On any given Saturday, the Easton Farmers’ Market is a hub of local vendors and farmers, and, of course, Eastonians looking for something local and fresh. With the demand of buying organic at the top of everyone’s grocery list these days, the market provides us with peace of mind.
Beginning approximately twenty years ago with a small group of local farmers selling produce out of the backs of pick-up trucks on Dover Road, the market now on Harrison Street has more than thirty vendors. It starts in April and runs through most of the holiday season, ending on December 17th this year. Each season brings with it new produce as well as new vendors, and—particularly with the holidays just around the corner—local crafters offering handcrafted holiday trinkets.
Carolyn Jaffe, in charge of the Farmers’ Market for the past twelve years, explained that with each changing season, “customers are getting the produce of that particular season; produce from the Shore, not something imported from California. Eastonians can buy Shore-grown tomatoes during the Shore’s tomato season, and with that they are provided with more of an education of the produce.” Eastonians buying produce from the market are able to get the information they need straight from the source instead of guessing where the produce is coming from, and guessing what chemicals have been used for fertilization.
Beyond providing fresh produce, the Farmer’s Market has a richness of characters and stories to offer. I had my own lost-and-found story at the Market in September. My family—along with my parents and my grandmother—were partaking in the baked goods that the Market offers one Saturday morning. After spending the day shopping and showing my family the sights of the Shore, my mom noticed the engagement ring of her wedding set was missing.
We immediately started to retrace our steps. We searched to no avail, and then decided to try the first place we had visited that day—the Farmers’ Market. By 5 PM, all of the vendors and shoppers were gone. After a long day, my mom was ready to give up and break the news to my dad that they would be driving back to Hermitage, Pennsylvania, without the ring.
On a whim I decided to check in at the Market House, just in case. When I walked in and explained why I was there, the ladies behind the counter looked surprised, and told me to talk to Carolyn Jaffe; she had found a ring that day in the market. My jaw dropped, tears welled up, and I was just short of jumping up and down. When they told me we could find Carolyn at the Avalon, I grabbed my mom’s arm and we immediately drove to the theater. We found Carolyn preparing for a show. She had the ring! For a moment, I thought my mother would hug this stranger-turned-savior, but she refrained and thanked her. Both my mom and I decided that even in a busy place like a market, there are still honest people.
Ms. Jaffe agrees it’s more than just the produce that keeps everyone coming back week after week; it’s the earnestness of the farmers selling the produce, the vendors selling the homemade products, and the artists displaying their work. It comes down to the local atmosphere, the personal touch the market provides its customers, not the one-size-fits-all approach of the grocery store chains.