Fresh Fruits and Veggies … in Ocean City

first_imgBy Donald WittkowskiJim Daily was walking around the Ocean City Farmers Market wearing a red T-shirt that had the words “Eat Your Veggies” written on the front.Perhaps in the future he might consider adding one more word to say, “Eat Your Fresh Veggies.”Daily, whose son-in-law owns the A.T. Buzby Farm in Woodstown, Salem County, was selling nothing but fresh vegetables and fruits from his stand at the Farmers Market on Wednesday. They were harvested the day before.“Everything we bring down here is super-fresh,” Daily said.Although farmers markets are a common summer treat for motorists venturing out on the rural roads of South Jersey, this one gives Ocean City’s residents and tourists a chance buy their fresh fruits and vegetables right here in town, just a few blocks from the beach.The Farmers Market is a popular attraction with Ocean City residents and tourists every summer.Now in its 19th year, the market runs every Wednesday during the summer and is sponsored by the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. However, this Wednesday was its last day for the season, leaving its loyal followers to have to wait until next summer for it to return.“This is it for the year. I hope to see you next summer,” one customer, Margaret Read, told Carol Savoie, the owner of Savoie Organic Farms, in a fond goodbye.Read, who lives in Ocean City, was checking out some succulent tomatoes Savoie was selling from her stand. Some of the tomatoes were nearly as big as oranges.“The tomatoes are fabulous,” Read exclaimed. “Speaking as an ex-Philly resident, I waste my life away waiting for tomato season. I am the tomato girl.”Jim Daily, of A.T. Buzby Farm in Woodstown, Salem County, looks over what he calls the “super-fresh” produce.Carol Savoie, whose organic farm is based in Williamstown, Gloucester County, said regular customers like Read make the Farmers Market so special for her year after year.“It’s surprising to me how many local customers come back to me week after week after week,” Savoie said. “They tell me, ‘I’m so glad we can buy organics here.’ It’s been a wonderful response.”The market features 40 food stands and another 45 vendors who sell homemade crafts on the grounds of the Ocean City Tabernacle. To accommodate the vendors, Asbury Avenue is closed to motor vehicle traffic at Sixth Street. The street is turned into a miniature tent city featuring local vendors selling everything from handmade artwork to stylish clothes to fine jewelry and much, much more.Rose Savastano and Nancy Neal, co-managers of the market for the Chamber of Commerce, said they will likely bring new attractions to the Farmers Market in the summer of 2019 to celebrate its 20th anniversary.“We’re always looking for ways to improve it. But honestly, we have such a good market that everybody loves it,” Savastano said.“Our farmers work with us so some of them can take on additional items,” she continued. “They’re more than willing to go out of their way to make it a better market.”Nancy Neal, left, and Rose Savastano, the co-managers of the Farmers Market for the Chamber of Commerce, are looking to bring in new attractions for the summer of 2019.For next summer, Neal wants to showcase the Jersey Fresh brand of fruits and vegetables even more at the market by featuring them in pies and sandwiches.Neal said some of the new items that were sold this year included fresh eggs, a non-alcoholic champagne and bison meat. Yes, bison meat.“Believe it or not, it was very popular,” Neal said of the bison meat. “It’s not something you would normally expect to find at a farmers market.”Anne Dougherty, an Ocean City resident who regularly shops at the market, was buying corn, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and beets on Wednesday.“This is all for this weekend. We still have some people coming down to see us,” Dougherty explained of the big meal she is planning for her visitors.Anne Dougherty, of Ocean City, checks out the corn on the cob for a dinner she is planning this weekend for some guests.Dougherty is such a fan of farmers markets at the Jersey Shore that she plans to start going to one in Wildwood next week now that Ocean City’s has closed for the season.“It’s all fresh food,” she said. “You can’t beat it.”Wanda Ferguson, of Ocean City, said she shops at the market almost every week. On Wednesday, she was loading up her shopping bag with corn, tomatoes and peppers. She was also thinking about buying some pound cake for dessert.“I like it because it’s all local produce,” Ferguson said. “We are supporting our local farmers. Best of all, it’s fresh.” Carol Savoie, owner of Savoie Organic Farms in Williamstown, Gloucester County, shows off some heirloom cherry tomatoes.last_img