In the early 1900s a group of farmers came by horse and carriage to Trenton to sell their produce along the Delaware River. In 1939, when the City of Trenton gave notice that Route 29 would be built, the participating farmers formed the Trenton Market Growers Cooperative Association and property was purchased on Spruce Street in Lawrence.
The original two market buildings were moved and the Trenton Farmers Market opened in 1948 on Spruce Street. More than 100 farms filled what had become three buildings with fresh truck loads of corn, tomatoes, melons, and whatever was in season along with one building devoted to livestock and poultry. After one building burned down, the two remaining buildings were reconfigured, creating the cross-shape that stands today. Over the years farm stalls were replaced with bakers, butchers, and cheesemongers. Kitchens were built, heat was added, garage doors and the iconic roof signs denoting, “FARMERS MARKET” were updated, but the integrity of the original farms remained. Additions to the market over time included jewelry, apparel, and flea market finds, which makes for a fun shopping experience.
Pulaski Meats is well known for its Polish meats, cold cuts, and delicacies including pierogi, golabki (stuffed cabbage), and chrusciki (fried pastry topped with powdered sugar); Pie’d Piper offers freshly baked pies, cakes, and cookies, along with a wide assortment of pierogi (look for pork roll pierogi), salads and heat-and-eat favorites including Mama’s Meatballs. Eateries include two vegan cafes: Lady & the Shallot and Savory Leaf Cafe; Hambone Opera BBQ; King’s Food (Amish roasted, rotisserie and fried chicken and meats); King’s Grille, offering sandwiches on freshly baked Amish breads. Cartlidge’s Quality Meats, an Amish butcher greets shoppers as they enter through the Spruce Street entrance Find fresh fish at the Crab Shack, located in an adjoining building as well as Win, Place & Smoke for lottery tickets and smokeless tobacco. Opening soon is Terra Momo Bread Co. known in the Princeton area for their French pastries and breads, and Tea-For-All, tea shop and cafe.
New Jersey’s rich agricultural history is proudly highlighted with the six farmer-owners ranging as far south as Hammonton and as far north as Princeton. Look for Cedarville Farms (two locations within the Market), Corner-Copia Farms, Cranberry Hall Farm, Pineland Farms, Russo’s Fruit & Vegetable Farm, and Terhune Orchards.
The market came under new management this past January after the retirement of the long time co-managers, Marcia and Jack Ball. Chris Cirkus, who also manages the West Windsor Community Farmers Market, has been busy reinvigorating this oldest continuously running year-round market. Cirkus says, “The Trenton Farmers Market is a gift to this area, so worthy of preserving and revitalizing; I’m loving getting to know all of the farmers, vendors, merchants, and especially the shoppers to hear stories of the market’s vibrant history!”
The name Trenton Farmers Market proudly remains even though the market is actually in Lawrence Township. Visit the Trenton Farmers Market on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Market will be open on July 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.