New Jersey officials, including Gov. Chris Christie, are encouraging residents to take part in Farmers Market Week, beginning yesterday and continuing through August 11.
The Scotch Plains Farm Market, which runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the municipal parking lot until November 3, features a variety of Jersey fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh fish from the New Jersey shore, handmade food products, baked goods, and assorted flowers and plants.
“You can’t get more local than visiting a New Jersey farmers market, where you can find a vast variety of just-picked fruits, vegetables and herbs and many other agricultural products from our state’s farmers,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.
Fisher and Patricia Dombroski, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, kicked off 2012 Farmers Market Week on Thursday, August 2. The 2012 dates were proclaimed in New Jersey by Christie and nationally by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.
In addition to encouraging residents to shop local, the United States Department of Agriculture sponsors programs that allot $20 in checks to qualifying individuals in need. Checks, which are valid through November 30, are distributed through the Women, Infants and Children program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, administered by the State Department of Health and Senior Services.
“The USDA will provide over $2 million in funding this year for New Jersey funding that improves the diets of seniors and low-income families by bringing the bounty from New Jersey farms into more kitchens and onto more tables,” said Dombroski.
“This is truly a win-win for everyone,” she continued. “Shoppers benefit from more locally grown produce in their diets, and farmers benefit from having additional customers close to home.”
Many vendors at the Scotch Plains Farm Market accept WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers.
New this year, the USDA teamed with the state Department of Transportation to create a list of public transportation options for visitors to New Jersey Farmers Markets. That list can be found at www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/transportationoptionsNJFarmersMarkets.pdf.