Small tents filled the Walnut St. Station parking lot of Montclair, New Jersey on Saturday morning. The crisp autumn air circled township residents as they huddled towards the entrance with reusable bags. The smell of spices, sweet treats and warm beverages kissed the noses of locals. The sound of children giggling, bodies bustling and vendors shouting, “Next!” filled the large lot.
Montclair residents scored some of their seasonal favorites this past weekend at the Montclair Farmers’ Market. The market not only had a large variety of seasonal produce for sale, but special food artisans also sold their items and dishes. Locals were able to grab special seasonal items such as apple cider beverages and donuts, pumpkin spice donuts and many different pies ranging from apple to strawberry rhubarb.
Along with a plentiful array of produce, many different kinds of vendors were also present for locals to explore and enjoy. The vendors offered a variety of seasonal options like different types of mushrooms, seasonal spices and even fall-inspired soups.
The market also had both vegan and vegetarian options for those with specific diets. Vendors like Angel Planet Foods offered customers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Caitlin Lonergan, the sales and marketing associate of Angel Planet Foods, was eager to bring locals new seasonal options.
“We always like to have a fun twist on our curries,” Lonergan said. “Our most popular is our curry chickpea with sweet potatoes, so we most recently came out with an apple-cinnamon sweet potato curry with chickpeas for a fall twist.”
Lonergan also hopes to inspire more vendors at the market to use more environment-friendly practices.
“We are trying to make waves in the food industry by implementing more eco-friendly business practices and hopefully inspiring other businesses to do the same,” Lonergan said.
Along with giving vegans and vegetarians fall-inspired dishes, vendors were also donating a portion of their profits to charities and non-profit organizations.
Adventure Kitchen is owned by Lynely Jones, who began the business from her home. The business sells various seasonal spices and blends to customers at the market. They offer organic, original blends like pumpkin pie spice, hot Hungarian paprika and Mexican sweet blend.
Gabriella Bauer, a long-time customer and friend of Jones, explained that when customers purchase their spices, Jones tries to give back to local communities.
“10% [of purchases] goes to charity and all the products are sustainable and natural. You can smell the difference in the spices,” Bauer said.
Bauer helps Jones sell her spices at the market every Saturday.
Maryssa Geist, a resident from Montclair, has been shopping at the market for nearly three years. Geist’s favorite vendor is Everlasting Garden, which sells bouquets, individual flowers and succulent plants.
“The market is inviting and charming,” Geist said. “I tend to go to the same vendors when I stop by the flowers and jam tents.”
Residents can also speak with the market manager, who has a tent set up in the market. Locals can visit the tent with questions or inquire about the Good Food Bucks program. The program allows low-income families and seniors to double their produce purchases.
When residents bring their Families First cards to the market, they are given SNAP vouchers. When customers use their SNAP benefits at the market, they receive additional Good Food Bucks which they can use at the market as well.
Paul Pinto, the marketing manager of the Montclair Farmers’ Market, is hopeful that the program will bring more families to the lot.
“[Residents] can actually increase the value of what they’re getting from the government,” Pinto said. “It’s great.”
Montclair residents can visit the market every Saturday for fall favorites until the season is over in November. The market opens at 8 a.m. and remains open until 2 p.m. and residents who get to the market around the early afternoon can expect to enjoy food trucks and live music while they shop. The market is open rain or shine unless the marketing manager states otherwise.