Monday, July 06, 2020

With Governor Phil Murphy lifting his stay-at-home order, stores and businesses across New Jersey are beginning to tentatively return to their normal operations. One such business is the Englewood Farmers Market, which opened for the first time in months on Friday, June 5. In addition to offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables under their farm-to-market motto, the market also boasts a number of vendors selling products like homemade soaps and spices. The market’s staff is excited to be serving the community once again, and has put into place social distancing regulations so that everyone can have both an enjoyable and safe shopping experience.

The Englewood Farmers Market has been a recurring staple of Englewood since it first opened 28 years ago. Come every Friday—the market’s day of operations—the area can be seen bustling with local residents making their purchases. Tina Evans is the market’s manager, and she has been working with it since its first year.

“It all started when our city wanted to bring fresh produce to more urban areas,” Evans shared. “Here in Englewood, the only other place where you could really get fresh produce used to be the ShopRite. Now every Friday you can come out and find table after table of the most incredible fresh fruits and vegetables you can imagine. Our farmer has been with us for 27 years, and every time he comes out and shares his farm’s best. There’s truly something here that anyone can enjoy!”

Kosher options are somewhat limited at the market, but for many residents the produce is more than enough to keep them coming back year after year. Evans says she is currently working on bringing more kosher vendors in. For now, the freshness of the produce continues to be the market’s biggest strength.

“The corn the farmer brings is picked the same day,” Evans continued. “There’s just a smell of freshness to it: it hasn’t been sitting on a truck or flown in from a different state. It’s picked and brought straight to the table. And even just stopping by can be an experience on its own: the atmosphere is light and fun. People like to come out and talk to the farmer, and he loves sharing stories and educating people on where their food comes from. Throughout the day you’ll see people cheerily walking by and waving, because we’ve built a trust with Englewood’s residents and it’s something we don’t take for granted.”

When it comes to the regulations to protect patrons from the ongoing pandemic, Evans explained that every single vendor is thoroughly inspected before they are allowed to sell their products. They are also required to wear gloves and masks at all times and remain six feet apart from others in accordance with social distancing regulations. Signage has also been set up at the entrances of the market, reminding patrons to wear gloves and masks of their own while shopping.

“We used to freely offer samples, but now we are pre-packaging them to keep contact to a minimum,” Evans went on to share. “The safety of our patrons continues to be our utmost priority, and we are sticking to the guidelines to make sure that everyone is kept safe. When we started the process of reopening, we made the decision that we were going to do it the right way, and it’s what we’ve been striving to do ever since.”

The Englewood Farmers Market runs from June through October and is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. It can be found on the corner of Van Brunt Street and Demarest Avenue. On July 3, beloved pickle vendor Dr. Pickle will be there.

If you would like to learn more about the market, you can reach out to Evans directly via email at [email protected]

Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at www.adamssoapbox.com.