ladies had their choice of adding to their collections and assorted arts and other gifts were all featured at the market.
Musicians added to the ambiance of the occasion, which drew in hundreds despite the threat of stormy weather.
A Holiday Market is planned for the same location on December 13 from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. Township officials plan to conduct a Tree Lighting and Menorah Lighting when the market time ends. A band will play throughout the day.
Residents and guests can learn more about the upcoming event by visiting the Association’s Facebook page found at facebook.com/HowellNJFarmersMarket.