Bordentown City farmers market celebrates agriculture

BORDENTOWN CITY — Better known for its turnpike and rocker Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey still has a healthy farming community.

That fact was brought home Wednesday afternoon when state Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials toured the city’s farmers market at the Carslake Community Center on Crosswicks Street off Route 206.

“The department encourages New Jersey residents to support community farmers markets and our state’s agriculture industry,” Fisher said. “Farmers markets such as the Bordentown City market not only provide access to the freshest New Jersey produce, but act as a neighborhood gathering place. ... We are now absolutely in the full swing of the season. ... Our peaches, tomatoes are fabulous.”

In addition to Fisher, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, attended the event.

“It’s a great thing when you can get locally sourced fruits and vegetables,” Singleton said. “Being the Garden State, agriculture is the key.”

The city’s site is one of 148 community farmers markets in the state, with eight of them new this season, agriculture officials said. They did not have a list of the new locations, but none was in Burlington County.

Fisher was joined at the market by James Harmon, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and Paul Hlubik, state director of the federal Farm Service Agency and a local farmer.

It was all part of Farmers Market Week in New Jersey that runs until Saturday. Fisher, a former Cumberland County freeholder, wanted to call attention to National and State Farmers Market Week and to encourage residents to support the markets and the state’s agriculture industry.

“The beauty of buying locally from community farmers markets is that not only are you guaranteed some of the Garden State’s freshest, healthiest food at a convenient location and at a competitive price, you also are contributing to the local economy,” Hlubik said.

Hlubik should know. An active member of the Burlington County farming community, the North Hanover farmer is a graduate of the University of Delaware, with a degree in agriculture business management, with a focus on agriculture policy. He is also the founder, owner and operator of Backacres Farms, which grows hay and grain across three counties.

Customers on Wednesday agreed that the city market offered great quality.

Penny Zeis, a Mansfield resident and previous visitor, praised the quality of the produce.

“The fruits and vegetables are wonderful,” Zeis said. “Hlubik’s farm has the best corn. All of this is good.”

The Bordentown City farmers market is open from 3 p.m. to dusk on Wednesdays through Sept. 24. It was started by community members and features 12 to 14 vendors that sell such items as baked goods, eggs, local cheese and handcrafted soaps. Also, two local arts and crafts studios offer children’s activities.

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