Friday Foodstuffs 5.6.11: Collingswood Opens Farmers’ Market Season

I always get a kick when Robin at SJLocavore (aka SJ-LO) and I post on the same idea. Great minds and such.

Yes I know – Westmont had their farmers’ market open on Wednesday. But the real start to the community farmers’ market season in South Jersey is when Collingswood gets things going. And they will be getting things going tomorrow at 8AM.

I can hear some of you out there: Again with the Collingswood! What can I say? They seem to have folks there that get it more than in other places. And that’s not just my thinking; having talked to enough people in the business, that’s a consensus view.

So…why is their farmers’ market the best in South Jersey? First of all, it’s on a Saturday, which makes it much more accessible to the community at large. We love Toms River’s farmers’ market, but it’s on a Wednesday afternoon, so it can be a challenge sometimes to get there. Having it on a Saturday allows you to make it a part of your routine much more easily. And when more people are able to do that, it becomes a place for the community to gather and mingle, another reason why this market is great. It has become a vital thread in the woven fabric that is Collingswood.

It also helps that the market brings together some of the well-known names in South Jersey produce: Buzby, Flaim, DanLynn, Eckerts, Schober, Springdale and Viereck. In terms of selection, you would be hard-pressed to find a farmers’ market in South Jersey that has more with which to choose.

To add to the exciting mixture, the Collingswood Farmers’ Market takes advantage of having a collection of great restaurants and brings some of those chefs to do cooking demos at 10AM every week. If you enjoy The Tortilla Press, for example, come see Chef Mark Smith up close and personal at a demo.

And there’s one other reason, I believe. I watch “No Reservations” and look longingly at those wonderful street markets Tony peruses around the world with all that beautiful and exotic produce. And as I watch, I wonder ‘Why don’t we have one of those thrilling street markets here?’ Well, we live in a much more suburban and rural area here, for one thing. No to mention the fact that the advent of the supermarket essentially removed the need for street markets, for better or worse. But the setting of the Collingswood Farmers’ Market is about as close as we’re going to get to a vibrant urban street market, outside of the Reading Terminal in Philly.

So if you have never been, I urge you to give it try this year. I don’t think you will be disappointed, and it may even become part of your Saturday routine.

If you like wine, this weekend has you written all over it. I’ve already posted about the Mother’s Day Wine Trail Weekend that’s going on at wineries all over the area. Natali Vineyards is getting the party started tonight with Cape May Mom’s Night Out, brought to you by Cape May Moms. Choosy mothers choose wine. Tonight there is also the Wine & Spirits Festival at the Avalon Community Hall, a Wine Tasting at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, and a Wine Dinner: Out of the Ordinary at The Mad Batter in Cape May.

Today and tomorrow there’s a Pig Roast at The Dutch Wagon Amish Market on Route 70 in Medford. Do you really need any more reason to go? Pig. Roast.

On Saturday and Sunday, it’s the Coastal Living Festival in Stone Harbor from 10AM to 5PM.

And if you’re still pondering where to take Mom on Sunday, we have a number of places listed on our Food & Wine Events page, and are adding more!

As always, check out our SJ Food & Wine Events page for what’s coming up in the next, oh, 60 days or so food events-wise. And if you want to know what our picks are for events in May, sign up for our e-newsletter!

Here is your Cooking Class schedule for the weekend. Make sure you call ahead to see if there are seats available:

Tonight: Teens and Tweens in the Kitchen – Mother’s Day Brunch at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown and Wine-Friendly Favorites at Sur La Table in Marlton.

Tomorrow: Kids in the Kitchen Workshop – Flowers for MOM! and Deliciously Healthy! at Kitchen Kapers, SAVEUR Cooks: Great Tastes of Mexico at Sur La Table, Cape Cuisine: Mother’s Day Formal Tea at the Cape May County Library, and Best of Class: Cocktail Party at Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.

Sunday: Savory Pies and Tarts Workshop at Viking Cooking School.

And in the news this week…

The James Beard Awards will be announced on Monday, and we have a little South Jersey up for awards: Chef Vola in Atlantic City for American Classics.

The soft opening for the Landis MarketPlace was on Thursday, with the bottom floor Amish markets open for business. Here’s a look at the floor plan, thanks to The Daily Journal.

It’s Valenzano Winery vs Pinelands Commission over Valenzano’s solar project.

And despite have fewer restaurants participating, Atlantic City Restaurant Week had increased revenues of almost $140,000 over 2010. Well done!

Enjoy your weekend, and Happy Mom’s Day!



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