The Medford Lakes Farmers Market would have been in its third season if it had opened this year.
On March 28, the Medford Lakes Borough Council opted not to approve the location and time requested by the market committee, thus making the opening of the market unfeasible, said Leah Bruder, who is one of the market organizers.
According to township manager Julie Horner-Keizer, two of the five council members abstained: Jeff Fitzpatrick and Gary Miller.
“After lengthy discussion, the borough council made the decision to abstain and to budget against it,” said Bruder. “In a nutshell, we don’t believe the market’s going to go forward this year.”
The market committee wanted the farmers market to be held on Trading Post Way from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday nights rather than Saturday mornings — such as in prior years.
Bruder said toward the end of the season, she would notice a drop off in customer traffic when held on Saturday mornings. Residents have weekend conflicts at that time, she explained, from kids’ sports to wanting to spend the day down the shore.
“We thought that if we had it on Friday nights, it might reenergize the market,” she said, as well as be beneficial for the local businesses.
The goal was to have people buy their fruits and veggies and then enjoy the rest of their weekends, she said.
“Based on some of the concerns about traffic, the council members didn’t approve it,” she said.
While other days and times were considered, none proved viable for the goals of the market, she said.
As an all-volunteer effort since its origins in 2010, the market would be behind schedule if anyone tried to organize vendors now.
“There’s a lot of volunteer hours that go into it,” she said. “We’re disappointed.”
Discussion and displeasure have been shown on the market’s Facebook page after the announcement on March 30, with many people hoping for an alternative.
As a response, the market wrote a statement and a 12-page position paper, found on their website, www.marketatthelakes.org.
According to the statement, “We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the residents of Medford Lakes and surrounding communities that attended the market, our participating vendors, those council members and the employees of Medford Lakes who supported our vision, and our many business sponsors.
“Lastly, we thank our volunteers for their dedication to this community event and the principles upon which it was based.”
To answer why another night was not chosen, the market wrote in its position paper: “Other weekday evenings, whether Monday through Thursday, will only raise additional concerns over parking. If business owners object to Friday nights because of parking concerns, when their businesses are about to close or are normally closed, hosting a market when they are regularly open will not solve anything.”
The organizers suggested visiting other nearby farmers markets while the state of the market is in question.
“We might consider trying to reinvigorate it next year,” said Bruder.
Some Nearby Farmers Markets
The following information was gleaned from www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov. More information about each market can be found on that website.
Three locations: Church and Earyestown Road, Medford; Route 70, Southampton; Tuckerton Road, Marlton
299 Flyatt Road, Tabernacle
Route 206 & Fork Neck Road, Indian Mills
Mill Creek Organic Farm
105-A Eayrestown Road, Medford
Russo’s Fruit & Vegetable Farm
529 Medford Lakes Road, Tabernacle