The Burlington County Commissioners are inviting residents from across the county and beyond to participate in what has become a popular spring rite of passage: Opening Day of the Burlington County Farmers’ Market.
Last year was the most successful season in the market’s history with a record-high average of nearly 1,200 vehicles each Saturday during the regular season and more than 2,000 vehicles during the two special holiday markets in November and December.
This year marks the sixteenth season, which is poised to be the biggest yet. Several new farms and vendors have joined the Farmers’ Market and an entire slate of live music and cooking classes are scheduled.
The market is held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday in May through October at the Burlington County Agricultural Center on Centerton Road in Moorestown.
“Live music, delicious food, handcrafted goods, cooking classes and the best Jersey fresh farm produce around can be found each Saturday at our Burlington County Farmers Market,” said Commissioner Allison Eckel, the Board’s liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation. “Our county market is now one of the most popular in the state, and it continues to grow each year. We’re thrilled by the market’s success and the weekly boost it provides to our local farmers and small business owners, and we’re looking forward to another record-breaking season this year.”
More than 20 farms, two dozen food vendors and 14 artists and crafters will be featured at this year’s Opening Day farmers market, including past participants like the 1895 Organic Farm, Pinelands Produce, Durr’s Blue Box, the Soup Bar and Hoop House Bakery, and newcomers, such as the Black Sheep Farm, Sparrow Lake Farm and Truly Seasoned, a new food vendor.
Opening Day will also feature the West Jersey Rose Society selling roses and additional farms selling fresh cut flowers, hanging baskets, starter vegetable and herb plants, plus local artists and crafters with handcrafted designs and artwork for sale — the perfect Mother’s Day gifts.
There will also be a live performance by Opus Soul and a cooking demonstration in the Agricultural Center’s farmhouse kitchen.
“The farmers market is a great place for residents of all ages to come for a fun day outdoors at our beautiful Agricultural Center. It’s not to be missed,” Eckel said.
Craft beer and liquor sales are also back after debuting last season. Marlton-based Zed’s Beer and Columbus-based Recklesstown Farm Distillery will be a part of Opening Day, and Burlington City’s Third State Brewery and Cherry Hill’s Forgotten Boardwalk Brewery will also be featured throughout the season.
The alcohol sales are permitted under a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last year which allowed the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control to issue special seasonal permits to New Jersey breweries, distilleries or wineries to sell their products at farm markets. Alcohol sales will be for off-site consumption, though overage adults will be permitted to try a limited number of samples.
“Zed’s Beer is a beloved local business in Evesham, and we think it’s wonderful that they and other small businesses are able to gain additional sales and exposure during the County’s Farmers Market,” said Evesham Deputy Mayor Heather Cooper. “It’s support like this that makes Burlington County such a great place to live and operate a business.”
The center also features community gardens and demonstration gardens, field plots maintained by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and a commercial kitchen.
“Burlington County’s support for farming and agriculture is well-known. We are the home to New Jersey’s first preserved farm, and we have more acres of farmland preserved than any county in New Jersey,” said Eckel. “The Agricultural Center is another example of our board’s commitment to ensuring agriculture remains an active and vibrant industry. Doing so not only helps our county’s farmers; it also maintains the high quality of life all our residents enjoy.”