At the Sea Bright farmers market, Meg Paska sells locally grown produce and flowers from Seven Arrows Farm, while the Holly Hill Farm table, below, offers Rumson-grown seedlings and produce. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Options for finding locally grown produce on the Greater Red Bank Green doubled with the addition last year of a farmers’ market in the Sea Bright municipal parking lot on Thursdays.
For local shoppers, that means more variety. While both Sea Bright and the Red Bank Farmers’ Market at the Galleria on summer and autumn Sundays are dependable for farm-grown veggies, there are some characteristics that differentiate the two.
Which marketplace you choose might come down to how hyperlocal you want your produce, and whether you’re looking for treats from food trucks. Sea Bright doesn’t host food trucks, but locally grown produce and farmers who can help you make decisions? That they have, by the vanload.
At both markets, you’ll find honey from Neshanic Valley Bee Keepers; Holly Jolly Jams; Fair Mountain Coffee; and the Pickleicious vendor, selling everything from spicy olives to pickled green tomatoes. The similarity ends there.
Sea Bright features locally grown produce, flowers, eggs and cheese from Seven Arrows Farm in Locust; Holly Hill Farm, Harvest Moon, Central Valley, and the Green Duchess farms – all local to the Garden State. In addition, Bakers Bounty supplies fresh baked bread and pastries.
Sea Bright also features local-chef demonstrations and tastings from borough restaurants. Franklin Soap Works, Clariza’s Clay pots and a professional knife-and-scissor sharpener can be found here as well. You can check for updates here.
Well-established, the Red Bank market has a bazaar-like feel with a mixed bag of food options.
Local food trucks Freezy Freeze, Johnny’s Pork Roll and the Cinnamon Snail have a new addition to their ranks this season: Shore Shake offers fresh fruit smoothies and shakes. Lines of customers tell us the trucks are a big, crowd-pleasing draw.
Now that the growing season has begun in earnest for the farmers, we will see more of the farm stands showing up, we’re told by market management. Certified Organic farmers anchors one corner of the market, and Hauser Hill Farms is in the opposite corner.
Taking up space between are bakers, Italian specialty purveyors, coffee sellers, cheesemongers and a mushroom seller who brings in shitakes, criminis, oyster and enokis from Kennett Square Pennsylvania.
New to the Galleria market is the colorful Anita Guacamole stand, where you can watch a vendor mash avocados for the green condiment everyone seems to love.
You can also find a guy named Steve selling Steve’s Pound Cake. Step up to his table and he’ll give you a taste of the assorted flavors he has on hand.
PieHole has been told by farmers from both markets that zucchini, and blueberries should be available this week, but it’s still a little early for locally grown tomatoes.
The Sea Bright farmers market is open from 2:00 PM till 7:00 PM. Red Bank farmers market opens at 8:30 AM and closes down at 2:00 PM.