Each Saturday near the Princeton Junction train station, the Vaughn Drive parking lot undergoes a rapid transformation. Vendor stalls full of produce and handmade products replace the cars, and hundreds of local residents file in to enjoy it all. Mirroring the rising trend of farmers’ markets across the country, the West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market (WWCFM) has become one of the most vibrant and popular events in the community.
The Market is now in the midst of its 11th season and has a total of 26 participating farms and artisan food vendors. Some of the most popular non-farm vendors include Jammin’ Crepes, which makes a variety of crepes on location, and Tico’s Eatery and Juice Bar, which has a Juice Truck with freshly-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices on site that attracts customers.
In addition to the products for sale, visitors will often see local non-profit organizations and community groups such as the WW Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and the WW Arts Council. Here, these groups provide visitors with information and raise awareness of local causes. Local bands and music groups often perform along the street, including North’s orchestra group Nonet, the Steel band, and Out of the Blue. “Performing there is cool because it’s not just parents; people from the community are amazed by what you do. It’s really fulfilling as a performance,” Steel Band member and junior Olivia Weng said.
People of all ages visit the Market, sampling new food items and purchasing fresh ingredients to make meals in the upcoming week. Many of the people at the market are regular visitors who make the trip here weekly in order to stock up on their favorite items.
Part of what makes the Market so attractive is its relaxed atmosphere and environment; visitors stroll around, and tables and chairs are set out so that they can relax and take everything in. “This market is special because it’s a neighborhood market. We see a lot of neighbors and friends, so it’s both friendly and local,” WWCFM regular Marshall Calman said.
The farm operators and sellers themselves appreciate the environment and benefits that the farmers’ market offers. “We consciously choose to sell at farmers’ markets because of the intimacy and the opportunity to see your consumers face to face,” North Slope Farm vendor operator Jacob Thies said. His coworker Tom Haldeman added, “I love the market because I love the people. They’re so excited to come here and get gorgeous, fresh produce, and they really make it all worth it.”
Farmers’ markets are becoming an increasingly popular place to purchase goods, particularly produce. “I like the freshness of the foods and vegetables here and also the setting, which is outdoors rather than inside like the supermarket,” West Windsor resident Xue Min said. “It’s more healthy, and you are supporting the local economy.”
The WWCFM takes place each Saturday through November 22 from 9am-1pm.
More information can be found at http://www.westwindsorfarmersmarket.org.