Gourmet Food & Produce: Bernardsville's Version of a Farm Market
A open-air community event held each Saturday at train station on Route 202 and Claremont Road.
Timothy Ingling of Basking Ridge was heading to a supermarket in nearby Bernardsville when, on his way, he remembered the Bernardsville Farmers Market held each Saturday in the parking lot of the borough train station.
"I'm glad I did," Ingling said, while selecting ears of fresh white corn at one of the the farmstands. "This is great corn."
He said that Saturday was the first time he had been this summer to the long-running annual farmer's market, held weekly between June and November.
Other browsers at the market, which also offers a variety of products from pickles to gourmet pierogies, mixed in with fresh seasonal produce from New Jersey farms, say they are regular visitors.
"We love the fresh vegetables and fruit," said Kate Shepard of Basking Ridge, carrying bags of peaches, peppers and a crumb cake, while shopping with her daughter, Emily.
The market lists its official hours as 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. But organizer Christa O'Connor said that vendors typically arrive before 9, and are gone by about 1 p.m. The most crowded time is at about 10 to 11 a.m., she said.
O'Connor added that several listings note the end of the farmers market as the first week in November, but, weather permitting, fall produce will be offered until the second week in November.
"I come here a lot," said Marion Barker of Bernardsville, as she was exiting the market a little before 11 a.m. on Saturday. "I buy produce and flowers."
At this time of the year, bright sunflowers were in ample display on several counter tops, which are protected from the elements by large tents.
Alan's Flower Farm from Chesterfield, which also offered plump tomatoes and a limited selection of other produce, had set up a wide variety of flowers and floral arrangements fresh this time of year.
There are about 10 vendors who appear each Saturday morning in the Bernardsville train station to set up their stands. Included is the well-known Griggstown Quail Farm and Market, from Franklin Township en route to Princeton, known for its prepared gourmet foods as well as boutique mushrooms.
Matthew Sytsema, a chef who said he runs Griggstown's farm market operations, said the selection last week was for everything from frozen chicken sausages to uncooked poultry, some already seasoned, and fresh mushrooms, eggs and ready-to-eat pies.
He also handed out advice to a shopper on how to prepare the mushrooms — in boxes of portobello, cremini, shiitake and oyster, and bags of forest mushrooms. Frozen chicken pot pies have the cremini mushrooms as an ingredient, according to Griggstown's farm market product list.
A stand set up by Krakus Polish Deli of Phillipsburg displayed an unusual selection of fruit-filled pierogi, stuffed with blueberries, plums, strawberries or cherries.
But, after all, a farmers market is about fruits and vegetables, and two of the largest stands on hand were laden with such seasonal bounty as cantaloupe, blueberries, corn and basil with a scent detectable even among the flowers.
Ray Sternick of Basking Ridge, who grew up in Bernardsville, was emptying out a bag of just-picked white corn on part of the table of farm products from Silver Lake Farm from Blairstown in Warren County.
Sternick says generally helps out at the farmstand on Saturday since his father is farm manger at Silver Lake.
Another large stand with a large variety of farm produce is Hensler Farms and Garden Stand from Belvidere in Warren County.
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series "Local Bounty," on local farmstands and farm markets. Last week's was a profile of Crane Farm in Basking Ridge.