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CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION CELEBRATES FARMERS MARKET WEEK IN THE GARDEN STATE
New Jersey Residents Encouraged to Visit a Market, Buy Jersey Fresh Produce
For Immediate Release: August 6, 2013
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(DELRAN) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd and Patricia Dombroski, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator today celebrated Farmers Market Week in the Garden State with a visit to the Delran Farmers Market in Delran.
Governor Chris Christie proclaimed August 4 through 10, 2013 as Farmers Market Week in New Jersey. United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, likewise, proclaimed the week National Farmers Market Week to encourage healthy eating and support local farmers.
“One of the best places to find the freshest Jersey Fresh produce is at a community farmers market,” said Secretary Fisher. “The Delran market is one of our newest markets and already it is becoming a neighborhood gathering place where people can shop for fruits, vegetables, local honey, baked items and plants, talk with friends and meet the farmer who grows their food.”
The Delran Farmers Market, which opened this past June and will run through the end of September, has farmers who accept Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers. The program, which assists those in need in accessing local produce, is administered by the state Department of Health. The vouchers can be used toward purchases with those farmers through November 30.
“New Jersey Farmers Market Week is a celebration of the healthy fresh produce now in abundance in our communities,” said Health Commissioner O’Dowd. “I encourage all New Jersey residents to take advantage of our farmer's markets. In 2012, New Jersey’s Farmers Markets provided healthy options for the more than 105,000 seniors and low income women who qualify for the Department’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition and WIC programs.”
In addition to the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, some farmers markets also allow those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to purchase produce at the markets, through their electronic benefit transfer cards as another way to make Jersey Fresh produce available to those who might not otherwise be able to access it.
“Farmers’ markets like this one in Delran are a real win-win,” said Dombroski, USDA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “Participants benefit from healthy, locally-grown produce in their diets, and farmers benefit from having additional customers.”
The Delran market operates 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and has four farmers, as well as a number of related vendors. Councilwoman Lona Pangia manages the market with the help of volunteers who log about 100 hours each week to put the market together.
“Without the time the volunteers continue to put forth for this community event, I know I wouldn’t be able to put this event on by myself each and every week,” said Pangia. “I hope that the summer farmers market will become a tradition in Delran for years to come.”
New Jersey currently has 141 community farmers markets, eight of which are new this season. Farmers at the markets sell the produce they have grown and picked just hours before.
Eating Jersey Fresh fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products can go a long way to improving overall health. Eating locally also is a good choice for protecting our environment by reducing the miles a meal travels between farm and fork, lessening fuel consumption. In addition, choosing locally grown products helps keep New Jersey farmers on their land, preserving the Garden State’s quality of life.
Jersey Fresh produce is at the peak of the season with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available, including sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, peppers, eggplant, squash, basil, melons, beets, cabbage, collards, Swiss chard, arugula, kale, leeks, cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, turnips and white potatoes.
To locate a nearby community farmers market, visit www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov.
To learn more about farmers market nutrition programs, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/md/prog/communityfarmers.html#1.