MADISON – The weekly Madison Farmers’ Market is about “Jersey Fresh” food.
It’s also about charity, through its “Buy Fresh, Give Fresh” donations of food every week to the Faith Kitchen soup kitchen in Dover.
On Thursday, July 31, the themes of great food and generosity to the poor will be highlighted at the market with a visit by the chief executive chef of a nonprofit dining club dedicated to charity.
Special attractions are a weekly occurrence at the Madison Farmers’ Market, which is open from 1 to 6 p.m. each Thursday – including this coming Thursday, July 24, which will feature its own added events – now through Oct. 16 on Green Village Road at Main Street, outside the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts at 9 Main St.
On July 31, the Madison Farmers’ Market will partner with the elegant Park Avenue Club of Florham Park when Executive Chef Arnold Kruck will demonstrate recipes using market produce, as well as working with the farmers to show shoppers new ways to use the products available at the market.
‘Spirit Of Giving’
The nonprofit Park Avenue Club not only provides its members with memorable dining experiences, but also has a mission to benefit various charities and cultural organizations through its relationship with the Park Avenue Foundation. The dining club is committed to offering the highest level of service and cuisine to its members while at the same time celebrating “The Spirit of Giving” in the community.
Executive Chef Kruck explained, “The Park Avenue Club is coming to the Madison Farmers Market because our culinary philosophy is very much ‘farm-to-table,’ and through our relationship with the Park Avenue Foundation it is centered around the ‘Spirit of Giving,’ where it is our goal to ‘give back;’ what better way to ‘give back’ than to break bread with our neighbors who support the same culinary philosophy as the club?
“This is not only an opportunity for the chef to educate the market-goers on unique and creative ways for them to utilize the best of the fresh produce,” Kruck noted, “but also to create creative dishes for their children as well, so that a vegetable becomes a friend and not a foe.”
The Park Avenue Club continues to fulfill the mission it was founded on: to succeed in its nonprofit work with a variety of charities and organizations. Kruck said the chefs from the Park Avenue Club look forward to inspiring and working with the community on different ways to cook with featured farmers’ market products.
In addition to Executive Chef Kruck of the Park Avenue Club, the market on Thursday, July 31, will feature Georgia Van Ryzin of Van Ryzin Design of Madison, selling her designs, including new yoga skirts for summer.
At This Thursday’s Market
But market patrons won’t have to wait to July 31 for special attractions.
At the Farmers’ Market this coming Thursday, July 24, the nonprofit Friends of the Madison Public Library will return to the market to sell tickets to their fund-raising “Touch-A-Truck” event for children and families, coming up from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, along Keep Street from the library to the Madison Area YMCA. Tickets for toddlers to 12-year-olds are $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the event; admission for teens and adults is $5. This time the Friends group will bring a fun car to the market to give people a preview of the “Touch-A-Truck” experience.
This coming Thursday’s market, July 24, also will host Jaime Conroy and other representatives from Autism Speaks, publicizing the upcoming “Autism Speaks Walk,” scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 25, in Morris Plains.
And, representatives of Fulton Bank of Madison will visit the July 24 market, giving away their distinctive bright blue umbrellas, piggy banks, water bottles, and reusable shopping bags.
The Madison Farmers’ Market is presented by the borough’s Downtown Development Commission (DDC) and sponsored by Drew University, 36 Madison Ave. and Gary’s Wine and Marketplace, 131 Main St., both of Madison.
Along with the main attractions – “Jersey Fresh” produce at the Alstede Farms, Melick’s Town Farm and Vacchiano Farm tents – the weekly market features a variety of vendors, including Kettle Korn, Pickle Licious, Paolo’s Kitchen, Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruits, Secret Garden Soap of Madison, Breadsmith, and Squeezed Fresh Lemonade.
Sponsor Gary’s Wine and Marketplace has a weekly presence at the market as well, inviting shoppers to sample an array of artisan cheeses, spreads, dips, and breads.
Meanwhile, human patrons aren’t the only visitors enjoying refreshments and treats at the Farmers’ Market. Since a good number of shoppers bring their dogs along with them to the weekly market, Ned Finn of the nearby Madison Pet Shop at 26 Main St. is placing a bowl of fresh water outside his store each Thursday for thirsty dogs. As always, Finn also has free treats for dogs inside his shop as well.
‘Buy Fresh, Give Fresh’
For the second year, Farmers’ Market patrons also have the opportunity to help feed the needy through the “Buy Fresh, Give Fresh” program, which is running weekly throughout the 2014 season.
Last year, Drew University and the Madison Farmers’ Market collaborated on the “Buy Fresh, Give Fresh” program, which enabled shoppers to buy a little extra fresh produce at the market and donate it to Faith Kitchen, the soup kitchen run by Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover.
While “Buy Fresh, Give Fresh” debuted on a monthly basis in 2013, the program is running weekly this year on each market day. Drew University Sustainability Director Tina Notas explained, “In 2013 we ran the program once a month, and it was embraced by Madison shoppers who often looked for the collection site on the weeks we weren’t doing it. So this season we will collect produce every week.
“We were very pleased that the people of Madison supported this so enthusiastically,” Notas added.
The “Buy Fresh, Give Fresh” program welcomes volunteers to help transport the donated Farmers’ Market produce to Dover. Volunteers will pick up the donated produce from the Farmers’ Market between 6 and 6:45 p.m. each Thursday, and then deliver it to Trinity Lutheran Church on the morning of the following day, Friday, any time after 8 a.m.
For organizations, congregations, Scout troops, businesses, families and individuals interested in volunteering, the program has schedule openings available through Thursday and Friday, Oct. 16 and 17. Prospective volunteers are asked to email Farmers’ Market Coordinator Barbara Hughes at email@example.com.
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