The Marlton Greene Shopping Center was even more “green” than normal this week, with offerings of green beans, green globe squash, green leaf cabbage and more during the grand opening of the newly revived Marlton Farmers Market.
Located at the intersection of Route 73 and Main Street, the semimonthly market (every second and fourth Wednesday through Sept. 25) is the latest attempt by the township council and a group of interested citizens to establish a permanent and sustainable farmers market for the township.
As described on the township’s website, the market is designed to “provide local farmers with a way to connect directly with their customers.”
The market also aims to support the health of the general public by “making fresh local fruits and vegetables readily available” for the residents from Evesham Township and its surrounding communities.
In addition to the green goods listed above, the opening day’s market featured tomatoes, broccoli, beets, sugar snap peas, and more.
In addition to produce, the market also offered its customers locally produced beef jerky, fresh honey, fresh eggs and other locally sourced products.
This newly revived market is the culmination of months of work and planning by an ad hoc committee that Evesham Township Council established in March.
In planning this new market, the committee has had to learn from the mistakes of previous attempts to establish a sustained, long-term market in the township.
Previous attempts at farmers markets in recent years have included a market that opened in 2013 for a few years at Troth Road and Route 70, as well as an attempt to launch another market two years ago that never materialized.
Officials have placed this new market in the corner of the Marlton Greene Shopping Center, well within walking distance of Main Street and North Maple Avenue.
And with the market running from 4 to 8 p.m., officials hope the heavy traffic of those traveling home from work along Route 73 will also boost attendance.
Ginamarie Cordero, chair of the market’s organizing committee, hopes the market will only continue to grow as the summer season comes into full swing and more growers have their products ready for harvest.
“More and more vendors will join us, and hopefully we can promote more walkability down on Main Street,” Cordero said. “Hopefully we can also promote the market as a community event that everyone can come to every two weeks and meet up.”
The township’s website also describes a desire for the market to serve as a civic amenity to reinforce a sense of community in Evesham Township.
To that end, the opening market also featured tables from the Marlton Garden Club and the Center for the Arts in Southern New Jersey, as well as kids-fun area run by the Marlton Girl Talk peer mentoring group.
Students from Cherokee High School were also on hand to provide lively jazz and swing music for patrons as they wandered the event.
Mayor Jaclyn Veasy, also in attendance at the event, said she and council were glad to support the market’s committee in getting the market up and running for the season.
“We hope the community will come out and join us and just be together,” Veasy said. “We’re looking forward to the rest of the summer when we get to see more vendors and people out and about.”
Patricia Hansen, who also serves at council, echoed the mayor’s sentiments as she was on hand at the market to greet attendees.
“It’s very important in this time when everybody is head-to-head with each other that we’re all bringing the community together,” Hansen said. “Plus, having fresh vegetables and fruit is great for people.”
Looking to the future, Councilman Ken D’Andrea, who also stopped by the market when it opened, said he hoped everyone involved with the market could sustain the same enthusiasm they had on opening day in order to give the market the momentum it needs to move forward and succeed.
“Let’s sustain this in a way that brings the town together even more,” D’Andrea said.
The Marlton Farmers Market will operate on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, with future markets scheduled as follows: June 26, July 10, July 24, Aug. 14, Aug. 28, Sept. 11 and Sept. 25.
All markets will run at the Marlton Greene Shopping Center on the corner of Main Street and Route 73 from the hours of 4 to 8 p.m.
Those interested in joining the market or with other questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org.