Union Farmers’ Market promotes shopping locally and a sense of community

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UNION, NJ — Fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of food trucks, handmade soaps, crystals and a great community — it’s all offered weekly at the Union Farmers’ Market, located at 1300 Winslow Ave. in the Biertuempfel Park parking lot. Market dates are every Thursday, June 1 through Oct. 26, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Union Farmers’ Market opened in June 2015 and, since then, has been dedicated to providing a place for local vendors, promoting buying fresh and eating local. Christina Santos, who has been running the event for the past two years, said, “It’s a lot of fun. It brings out vendors. It’s nice to see everyone.”

During the last part of each month, there’s also a beer garden, hula girls and events for children, which all happen in the later part of the day, between 5 and 7 p.m., according to Nick Basile, a volunteer with Economic Development and a Union resident for more than 53 years.

Current vendors include: Alstede Farms, Wagner Family Farms, Ashton Brewing Company, Aunt Lullie’s, BelleJohn’s Soul Food, Big John’s Gourmet Burgers, Cat-Like Reflexes, Coponi Pizzeria Napoletana, Cousins Maine Lobster, Eat My Franks, Fyro, Grandma Emma’s, Gray’s Area Grille, Green Dog-Mobile, Groomington Eats, Hadez Food Truck, House of Cupcakes, Ikiralot Crafts, JerZey Girl Pickles, Krissy’s Kakes, LB Novelties, Latin Bites, LoveFoodMore, Martina’s Kitchen Melts & Soups, Mediterranean Goods, Mike Makes Grill, Nitjuan Designs, Sweet Concessions, Tenmomi Ramen, The Box Tacos and Sanguiches, Tunkas, Twelve Truck and Urban Glo.

Daryn Martin, who works for Grandma Emma’s, which offers vegan comfort food, said, “Our deep-fried peach cobbler is the best dessert you’ll ever have.”

Tenmomi Ramen, who works at Alstede Farms, a 372-acre preserve in Chester, said their produce is almost completely organic and that they only use pesticides when necessary. “Fresh fruit and vegetables are cut the night before to get as fresh as possible.”

Jane Keenan, of Millburn, who was shopping at the Alstede Farms stand, said it was her first time visiting the Union Farmers’ Market, and that she loves fresh vegetables. “You can’t beat that,” she said.

Juanita Martin, of Nitjuan Designs, a vendor who sells handcrafted wearable art featuring gemstones, crystals, glass, metal and other materials, has been a vendor at the market for the past two years. She said, “I’ve noticed an eclectic array of people and families — not just one race. The connection is important to me.”

Shakira Drones, financial coach, author and CEO of Budget and Heal, said she feels the market is a great, family-oriented community.
Marsha Arrington, owner of Green Dog-Mobile, a vendor that offers lobster dogs, crab dogs and southern baked mac ‘n’ cheese, said the market gives her the opportunity to meet different people each week and enjoy the entertainment.

“It’s one of the best farmers’ markets,” said Casey Gonzalez, owner of Tenmoni Ramen. “People are really nice.”

Gray’s Area Grill owner David Gray agreed that the people are great.

Mother and daughter, Tara and Caitlin McDonald, of Cranford, came to the market to get fresh produce and check out the food trucks. Tara said she is appreciative that it’s “something good close by.”

Christina Serrano of Carteret was there with her vegan food truck, Juice For Us, which has been in business for seven years. Serrano shared she had health issues that were resolved after becoming vegan. She started the food truck, feeling that something was missing in the market.

Chris Wagner of Wagner Family Farms now lives in Asbury in Warren County and said he likes being a vendor at Union Farmers’ Market because he and his wife grew up in Union. He’s been an organic farmer since 2021. “That’s my niche,” he said.

Gloria Surles of Union came to Wagner Family Farms’ vending spot to get green tomatoes. “I’m making fried green tomatoes,” she said.
For more information on Union Farmers’ Market, visit www.uniontwpfarmersmarket.com/.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta