Farmers’ markets abound in the Garden State, and lucky for us here at Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty we have our own resident expert in the field, Sales Associate Kim Rizk: “I am so excited about the surge of interest in shopping locally at farmers’ markets. It’s just great to see so many people interested in taking real quality time from their busy days to shop for good, fresh real food. Naturally, there is no better place to find fresh, whole nutritious food than straight from the farmers who are harvesting. Farmers’ markets represent a unique opportunity for fresh food shoppers/enthusiasts as they bring together an eclectic collection of local farms and food artisans from which to choose. When it comes to fresh food, I think that local is more important than the organic buzz word.” Stay “In The Know” with our A-LIST Q&A with Kim below:

Q: What are some of your favorite farmers’ markets in the area?

A: We are so lucky to live in the Garden State, specifically central New Jersey as our growing season is pretty long and we are surrounded by farmland and working farms. It was amazing to me discovering just how rich our resources are during the journey of compiling The Farm Markets of Central New Jersey Book. Within the eight counties covered, there are hundreds of farms and farmers’ markets growing and producing all source of tasty agricultural delights as well as a nice collection of CSA’s (community supported agricultural programs) to choose from.  It’s so important that we support the agriculture in our great state and farmers’ markets offer a unique opportunity for us to do so on a weekly if not daily basis.  I find that each and every farmers’ market has its’ own “personality” if you will and all are fun to discover. Here are a few of my personal favorites (with the understanding that I am biased based upon location (proximity to my home) of course!

The Princeton Farmers’ Market: Thursdays, Hinds Plaza, 1-4 pm. Located right in the heart of downtown if front of the public library this market is a wonderful mid-week community event that offers live music and loads of seating. Great for the lunch time crowd.

The West Windsor Farmers’ MarketSaturday, 9am-1pm. Located in the Princeton Junction train station lot (NY arriving side just off Alexander road). This market is a fun Saturday morning destination spot for friends and family. It is one our area’s longest running farmers’ markets – now in its’ 11th season – last year voted New Jersey’s favorite farmers’ market by the American Farmland Trust organization

The Trenton Farmers’ Market: Wednesday – Saturday, 1-6pm. Sundays, 10-4pm. Located just on the border of Lawrenceville and Trenton (960 Spruce Street). This market is one of our area’s best kept secrets. It’s my daily go-to spot for the freshest and best of what’s in season in our state year round. It’s a covered market that’s been functioning for the better 25 years and it’s bare bones – no music, no hype…it’s just about the produce. And, Halo Farms Market is right next door – load up on summer ice cream for the freezer.

The Stockton Indoor Market: Friday, 3-7pm. Saturday, 9-4pm. Sunday, 10-4pm. This is a relative newcomer to the area farmers’ market scene. It’s unique in its’ indoor setting and offers a generous choice for prepared foods alongside fresh produce ingredients.

The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Dvoor Farm: Sunday, 9-1pm. This is a really nice outdoor seasonal Sunday market with storytelling and music.  Great food, produce, and plants. It is located at 111 Mine Street just off the Flemington Circle on Route 12.

Q: Do you head to the market with a recipe or meal plan in hand or do you wing it based on what you find?

A: Truth be told, I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to shopping farmers’ markets. Often times I have a favorite recipe or two in mind when I head out but I tend to be spontaneous and go for whatever is looking freshest and best that day. I’m not shy about speaking to the farmers about their favorite ways to cook their produce. It’s always fun and inspiring to hear what others are doing in their kitchens and they usually like to share ideas. I always return home with more fresh food than my family can eat but I enjoy spending my free time in the kitchen preparing simple fresh meals then set about preserving a bit of the taste of each season either in my freezer or by creating simple fresh jams, sauces or pickles.

Q: What are some of the simplest summer vegetables to buy and prepare? 

Fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes & green beans are a few of my absolute favorite summer New Jersey crops because they are so versatile and simple to prepare. All three are great fresh, frozen, sauced or pickled. I also adore beets (in a rainbow of colors) and sweet potatoes.

Best of all? Kim has shared a “farm market favorite” recipe from her HayDay Country Market Cookbook:

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad (serves 8-10)

5 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 10 large ears)

1/4 cup safflower or canola oil

3 tbs raspberry vinegar

juice of 1 lime

course (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

10 scallions, white and light green parts chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Bring salted water to boil in a vegetable steamer. Put the corn kernels in the steamer basket, cover, and steam until just crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, vinegar, and lime juice together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Combine the corn, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Toss with dressing, and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Bon appetit!