Here’s something you don’t hear very often, “Let’s get to the beach for some fresh veggies!”
And that’s what my husband, Greg, said yesterday morning before we hopped in the car and headed to the Brick Farmer’s Market. If you haven’t guessed, this farmers’ market is held at, well, the beach of course…Windward Beach to be exact.
The Brick Farmers’ Market was introduced this April and runs from 9 am to 12 pm every Saturday (with the exception of July 4th) until September 12th. Featured vendors can be found on the market’s website.
According to Victoria Pakala, of Direct Development, the marketing and public relations company that represents the Brick Farmers’ Market, the vendor list continues to grow each week. In fact, while I was speaking with her, two interested parties inquired about becoming vendors at the market.
Pakala also said that as new fruits and vegetables come into season, they will begin to be offered at the market each week. In addition to fresh produce, the market also features herbs, baked goods, gluten-free options and more. There are also non-food items, such as organic soaps.
As we began to make our rounds, my first stop was Shore Shake. This food truck offers a variety of ice cream based shakes as well as fruit and veggie options. They also serve iced coffee, iced green tea, lemonade and a variety of treats. Going for the healthy “green” option (hey we were at a farmers’ market after all), I opted for the Garden State. This shake is made up of coconut water, romaine, spinach, apple avocado, parsley and lemon. Not only was it delicious, but it was a great late morning pick me up. Maybe next time I’ll give in and try a milkshake (I’m torn between the Banana and the Peanut Butter).
Next the kids were lured by the delightful display of fresh baked treats at La La’s Gourmet Cookies, where they thoroughly enjoyed sharing an M&M blondie. La La’s is based here in Brick and offers a wide variety of gourmet cookies and other specialties.
While the kids were devouring their treats, Greg wandered over to Kauffman Farms, which is based out of Farmingdale and specializes in fresh produce. In fact, I learned that Kauffman supplies produce to one of our favorite local restaurants, 10th Avenue Burrito, which was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2010. Kauffman also offers a line of recipe cards to complement the vegetables and fruits that are being offered at the market each week.
But what caught Greg’s eye was the display of vegetable plants. He’s been working on getting our backyard garden into shape for the season. What he discovered was what Co-Owner Jessica Musto calls a “garden ready” pack. This variety pack came with six plants in one convenient carrying tray – tomato, tomatillo, purple eggplant, white eggplant, red bell pepper and yellow bell pepper. Musto, who came up with the idea for the “garden ready” pack, has other versions for sale at the farm and plans to introduce these other varieties to the market in the upcoming weeks.
On a side note, our “garden ready” pack has been planted in one of our new raised bed gardens. I can’t wait to make some grilled eggplant and Greg has big plans to make salsa verde with the tomatillos.
Our last stop was Colony Market, which is a family-owned business that has been around since 1938. Based in Brick, Colony offers fresh produce from farms in New Egypt and Howell, as well as jams and jellies, homemade peanut brittle and caramel corn. According to Owner Todd Marchetti, Colony will be featuring a full line of GMO free and/or organic produce beginning in late June. Today, I am looking forward to enjoying the juicy seedless green grapes from Colony’s stand while soaking in some sun on this gorgeous holiday weekend!
What drew me to Colony’s stand was a comment Pakala had made about hearing customers sharing recipes while in line to purchase the fresh produce. She mentioned that while waiting in line, customers discussed dishes they could make with a variety of items, such as grape tomatoes and basil.
That’s when I knew the Brick Farmers’ Market isn’t just about SHOPPING, it’s about COMMUNITY. People who come to the event each week come to enjoy the experience of interacting with others, both customers and vendors alike. They come to find something they can bring home to use to create a meal they can share with their families. And we all know FOOD=LOVE! So for the love of food, if you’re in Brick between now and September 12th, be sure to “head to the beach for some fresh veggies” and more!
The Brick Farmers’ Market is located at Windward Beach Park – 265 Princeton Avenue, Brick, NJ 08724.