By Lily Marten |
HOLMDEL – Artisans, farmers, entrepreneurs and more gathered at Bell Works May 30 for the first indoor Fresh Farmers Market of the season, an event that will continue Wednesday afternoons throughout the summer.
The 2-million-square-foot “metroburb” at 101 Crawfords Corner Road, the new home to several tech companies, hosted more than 25 vendors in the atrium. They ranged from a mushroom farmer to a luxury writing pen salesman to a woman who sold foot jewelry.
Bell Works’ Brian Sienkiewicz, who helped organize the event with colleague Moshe Gross and Asbury Fresh, called the event a success. “I expected at least some light foot traffic, but right away at 2:20 there was a bunch of people coming in.”
The customers enjoyed the background music and relaxing atmosphere; several lounged on Bell Work’s geometric cushions or ate at café tables. Employees still sporting their lanyards and business attire took the opportunity to stroll through the vendor tables to check out the unique products and stations.
Popular stands included Au Honey of Middletown with raw and local honey jars stacked on wood crates and Two River Gourmet Mushrooms of Tinton Falls displaying freshly picked mushrooms labeled and described in detail.
The star of the market was the Pickle Licious stand, offering dozens of pickled products to a crowd that stood 10-deep at the table. The Teaneck-based pickle brand offered pickle chips, pickles-on-sticks and even large containers of pickles to go. The pickle flavors ranged from Hot & Spicy to Horseradish and were available full sour and half sour.
About half of the vendors at the indoor farmers market were nonfood-related, offering clothing, jewelry, floral arrangements, paintings and other luxury items.
Artwork was on display. Megan Gray of Shrewsbury exhibited an array of original oil paintings and Dana Vargo, owner of Flowers from the Farm in Farmingdale, showcased a colorful display of organic floral arrangements for weddings.
The Associated Humane Society, a Tinton Falls-based animal shelter, had no trouble standing out from the crowd. They encouraged people to pet two small kittens and a few friendly dogs available for adoption.
The market atmosphere is great for adoptions because people are delighted when they meet an animal they weren’t expecting, explained Society staffer Kim Tamborra. “It’s the surprise that entices a lot of people into adopting,” said volunteer Joanne Boyle.
At the other end of the atrium, people flocked to the charming Oak Hill Farms station, showcasing organic bath and body products, candles and more. Creators Carla and Richard Bushey of Middletown explained they wanted natural products for their children and decided to just make their own. The goat milk and honey used in many of their products come directly from the goats and 25 beehives at their Middletown and Colts Neck locations.
Carla Bushey said she enjoys meeting her customers and the marketplace atmosphere. “I love to meet other artisans and the market environment helps our businesses.”
While several of the vendors have committed to the full season, many others will be cycling in and out. Bell Works will be hosting the market every Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. through Sept. 5 in their atrium. Admission is free. Each week’s vendor list can be previewed at asburyfresh.com.
This article was first published in the June 14-June 21, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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