By MADDY VITALE
Plump, ripe tomatoes, giant carrots, heaping handfuls of romaine lettuce and homemade pies and jams were just some of the delicious foods available Wednesday during the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Farmers & Crafters Market.
The popular market opened June 15 on the Ocean City Tabernacle grounds at Sixth Street and Asbury Avenue. It is held each Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Sept. 14.
Lee Quinn, of Ocean City, never misses the weekly summer market. She chatted with Michael Mattera, owner of Nummy Town Farm & Nursery based in Middle Township, while holding two very large tomatoes.
“I was just getting ready to buy these,” Quinn said, while holding the hefty Jersey fresh finds. “You can’t buy anything like this in the grocery store and it’s important to support small businesses and local farms.”
Like Quinn, other savvy shoppers took to the market to replace the often-pricier vegetables and fruits available at the grocery store.
Every year, Patricia Faller, of Lancaster, Pa., spends a few days in Ocean City with her friend, Ann Kramer, who has a second home in the resort.
“It’s fantastic,” Faller said, as she purchased a bunch of radishes from Doris Monteleone, of Monteleone Farms in East Vineland. “It’s just wonderful to come down and have fresh produce every time.”
While fresh fruits and veggies were high priorities of many shoppers, others delighted in the sweet deals that came in the way of cakes, homemade pies and jams.
Sue Totino, owner of S&S Kitchens based in Millville, said business was good and that the shoppers filled the market when it opened last Wednesday and again this Wednesday.
“I’ve been doing this market for years and it is always good,” she said.
Shoppers Jon and Julie Zummo, of Pittsburgh, Pa., were down for their weeklong family vacation in Ocean City with their son, Tommy, 17, daughter, Josie, 20, and her boyfriend, Jack Troy.
The Zummos were drawn to S&S Kitchens, where they talked to Totino about the large selection of jams and, better yet, the homemade pies.
“My favorite is black raspberry,” Jon noted. “Where we grew up, we used to pick black raspberries. They were so sweet.”
There were also specialty cakes for restricted diets, including gluten free.
But food wasn’t on everyone’s minds at the market.
There was plenty to peruse at vendor tables that featured household items, clothes and jewelry among other items.
Emilie Kurek, of Hopwood, Pa., smiled as her daughters, Corinne, 8, and 6-year-old Willow, drew on shirts at Shelley Henshaw’s table featuring merchandise from her shop in Voorhees called Chalk Me Up Clothes.
The kids giggled as they drew on the clothing with special chalk that could be erased.
“We stay for a week every year. We went out for a bike ride and decided to check out the market,” Emilie Kurek said. “This is our first time at the market, and so far, the kids love it.”