By KAYLA J. MARSH
MIDDLETOWN – A new township event is putting an emphasis on bringing fresh produce and other unique and handmade products that area farmers and vendors have to offer to the forefront for residents to enjoy.
“What we are trying to do is a true farmers market, with items like fresh fruit and vegetables and other produce, fresh fish … we’ve had some inquires from people who produce honey locally … just making it feel like an old fashioned type of farmers market with all types of products,” said Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger in an interview July 13.
The new Middletown Farmers and Makers Market is scheduled to take place on Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Middletown Train Station Metered Lot on Church Street in Middletown Village.
“It’s an area that is the center of town, easily accessible and we hope to possibly tie it in with events at the Middletown Arts Center right there,” Scharfenberger said.
A market was scheduled to begin on July 16, but it was called off for a variety of reasons.
“It is ironic I think, since we live in the Garden State, but we have been running into a little bit of difficulty with finding enough farmers and vendors,” Scharfenberger said.
“A lot of times they may be committed to other markets … and only have so much produce … and we really want to rely on local folks as much as possible, but I think it’ll work out very well.
“A lot of vendors have been saying that this is great, so I think it will draw a big number of people to it.”
The mayor said the idea is to start off small this year with at least two monthly markets featuring fresh produce, flowers and plants, handmade goods and live music to keep attendees entertained.
A second market is scheduled for Sept. 17 at the same time and place.
“What we are trying to do is make it successful from the get-go,” Scharfenberger said. “Making sure there are enough vendors and people interested to make it worthwhile.”
Vendors wishing to participate can download the application at http://www.middletownnj.org/DocumentCenter/View/850.
“We want to really have it be first class and I think once people learn about, get involved, it will really pick up and maybe next year we can make it a regular, maybe weekly, thing,” Scharfenberger said.