By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ventnor City Farmers Market had a banner year. Market Managers Andy and Penni Starer and Maria Gatta announced this week that the Friday morning farmers market would be extended three more weeks until Sept. 25.
They worked with the city, police and fire officials and the Atlantic County Health Department to create the safest outdoor food shopping experience possible. Vendors set up a safe distance from each other and put tables in front of their stands to ensure a safe distance from customers. Shoppers were required to wear face masks and observe social distancing. Sanitation stations were set up throughout the market area and shoppers traveled in a one-way direction through the market area.
“Last Friday was our second highest day all summer,” Andy Starer said. “We are really pleased with the great weather and we are impressed with the number of people wanting to be shopping outdoors.”
“All the vendors are doing very well, some have even sold out,” he said.
The market was scheduled to end on Friday, Sept. 4. This is the first year the market will be extended past the Labor Day weekend.
Starer said he believes some of the part-time residents will be extending their summer through October, especially since some school districts west of the shore area will be holding classes remotely.
“When we presented it to the vendors, they jumped at the idea. We asked the parish and Father Pawel agreed to allow us to continue to use the parking lot at St. James Church,” he said.
Starer said “a good chunk” of the vendors will continue to show up 8:30 to noon on Friday mornings on the corner of Atlantic and Newport avenues, including bakers, specialty food vendors and crafters.
Because the growing season continues in the region, local farmers will continue to offer their Jersey Fresh produce, including peaches, mixed greens, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, string beans and apples. Other September offerings grown in New Jersey include broccoli rabe, kale, cabbage, carrots and eggplant. And as fall creeps closer, expect to see some pumpkins and mums.
The mini-market held in conjunction with the city’s summer concerts will not be extended, however, the Summer Beach Jam concert scheduled for Labor Day weekend will be an all day event, Starer said.
To learn more about the Farmers Market, see www.facebook.com/ventnorcityfarmersmarket. For information about the concert series, see ventnorcity.org.
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