Spring is here and with it comes the start of one of Burlington County’s most popular attractions: The Burlington County Farmers Market.
The weekly market kicks off its 17th season this Saturday, May 13, at the Burlington County Agricultural Center. From 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., shoppers will find an assortment of farm-fresh produce, flowers, plants, foods and handcrafted goods from across Burlington County, plus cooking classes, garden displays and live entertainment.
Subsequent markets will be held the same hours every Saturday rain or shine through November 11. Two special holiday markets will also be held Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.
Last year featured close to record-setting attendance at the county market and it was once again voted among the 10 most popular farmers markets in New Jersey by the American Farmland Trust.
Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson said the county is expecting more of the same in 2023.
“The Burlington County Farmers Market has become one of the most popular farmers markets in the state and it continues to grow and attract new farms, food vendors and crafters from across the county,” Hopson said. “It’s a great attraction for our residents and an important resource for our farmers and small business vendors who use the market to increase their sales and promote their goods. Opening Day is always exciting and promises to be one of the biggest events of the year at our agricultural center.”
More than three dozen farms and food vendors plus another 15 artists and crafters will be featured at this year’s opening day farmers market, including past participants like the 1885 Organic Farm, Pinelands Produce, Durr’s Blue Box, Mill Creek Apiary, The Soup Bar, HoopHouse Bakery, Fast Belly Bacon, East Coast Empanadas, Harvest Coffee and Peewee’s Ice Cream, and also new ones like Misty Meadow Sheep Dairy, a farm specializing sheep milk, cheeses and yogurts.
There will also be live music from JB Rocks and a 10 a.m. cooking demonstration in the agricultural center’s farmhouse kitchen. The Master Gardeners will also be present with an information table.
Craft beer and liquor sales are also returning to the market this season. Marlton-based Zed’s Beer, Cherry Hill-based Forgotten Boardwalk and Columbus-based Recklesstown Farm Distillery will be featured Saturday. Future markets will also feature Burlington City’s Third State Brewing and Armageddon, a Somerdale brewery specializing in hard ciders and meads.
The alcohol sales are permitted under a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy that allows the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control to issue special seasonal permits to New Jersey breweries, distilleries and wineries to sell their products at farm markets. Alcohol sales are for off-site consumption, though overage adults will be permitted to try a limited number of samples.
“Burlington County is proud of our agricultural heritage and our status as the county with the most acres of preserved farmland in the entire state,” said Burlington County Commissioner Allison Eckel, the liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks. “Our farmers market is another great resource for our farmers and small businesses, and we’re excited about the new season and all the outstanding farms, food vendors and artisan crafters that will be there on opening day.”
New farmers market directory
In addition to hosting a weekly farmers market at the agricultural center, the county has also created a new online directory listing more than two dozen farmers markets operating in the county.
The directory is located on the Burlington County website within the Business Resources Hub section. Each listing includes the market’s name, location and hours of operations, as well as links to their own websites. A printable brochure version of the directory is also on the website at https://co.burlington.nj.us/1981/Burlington-County-Farm-Markets.
“Agriculture is a major part of Burlington County’s history, culture and economy, and our board is committed to doing whatever we can to help keep it a viable industry for current and future generations,” said Eckel. “Creating this directory is another way we can support local farms and help them succeed and experience the same success as our county market. This directory is good for our county’s farms and for residents looking for convenient places to find delicious Jersey Fresh foods and products.”
Starting June 1st, the Burlington County Office on Aging will also offer vouchers for fresh produce at the county’s farmers market, as well as other participating markets for income-eligible senior citizens. For over a decade Burlington County has partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Department of Health to provide seniors with $30 vouchers. Voucher applications are available by calling (609) 265-5069.
Farms interested in adding a market to the county’s directory can email the Burlington County Commissioner’s Public Information Office at email@example.com.