SPARTA, NJ – The Winter Farmers’ Market at Sparta kicked off its first day with a steady crowd, as it marked its first day on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Sparta Middle School.
The market, which is produced by the Foodshed Alliance, a non-profit group that promotes sustainable and local farming, unites vendors from both the popular Sparta and Blairstown Markets, said Kendrya Close, the group’s director.
The market had been situated in previous years in the SpringBoard Shoppes in Newton.
“It’s been a nice day,” said Close, who noted the market was held outside the first day because of the sunnier weather.
Beginning next week the market will be held within the school.
“The school has a lot of space,” Close said.
In the following weeks through the remainder of the winter market, which concludes in April (it will run most Saturdays through April, and will be closed on the weekends when the school system is closed for holidays), the Winter Farmers’ Market will be indoors. Close said there would be different musicians weekly, and as the market heads indoors, the amount of craft vendors will increase. She also said that volunteers could assist shoppers to carry items from the school to their vehicles.
Close said the idea of the market at this location was embraced quickly, and especially by the Sparta Farmers’ Market crowd, which has an excellent following, including close to 3,700 Facebook Fans. Within the week of creating the Facebook Page for the market, the effort already garnered more than 1,000 likes.
Close suggested that attendees view the market’s website for the complete listing of vendors, and that not all of the vendors participating in the market, were there today.
Vendors today included: Apple Ridge Farm & Stone Oven Bakery, Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse, Churutabis Farm, DiningWild LLC, Glenmalure Farm, Hummus Boss, Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce, Kimball’s Farm & U-Pick, Kittatinny Mountain Farm, Lakeside Maple, Lazy Susan Granola, LL Pittenger Farm, Maria’s Gourmet Edibles, Mo’Pweeze Bakery, Nicola’s Pasta Fresca, Paolo’s Kitchen, Pickle Licious, Race Farm, Rimi Pottery, Silver Birch Kitchens, Tate’s Cakes, The Farmhouse Kitchen, Top of the Mountain Honey Bee Farm, and Valley View Farm.
Some of the many offerings were: baked goods, soaps, fresh cheeses, raw honey, exotic mushrooms, an array of apples, kale, wild greens, spinach, baby roasting beets, Swiss Chard, pastas, meats, hot sauces, hummus, and prepared meals.
One of the new offerings at the market was at the Hummus Boss’ booth, where James Matar introduced a new recipe, his Pumpkin Hummus, infused with pumpkin, squash, and cayenne. Avocado Salad, Tabouli, and a Pepper Ganouj with fresh red bell peppers and cayenne, were other favorites. Baklava, a sweet pastry, was also a treat at the Hummus Boss booth.
Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce, which was first unveiled at last year’s Newton Winter Farmers’ Market, was the brainchild of friends John Sauchelli and Austin D’Almeida. D’Almeida offered samples at the booth today of the Original Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce, and another variety, Black Garlic Hot Sauce.
“No other company has a black garlic hot sauce on the market,” D’Almeida explained to those who visited the Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce booth.
Black Garlic has been picking up popularity in the United States, and is known for a less spicy and pungent taste than standard garlic, and some health professionals have lauded as having stronger antioxidant powers than regular garlic.
The Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce has developed since its inception, and offers more stylized bottles and labeling, and is now produced in special kitchens at Rutgers.
Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce will be featured in April 2015 as a vendor at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo in Brooklyn.
The Winter Farmers’ Market at Sparta is held at the Sparta Middle School on 350 Main Street (Route 517) most Saturdays through April from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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