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Farmers’ market moves closer to campus, making produce more accessible to University community

<p>Vendors sell locally-sourced produce at Thursday’s market.</p>
<h6>Simone Kirkevold/Daily Princetonian</h6>

Vendors sell locally-sourced produce at Thursday’s market.

Simone Kirkevold/Daily Princetonian

Princeton Farmers Market has moved to the Dinky parking lot, situated just south of campus in front of the Wawa. This location, which is significantly closer to the University compared to its previous site of operation on Franklin Avenue, has increased access to produce and other products for the University community.

The market was first established in 2009 by the JM Group, a cooperative of restaurants in the Princeton area. Now, in its 13th year of operation, the farmers’ market partners with 21 local and regional vendors. 

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“We have an assortment of vendors,” said Natalie Fiorino, who has worked as the market’s manager since early July, in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. “We have two organic farms, two fruit orchards, a whole grain bread company, exotic mushrooms, dog treats, flowers, pasture-raised meat and eggs, kombucha, a granola stand, empanadas, and I’m probably missing some,” Fiorino continued. This assortment of vendors is local to the Princeton area, except for Lost Bread Company, which comes from Philadelphia to sell their bread on the bi-weekly schedule.

According to Fiorino, vendors are scheduled on an alternating basis to ensure new options each week for returning shoppers. She reported that the market is frequented by a “solid following of townsfolk” each week, in addition to students and visitors. 

“It’s important to shop local because you’re giving back to the community. You can come and talk to the farmers, you know what you’re eating and about how it was grown,” Fiorino said. “It’s good for everyone. It’s good for the earth.”

Chickadee Creek Farm, a Pennington-based vegetable, flower, and herb farm, has been a partner with the Princeton Farmers Market for seven years. Darci Burns, a farmhand at Chickadee Creek, has run the farm’s stand at the market every year since.

Burns told the ‘Prince’ that the farm brings up to 35 different items to the farmers’ market each week, with produce options varying throughout the season, as different crops are harvested.

“Today is a big day because we grow ginger,” Burns said in an interview with the ‘Prince.’ “It’s not very easy to grow in New Jersey, and we’re kind of known for it.” 

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In addition to produce, the Princeton Farmers Market also offers prepared foods and snacks; The Granola Bar, which sells bagged granola and to-go bars from locally-sourced oats, has been a vendor at the market since 2019. Company founder, Advah Zinder, was trained as a pastry chef and originally started experimenting with granola bar recipes several years ago when she worked as an employee at a golf club. 

“They would put them up for sale on beverage cart, and they would sell out constantly. I couldn’t keep up,” Zinder recalled in an interview with the ‘Prince.’ With the growing popularity of her granola, she had to start creating “crazier and crazier flavors,” she said, in order to accommodate the wants of her buyers — maple cranberry granola and lemon blueberry bars are among her bestsellers. 

In addition to the many food options, the market also features artists based in New Jersey.

Susan Freeman, founder of Whimsy Design and a self-acclaimed “lifelong artist,” sells homemade jewelry, notecards, windchimes, and masks at the market. She shared in an interview with the ‘Prince’ that she often gleans inspiration from upcycled materials and “found items.”

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Freeman described her products as ranging “from funky to fancy.” At her table, she had earrings on display, each made from a different “found item,” such as old keys, shark teeth, acrylic butterflies, and children’s toys.

Many of the market vendors accept New Jersey’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides aid for low-income families to acquire food and groceries. The market, which began for the summer season in May, will continue to operate every Thursday until Nov. 17.

Tess Weinreich is an assistant news editor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at tw7353@princeton.edu.

Simone Kirkevold is a news contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at simonek@princeton.edu or on Instagram @simpne.b.k.

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