The health and welfare of a community is dependent upon keeping the concept of “buy local” alive and flourishing. We have witnessed over the last 30-40 years a more robust development throughout Chester County and sadly many local farms have been replaced with business parks and housing developments. However, the ideal of buying your produce locally has survived the times. You can find some wonderful local farmer markets scattered throughout the county.
One such market, the New Garden Growers Market, located in charming southern Chester County is a great example of promoting the “Buy Local” concept to help local farmers, small businesses and artisans.
The outdoors market is located at 8943 Newport Gap Pike (Rt. 41), Avondale, PA, which is the location of the New Garden Township’s Maintenance Center and next door to the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department. The market is open every Saturday’s from 9 am to 1 pm from the first weekend in May to November 17th, the last Saturday before Thanksgiving Day. Tents are setup in front of the New Garden Township’s maintenance building and parking is available on both sides of the market. Space may be limited but somehow, they find a way to pack in the vendors.
New Garden Growers Market is more than just farmers selling produces along a roadside — it’s an experience. Each Saturday, during the season, you will find between 20 to 25 local growers, producers, bakers, artisans and more, offering a wide variety of products like prepared meals, wide-array of fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and dairy, eggs, cheese, honey, mushrooms, jams and jellies, breads and baked goods, plants, cut flowers, herbs, and soaps. There are also local people with stories to tell; so, you never know what you could learn by striking up a great conversation. There are approximately 16 full-time and 18 part-time vendors associated with this market. So, you will always find variety each Saturday.
Because the New Garden Growers Market is an outdoor market, sometimes the weather can have a big impact on sales. May is usually a slow month for the market, most farmers are still waiting for produce to come in; however, as the weather improves so does the crowds. June and July tends to be the best months. We recommend visiting early in the morning to get the best selections of products. The summer months have the most variety of products and people enjoy the warmer weather and the sunny outdoors. Starting the first weekend of September, as the kids return to school, the market tends to slow down and continues through November.
The New Garden Growers Market was established in 2005 and managed by Carin Bonifacino. However, at the end of the 2016 season, Ms. Bonifacino handed over the reins to current co-managers Becca Logan and Heather Sachs.
Becca stated, “Fresh produce has always been a big part of my life.” It seems, farming is in her blood, on her father’s side of the family. She learned the advantages of growing food that, “had literally traveled less than 50 feet from vine to table.” The market helps maintain a community tie between the residents and the local farmers by providing outlets for ‘local’ products.
In 2010 I moved to NYC for work and struggled with the lack of quality produce until I found the Union Square and Grand Army Greenmarkets which is where I started doing all of my shopping. That’s when I first realized that not everyone has access to garden space and really saw the value of farmers markets. They are so much more than just food – they have the power to be community hubs connecting people to their local food sheds and to each other. We all have to eat! I became so passionate about the local food movement that I actually quit my job to do a year-long internship at a farm here in Chester County. I knew I didn’t want to farm full time, so I went into teaching with the idea that I’d have summers off to still work with local food sheds in some capacity, though I didn’t know exactly what that would look like. – Becca Logan
Visiting local farmers markets is an exciting way to explore our rich agricultural heritage here in Chester County. It’s a perfect one-stop-shop to pick up local produce, meats, fresh-cut flowers, honey and even soaps.
Click HERE to visit the New Garden Growers Market’ website were you will find a complete list of all the vendors, sponsors, and more. But more important, come out and visit the market this Saturday.