The Princeton Farmers Market opened two weeks ago with a bang. It takes place at Hinds Plaza, right next to the Princeton Public Library, operating Thursdays from 11 AM to 4 PM until November 19th. The farmers and businesses, who are required to attend every week, were out in full force selling fruits, vegetables, cheeses, baked goods, honey, jams, and more. I met the market manager Judith Robinson, who chatted with me for a while about the weekly event.
There is a wonderful mix of vendors, and every week at the ‘guest table’ there is a new organization featured. Tables with umbrellas and chairs are dispersed around the center of the plaza so people can eat their delicious farmers market purchases, or food from elsewhere, while people watching and listening to the sounds of the guest musician of the week who plays from 12:30 – 1:30 PM. This is definitely a highlight of the week!
The great thing about the vendors being local is you can ask them about their products, visit their farms or stores, and hold them accountable for what they’re selling. The produce comes from family-owned farms, so the chances are minimal that there would be salmonella problems like with corporate farms. There is no ‘shipping’ involved, so everything is fresher. In industrial agriculture, they must harvest their crops before they’re ripe to allow for travel time. Local farmers can pick their produce when they’re ripe, allowing them to be more flavorful.
The poultry is free-range, the meat is grass-fed, the eggs are from free range chickens, many items are organic, well, you get the picture. The people you’re buying from are passionate about what they do, and you can immediately tell that when you have a conversation with them about their products.
What makes this farmers market different from others? It’s more than an outdoor market. It’s a five-hour social gathering. You’ll find food, drinks, tables and chairs, music, familiar faces, and great conversation all in one convenient location. Sounds like a party, doesn’t it? Well, you can say it’s Princeton’s way of celebrating the support of local farmers and merchants. I’d like to mention that the sponsors, make this all possible. So, have you been to the party yet? It’s an open invitation, so join the fun every Thursday until mid-November. If we’re lucky, it’ll be held indoors in the Princeton Public Library’s community room again for the winter.