Farmer’s Markets Reopen- What to Expect When You Go

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The new normal for farmer’s markets: masks will be required and the booth owners will pack goods on your behalf. Photo: Mac Hartshorn

After months of living indoors and waiting on lines for basic supplies I have been waiting impatiently for the return of our favorite source of fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods and flowers- Farmer’s Markets!

Like everything else these days there are changes to the way these outdoor markets are run to keep everyone safe while supporting hardworking local farms who work all year for the produce they sell in Summer and Fall. I spoke with Debbie Mangual Condi who is the Public Events Manager at CDS (Commercial District Services) and manages the Journal Square Green Market as well as the Artist & Maker Market in Journal Square to talk about the markets she is helping to open in Jersey City.

Debbie began her career as a vendor in the local street markets around Jersey City selling her handmade jewelry as well as handpainted leather clothing and luxury purses as Vera Vixeness. Her expertise in the markets make her an invaluable member of the team at CDS that brings street markets in the area to life. In 2015, Mangual-Condi founded the Artist & Maker Market, which is a Jersey City based pop-up event company, expanding from six markets a year with currently over 90 markets a year.  Mangual-Condi is passionate about empowering communities through collaborative strategies and discovering ways to reclaim and value their public spaces.

While non-food markets are still a question for the time being I talked to Debbie about what we can expect as the farmers markets reopen
Debbie, thanks so much for speaking with me! I’m excited to start getting fresh, local produce againWhat kind of restrictions should we expect when going to the market.
Nice talking to you as well Jennifer! We’re excited to be back. There are definitely changes to keep everyone safe. Farmer’s markets in Jersey City (and throughout NJ) have opened up with strict Covid-19 guidelines which include precautions such as vendors stationed 10 feet apart, masks required for both vendors and patrons,  practicing social distance, and an altered market layout which requires a one way traffic flow
Who’s coming back and what are they bringing? Is it just fruit and vegetables?
At the moment at Journal Square we have 2 farmers, a gourmet nut and fruit vendor and a certified farm-plant vendor. Both farmers have the usual home baked goods, fresh fruits and produce, eggs, plants etc. When you order in advance from the farm vendors you will see even more variety including meats, fish, fresh butter and much more.
Do we have to order in advance? If so, how does that happen?
You dont have to order online although shoppers are encouraged to pay online and to arrange for curbside pick-up at the market. To coordinate online purchases for Journal Square, please click here and follow links to individual vendors. In Hoboken here are additional links to those markets http://hobokenfarmersmarket.com/ For downtown Jersey City https://jcdowntown.org/index.php , Hamilton Park http://www.hpnajc.org/Farmers-Market and in JC Heights http://www.riverviewfarmersmarket.org/  

In Summit summitdowntown.org/events/farmers-market/ and Westfield (virtual for pickup only) gwaccnj.com/farmers-market/

Can we choose our own produce?
Observing the new guidelines, farmers must handle the products as the shopper specifies or points to what they want.

If I have bags can I use them?

Reusable bags are fine to use as long as the shopper bags his/her own products

What’s the best and safest way to pay?

Card/ Debit purchases are encouraged since it minimizes contact. Cash is only handled by one staff member. Staff must wash their hands and sanitize after handling any form of payment.

What else do I need to know?

The Journal Square green market is opened every Wednesday & Friday from 2pm until 8pm- however since NJ is at 8pm curfew our new operating hours are from 2pm-7pm

Any word on the future of artist and maker markets yet?

The city, erring on the side of caution, has not moved forward with non-farm food vending. As time goes on we can expect – admittedly optimistic-to see some of these strict guidelines lifted. 
As far as our artisan vendors are concerned, we plan to add more dates later this year or extend the season and times to make sure they have makeup opportunities throughout the year as we understand the market season is an important source of income to many of these vendors.

Thanks so much for all the work you are doing to make this happen and keep us safe!



Hidden Jersey Shore Gem

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One user on Yelp gave this beach 1 Star…

He said: “Five stars, but I am trying to dissuade people from going, because it’s the greatest beach in the world (IMO) and I don’t want word to get out.”

High praise indeed for Island Beach State Park- Please read complete details on what activities are available on each area of this paradise here.

The park is a barrier island that stretches for 10 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, and it’s sectioned off by numbered parking lots. It’s important to arrive early, as the park closes once the parking lots reach their capacity — a measure that guarantees a comfortable environment and has been in effect even before the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Drive past the first 2 parking lots further down the tree-draped, secluded road and you’ll start to see a more natural landscape where, with minimal effort, you can find a patch of beach that feels like it’s been reserved entirely for you.

Island Beach is one of the last few places on the north Atlantic coast with such an undeveloped shoreline.

Pay the $10 per-car fee ($20 for non-NJ-residents on weekends) and you’re free to surf, run your dog, ride bikes, fish, grill, and even ride horses.

What to Expect at the Beach this Weekend

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The governor announced this week that NJ beaches and lakeshores will be open for Memorial Day weekend, and we’re really excited to get our toes in the sand! While taking the family to the beach has always involved more than just grabbing a towel and sunblock, this year’s complications make heading to the beach  a more complex process!

Earlier is best. 

Every town has their own rules with regards to how many people will be allowed on the beach and they will be enforcing those numbers. Traveling in the earlier part of the day will make it more likely to insure a  spot.

Being 6 Feet Apart Still Stands

You will only be allowed within 6 feet of those you are quarantined with.

Extended Family or Gatherings of Friends is Out

Even if you meet friends or relatives at the beach, groups will need to stay 6 feet apart from those they do not shelter with.

That Means Kids, Too

While keeping an eye on kids near the water is standard practice you will now need to monitor your children to prevent sharing of toys and impromptu play with children from outside your family.

Your Beach Bag will Need Adjusting

Packing disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer is a requisite since water for handwashing and cleaning surfaces isn’t available.

And About the Bathroom

Probably the most populated place you will encounter on the beach is the restroom. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be essential here. Also remember to reapply sunblock after using hand santizer.

Masks are still needed

While you may be fine laying under your umbrella or on your blanket, when headed into an area with other people in it- restrooms, snack bars, etc.,  masks are recommended for everyone’s safety.

Boardwalk rides are Closed

If your children will be upset by being unable to ride the swings and the merry go round, you might want to choose a beach where these are not present. These will be closed for the near future.

Pack Food or Be Ready to Take it To Go

Restaurants will likely require credit cards and food will be to-go only.

Don’t Feel Well?

After all of this stay-at home we are all ready for some time in the sun, however, if you or a family member is under the weather, be safe and save the trip for another day!