To say that Martie Mollenhauer is passionate about the Uptown Pitman Farm Market is an understatement. The retired educator admits that she is not the type of person to sit on the sidelines, so when Martie started buying her produce at the Market last year, it was inevitable that she would get involved.
“Last year, I knew there was a Farm Market beginning in Pitman and in my heart, I just knew it was the kind of thing that would expand the Community Spirit in Pitman.” Martie remembered. “For awhile, I went on Saturdays and bought my produce. Then I thought – it was a quiet market – why not add my art cards and prints to the vendor mix and see if more life could come to the market. Then we added a jewelry vendor, a food caterer and some live music!”
At that point, Martie also created postcard flyers and had some signs made – gradually creeping her way into the ‘mix’ of those who believed the market could work. ”It was slow, but we were building up a steady group of supporters.” she added. ”I just grew into being a part of the Market.”
This year, Martie convened the Farm market committee in January. They began to plan, scheduled the Grand Opening and started searching for the farmers and produce vendors as well as food vendors that would build the foundation and support the market’s growth.
First of all, it is our location. We are situated in Sunset Auditorium - a large pavilion that is outdoors but undercover! We will always be there rain or shine! Several of the assets of the site lend themselves to market success. There is ample parking – several small lots and plenty of street parking.
Next is the stage – and with the help of Wendy Betz, one of the committee members and also a musician, we have been able to book musical events every week – June 2 through October 27.
The vision for the Market, which is sponsored by the Greater Pitman Chamber of Commerce, is to attract people to Pitman and support our local businesses and restaurants.
What’s new to the Market this year?
We are welcoming Christina Pirello, PBS chef and cookbook author, to the Market for demonstrations/talks during the Grand Opening.
We have two strong farmers and produce vendors, a full schedule of entertainment on our stage, and special events.
New this year is a major sponsorship from South Jersey Healthcare. Once a month we are planning a Take Back Your Health Day. Our sponsor will always have a space at the market, but on those days, we will have additional experts and specialists for lectures, demonstrations, health screenings and to answer people’s questions.
How is the community involved in running the market?
The Chamber is behind us and there is a lot of energy and excitement being generated for the Market.
There are some local businesses that will be featured at different times and some of last year’s shoppers are volunteering to help – and they are not all Pitman residents!
Officer Christine from the Pitman Police Department will be with us on the Take Back Your Health days. She will have different displays – giving out helmets to kids; talking about DARE and drugs; and whatever else she chooses. We are inviting EMTs to join her as well.
The High School tennis team will be having a cupcake sale most Saturdays in June, and The National Honor Society will be volunteering at the market.
And one of the local 4-H clubs is coming for spinning, weaving and knitting.
Martie adds, “I am excited about it all…and everyday I am open to life’s synchronicities as we move forward on this adventure!”
The Uptown Pitman Farm Market will open June 2nd and run through October 27th. Every Saturday, 8 am to 2 pm, at 200 Laurel Avenue in Pitman. Rain or shine!
Jennifer Malme is a full-time mother, sometime substitute teacher, avid locavore, and enthusiastic supporter of New Jersey wines. Her lifestyle blog, Down-Home South Jersey, explores ways to live simply and eat well in and around Cumberland County. When she is not blogging, she enjoys cooking, touring local wineries, and reading. She has never met a cheese that she doesn’t like, and she especially enjoys finding new, authentic ethnic restaurants in her area. Jennifer lives in Vineland with her husband, teenage son, and very smart Siamese cat.